Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Pittsfield Civil War Monument Dedication Date Resolved

Thanks to Jeff Sigsworth, I now have a confirmed date for the dedication of Pittsfield's Civil War Monument (shown above).

You might remember that back here, I told how I was having trouble finding any mention of the dedication of the monument in a newspaper. The Lorain County Historical Society's online history of the monument says it was erected on August 13, 1894, but I was unable to find any article connected with that date in the available newspapers.

I feel it's important to get these historical dates right and on record – before it's too late.

Fortunately, Jeff left a comment on my original Palm Sunday Tornado 50th Anniversary post saying that he had seen an article that had the date as August 12, 1896.

As it turns out, that date was correct (well, maybe one day off). The Lorain County Reporter of August 8, 1896 included the following information in the paper's section on Pittsfield:

"The Lorain county soldiers' and sailors' reunion will take place at Pittsfield, Thursday, Aug. 13th, and from present indications will be one of the best occasions ever held at this place. The citizens of Pittsfield extend a hearty and cordial invitation to all to come by on that day and help us dedicate our monument and enjoy the occasion with us. Following is the program: Business meeting and election of officers; address of welcome; response; dinner; dedication of monument at 1 p. m. by G. A. R.; oration, Col. Winship, of Cleveland; short address by comrades. Plenty of music all day."

From the Lorain County Reporter of August 8, 1896
Apparently, the dedication ceremony had a top-notch speaker in Col. Winship, who had fought during the first battle of Bull Run as a member of Company A, Fifth Maine Infantry. After the war, he maintained a large general law office in Cleveland.

History of the Republican Party in Ohio Vol. II (1898) includes an extensive biography of him. In the book he is described as "a natural-born orator and versatile speaker." The book also notes, "Colonel Winship never fails to inspire enthusiasm in his audience; he is a fluent and eloquent speaker, and by his logic, wit, sarcasm and pathos, all reinforced by a well disciplined and cultivated mind, stored with wide and varied knowledge, he carries conviction to his bearers and maintains a position in the front rank of political orators."

Special thanks to Jeff Sigsworth for his help with the date of the dedication.

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