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Civil War cannons

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Vivian Moon View Drop Down
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    Posted: Nov 11 2015 at 5:33pm

Posted: 3:14 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015

Civil War cannons ready to stand guard again

By Rick McCrabb

Staff Writer

BUTLER COUNTY 

The more than 400 veterans from the Civil War to World War I buried at Woodside Cemetery and the Soldiers & Sailors Monument Memorial will be protected for at least 200 more years.

Back in the late 1800s, Paul S. Sorg, a Middletown industrialist, wanted three Civil War era cannons to be placed at the tips of the triangular memorial to stand guard. The 10,000-pound cannons were supported by concrete bases, but recently the supports started to “deteriorate dramatically,” said Fred Wehr, manager of Woodside Cemetery and Arboretum. He contacted the Butler County Commission to see if it could fund the purchase of 12,000-pound polished granite supports for the cannons.

Maintaining the veterans memorials throughout the county are the responsibility of the commissioners, said Butler County Commissioner Cindy Carpenter. The commission approved spending more than $46,000 to build the three supports, and the money came from the general fund, Carpenter said. As part of the Veterans Day ceremony Wednesday morning at Woodside, the cannons were re-dedicated, 113 years after they were dedicated.

Wehr said he was concerned that if the supports weren’t replaced, there was a possibility the cannons might sink in the ground because of the condition of the concrete. He said when the cannons were removed, some of the supports just crumbled.

In 1895, Sorg challenged the community to raise the funds and local farmers were asked to haul their finest boulders to the site on wagons. Sorg promised that if the citizens would do their part, he would donate a bronze figure to adorn the top of the 100-foot monument. The Soldiers & Sailors Memorial was commissioned by the noted architect, Frank Mills Andrews and completed in 1902 with the addition of a bronze statue that was donated by Sorg.

The monument cost $7,358, and the bronze statue cost $3,000. Sorg died before the monument was dedicated.

When Wednesday’s ceremony was over, Wehr sat on one of the metal folding chairs and was asked what goes through his mind when he looks at the cannons.

“It gives me goosebumps that we have been able to improve the look and keep them maintained for 200 years in the future,” he said. “It’s imperative that we maintain what we have for the future. We are preserving memories here.”

Carpenter said the three Civil War cannons are unique to the region, and serve as reminders of the sacrifices made by the soldiers.

“We’re happy to be part of the project,” she said. “We try to recognize the veterans. Butler County has an incredible war history.”

And what does Sorg think of the cannons?

“He has to be proud of this one piece of his legacy,” she said.

Wehr added: “He’s up there doing handstands that we are maintaining his section to remember all these people who went before us that preserve our freedoms.”

 

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Vivian Moon View Drop Down
MUSA Council
MUSA Council


Joined: May 16 2008
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 11 2015 at 5:41pm

Congressman Paul J. Sorg’s speech
at Woodside Cemetery on Decoration Day, 1897

“To my mind this occasion brings into harmony a cluster of happy proprieties. Decoration day, that sacred season when a nation’s heart wells up with gratitude and sorrow, is always a beautiful function, but this year with us I think it marks an occasion of more than usual significance. It doubly attests the reverence we have for our honored dead.

When I learned, while in Washington, that the government would have some cannon to distribute, I was determined that our boys last resting place should be marked by the prettiest to be had, and I take some pride in saying that Middletown’s quote was the first supplied after the passage of the act making the cannon available.  I now have the pleasure of presenting them to the  G.A. R. posts of the city.

They no longer raise their horrid voices for union and freedom! No longer do they wear the black scowl of rage! No longer do their grimy faces thrill the soldier with assurances of victory! But they are as welcome as in the days of their usefulness.


The placing of these cannon, while intended to perpetuate the glories of our soldiers, will also stand as monuments to the gratitude and reverence of this generation. The bravery of our boys has been inscrolled on the tablet of history by their life’s blood, and while we may commemorate on each Decoration Day their unselfish devotion to flag and country, neither this nor monuments are necessary to impress upon the coming generations the debt owed to the brave boys of ‘81 and ‘85.

On the part of the government I place these cannon in your charge. Let not your thoughts run to the widows and orphans they have made. Do not think of the lover’s hearts they have torn and tried. Do not think of the mothers they have robbed or the wife whose prayer that the father of her children be returned was not answered. Think of them as the cause of the glorious union and freedom we now enjoy.

Two years ago I suggested on Decoration Day, the propriety of having erected on this lot a monument in memory of the soldiers of Lemon Township. I stated my belief at the time that the school children by meager individual contributions would raise a nice proportion of the total cost. I am told today that the little ones, God bless them, have now a fund in hand for this purpose amounting to over $200. Don’t the “old children,” if you will allow the term, feel a little peculiar by reason of the way the little ones have surpassed them in this patriotic movement? I think now that it should be the part of every citizen of Middletown to aid in the erection of this monument. With our population of 12,000, a per capita contribution of twenty five cents would give a fund ample to build the shaft proper. In the Confederate cemetery at Richmond stands a monument built of the boulders taken from the surrounding county. To my mind the course with us should be the erection of one like this constructed from the boulder of Lemon Township. I am quite assured in my mind that the farmers, always loyal in such a movement, will haul us the greater part of them without cost.

Now, in conclusion, I want to supplement my suggestion of a monument by a proposition. If you will build the stone part, I will buy for you a handsome bronze figure to put on it. “  


June 1, 1897  Middletown Signal , Middletown, Ohio

 

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Vivian Moon View Drop Down
MUSA Council
MUSA Council


Joined: May 16 2008
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 11 2015 at 6:04pm
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da120757 View Drop Down
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Joined: May 16 2009
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote da120757 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 11 2015 at 6:29pm
Very nice articles on the cannons.  They looked great today with the flags all around them.
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VietVet View Drop Down
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Joined: May 15 2008
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 11 2015 at 6:39pm
Occasionally, some things are done for the right reasons in today's society.......even in Middletown.
I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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Vivian Moon View Drop Down
MUSA Council
MUSA Council


Joined: May 16 2008
Location: Middletown, Ohi
Status: Offline
Points: 4187
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 11 2015 at 7:44pm

Congressman Paul J. Sorg’s speech
at Woodside Cemetery on Decoration Day, 1897

 “To my mind this occasion brings into harmony a cluster of happy proprieties. Decoration day, that sacred season when a nation’s heart wells up with gratitude and sorrow, is always a beautiful function, but this year with us I think it marks an occasion of more than usual significance. It doubly attests the reverence we have for our honored dead.

When I learned, while in Washington, that the government would have some cannon to distribute, I was determined that our boys last resting place should be marked by the prettiest to be had, and I take some pride in saying that Middletown’s quote was the first supplied after the passage of the act making the cannon available.  I now have the pleasure of presenting them to the  G.A. R. posts of the city.

They no longer raise their horrid voices for union and freedom! No longer do they wear the black scowl of rage! No longer do their grimy faces thrill the soldier with assurances of victory! But they are as welcome as in the days of their usefulness.


The placing of these cannon, while intended to perpetuate the glories of our soldiers, will also stand as monuments to the gratitude and reverence of this generation. The bravery of our boys has been inscrolled on the tablet of history by their life’s blood, and while we may commemorate on each Decoration Day their unselfish devotion to flag and country, neither this nor monuments are necessary to impress upon the coming generations the debt owed to the brave boys of ‘81 and ‘85.

 On the part of the government I place these cannon in your charge. Let not your thoughts run to the widows and orphans they have made. Do not think of the lover’s hearts they have torn and tried. Do not think of the mothers they have robbed or the wife whose prayer that the father of her children be returned was not answered. Think of them as the cause of the glorious union and freedom we now enjoy.

Two years ago I suggested on Decoration Day, the propriety of having erected on this lot a monument in memory of the soldiers of Lemon Township. I stated my belief at the time that the school children by meager individual contributions would raise a nice proportion of the total cost. I am told today that the little ones, God bless them, have now a fund in hand for this purpose amounting to over $200. Don’t the “old children,” if you will allow the term, feel a little peculiar by reason of the way the little ones have surpassed them in this patriotic movement? I think now that it should be the part of every citizen of Middletown to aid in the erection of this monument. With our population of 12,000, a per capita contribution of twenty five cents would give a fund ample to build the shaft proper. In the Confederate cemetery at Richmond stands a monument built of the boulders taken from the surrounding county. To my mind the course with us should be the erection of one like this constructed from the boulder of Lemon Township. I am quite assured in my mind that the farmers, always loyal in such a movement, will haul us the greater part of them without cost.

 Now, in conclusion, I want to supplement my suggestion of a monument by a proposition. If you will build the stone part, I will buy for you a handsome bronze figure to put on it. “  

Source:  June 1, 1897  Middletown Signal , Middletown, Ohio

 

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