Moses Brodus and the Mystery Medal

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I will confess that the medal Moses is wearing was only a mystery for a couple of minutes. I suspected what it was based on the age of Moses and the age of the engraving.....but I want to keep a little suspense for the rest of you! Inside a "souvenir" booklet commemorating the opening of the new temple downtown in 1897, was a final page honoring the service of Moses Brodus. The text explains that he was the church's sexton for 13 years and was resigning in "honor" to be replaced by  Joseph N. Hand. This date corresponds to the date of the congregation's move to the new building.

After reading this note in the back honoring a faithful servant, I couldn't help thinking "I don't blame him"! The difference in size between the two buildings was massive, and quite a responsibility. Since this souvenir booklet only included engravings of the prominent members of the congregation, such as the minister, elders, deacons, etc., it was a lovely addition to place Moses on the final page of the booklet. He must have been well respected and loved to have received such an honor. Which brings me to his image.

On his lapel, Moses appears to be wearing a medal, along with a long ribbon of some sort. The details are not sufficient to identify the long ribbon, but the medal has distinguishing marks that reminded me of others I had seen. The eagle and upside down star separated by a short ribbon was very familiar even though I couldn't quite place it in my memory banks. Based on the age of the photo, I knew that Moses was too early to have been in any world wars. Was it military at all? If so, which war was it commemorating? As soon as I found a match, my suspicions were confirmed.

Moses was proudly wearing a medal signifying his membership in the Grand Army of the Republic. I suspected this because I had done some research on this organization previously. My great great grandfather, Madison Daniels, had fought for Ohio and the Union during the Civil War and was very active in the Grand Army of the Republic. We have notations about this in our family collection as well as photographs of a parade in which the elderly gentlemen participating are all wearing the same kind of medal. As you can see from an actual photo of this type of medal, it looks to be a match for the one Moses is wearing. Which leads us to the conclusion that Moses must have been one of the few "colored troops" that fought for the Union during the Civil War. I would love to conduct more research to confirm this assumption and tell more of his story....but for now, we join in the honoring of Moses Brodus in his capacity as a faithful servant, both to his church and to his country!