Civil War docs found in Treasurer's office among unclaimed items to be saved

By Stewart Moore - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The deadline to claim safety deposit boxes from the state treasurer's office is quickly approaching. On December 1, the jewels and family heirlooms inside will go on the auction block. However, some documents dating back to the end of the Civil War will stay put.

The discharge papers for Captain Ira W. Cory were found deep inside the treasurer's vault. "Instead of shredding something like that or keeping it locked away," said Deputy Treasurer Scott Malyerk. "We are trying to find the heirs to that safety deposit box."

Captain Cory has been credited as a hero in the battle of Gettysburg. Fighting for the Union Army, Cory's obituary was featured in the New York Times.

A century later, his grandson was living in South Carolina. He placed his documents in a safe deposit box, and died without anyone in the family claiming the things.

"I still have my great-grandfather's wallet," said Treasurer Converse Chellis. "Alba Bean Chellis. Kind of falls apart, but I have it. I have a gold watch that my grandfather had that has his name engraved in it. These and things I know I cherish, we'd love for them to get back this."

For years, Cory's documents have been locked away in the vault, including the long list of battles he fought in, old payroll statements and a letter of appreciation for his service. "They've been folded up in an envelope has looked through them," said Malyerk. "When we were going through the safe deposit boxes getting ready for the auctions when we found this. We thought we've got something here."

We don't have a lot of information on the Cory family, but at one point in time a great-grandson named Robert James Cory lived in Lexington. You can help us find the Cory family by having them contact WIS or the state treasurer's office, and be sure to check out their website to see if you have family heirlooms that could be auctioned off before you claim them.

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