SUVNH - W.W. Brown Camp # 1
The following is a history of the formation of Camp No.1 as ascertained from articles that were published in the Sons of Veterans Advocate between 1914 and 1916.
In the early 1880's there were two different factions trying to start Sons of Veterans orders. One was the "Earp faction" headquartered in Philadelphia and the other was the "Pittsburgh faction" headquartered in Pittsburgh. The latter became the Sons of Veterans, U.S.A., which in 1925 became the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. Major A.P. Davis of Pittsburgh, PA organized the "Pittsburgh faction".
Frank H. Challis noticed an article about the Sons of Veterans in the Boston Journal. The camp in the article was in Lynn, MA. Mr. Edwin Earp was contacted and Mr. Challis received a reply relating to the order and a copy of the rules and regulations. Brother Challis' father, Major Timothy Challis, received a commission through Major A.P. Davis of Pittsburgh as a brevet Major General in the order of the Sons of Veterans, U.S.A. Because of this Camp No.1 was formed of that order rather than the "Earp faction".
Brother Challis was in a hurry to organize a camp in Manchester and wanted the honor of being No.1 in New Hampshire. A list of Brothers was secured and on the 23rd of September 1882 W.W. Brown Camp No.1 came into being. The members were mustered in the Louis Bell Post No.3, G.A.R. hall that was located in the Towle Block on Elm Street.
The name W.W. Brown was selected in honor of the 7th NH Regiments Surgeon, whose three sons were also in the 7th NH Regiment. He was also the first Surgeon of Post No.3. At one time the Camp had portraits of all four, but the whereabouts of these portraits is now unknown.
General Isaac S. Bangs of Waterville, ME was the provisional commander of the First Grand Division, which comprised the New England states. He was also charged with organizing the Sons of Veterans, U.S.A. in New England. This meant starting from the ground up as W.W. Brown was the only camp in New England of the "Pittsburgh faction" in existence at the time. The "Earp faction" had become established in MA and was trying to gain a foothold in the other New England states, which lead to a rivalry between the two factions that was not always brotherly or fraternal.
The oldest Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War camp in continuous existence in New Enland is W.W. Brown Camp No.1.
Brother Frank Challis was the Past Camp Commander, Past Division Commander and the Past Grand Division Commander. He was also editor of the Sons of Veterans' Advocate where the information for this article was obtained. A G.A.R. member said of Brother Challis that he was "the son of a veteran and the father of the Sons of Veterans in New Hampshire".