West Virginia State Archives works to reunite lost Civil War Medals

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – More than 150 years after the Civil War, its story continues to evolve in the Mountain State. 

In 1866, the West Virginia Legislature passed a resolution authorizing the distribution of medals for officers and soldiers who fought in the civil war. 

Now, the state is still working to reunite those medals with the families of those who fought. 

Randy Marcum is a historian at the state archives located on the grounds of the State Capitol. He is in charge of the medals and has been actively looking to reunite them with the families of those who served for the last 10 years. 

Currently, there are more than 3,000 medals still unclaimed. While social media and technology have definitely helped in reuniting some medals, Marcum told WOWK 13 News that many of the medals will not find their way home. According to Marcum, about 4 or 5 medals are claimed a month.

For Markum, a veteran himself, the job has a special meaning. 

“It is a chance to just say thank you to those that have served, it is really special.” 

He added, “It is truly an honor.”

People who believe they have ancestors who served in West Virginia can search the list of names of medal recipients on the website for the state’s archives and apply to prove that they are related.

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