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Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Niagara County Legislature Chairman Bill Ross talks this afternoon at a ceremony in which over 180 Civil War letters were gifted to the County Historian's Office. (PHOTOS BY CRAIG BACON / CONTRIBUTOR)

By +Scott Leffler

Some of the more than 180 items donated to the county were on display in 
the Niagara County Courthouse rotunda this afternoon.
Over 180 letters, a diary and other items from the Civil War were gifted to Niagara County today by the great-grandson of their original owner, Union Pvt. Simon B. Cummins.

Cummins' great-grandson Melvin Jones was on hand this afternoon to make the donation in the rotunda of the Niagara County Courthouse. Niagara County Clerk Wayne F. Jagow gleefully accepted the donation on behalf of the Niagara County Historian's Office.

"This is a treasure for us in Niagara County," said Jagow. "These letter document intangible yet very, very important moments in our history."

"We are honored that you have entrusted us with these priceless documents," Jagow added.

It was 1864 in the Niagara County Courthouse.
Jones was just as happy to be able to make the donation, which also included a list of absentees from Cummins’s unit, the 151st New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, which was raised through recruiting in Niagara County; a letter from Cummins’s cousin describing his participation in the Battle of Gettysburg; Cummins’s first-hand accounts of the battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania; and Grand Army of the Republic memorabilia.

"We are delighted to find a home for them in the very place his regiment was formed," he said.

The collection will be made available to the public for research, according to Jagow's office.

+Craig Bacon contributed to this report. 

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