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Newspaper articles from the Warren Evening Mirror provide an interesting look into the making of the monument.
January 27, 1908 - the Monday edition, page one, column four:
The commissioners of Warren County have decided to erect a fitting monument or shaft to the memory of the soldiers and sailors of the civil war who served from this county. This evening Commissioners Frank Hagberg, F. M. Downing and W. H. Houghtling and a committee from Eben N. Ford Post, G.A.R., who are D. I. Ball, Esq., and T. O. Slater, will leave for the Gettysburg battlefield, where they will go over the ground and inspect the great variety of monuments that have been erected in memory of the valiant men who died in that great struggle. Ideas will thus be gained as to a suitable memorial for the Warren County heroes.
The Commissioners have put off making a decision regarding a monument, but there has been a very pressing demand made upon them. Grand juries have repeatedly recommended the creation of one and action has been urged by the G. A. R. veterans from all parts of the county. The Commissioners have come [sic] to the conclusion that the sentiment in Warren County, notwithstanding some opposition, favors a monument, and consequently they will appropriate a sum, probably not exceeding $10,000, for a monument.
Where it will be located is still a question and that will be decided later. Some want it placed in the central part, others in the Court House yard and still other [sic], want it located along the river front.
April 1, 1908 - the Wednesday edition, page one, column two:
The much discussed monument in memory of the soldiers of Warren County is now a reality. A contract was entered into Tuesday by the County Commissioners with Samuel S. McDonnell, representing McDonnell & Sons, whose works are at Barre, Vt., and main office at Buffalo, N. Y.
The contract calls for the completion of the monument by the first of next October. It will be of Barre granite and will stand fifty-three feet and three inches. The base will be fifteen feet square and there will be a group of statuary in relief symbolizing history and also statues representing infantry, cavalry and artillery. The figure surmounting the shaft is a standard bearer.
The price to be paid is $9,800 and before completed the cost will probably be more than $10,000.
It is probable that the commissioners will place a bronze tablet on the monument containing the names of the surviving soldiers in Warren County who served in the civil war. There are less than 150 veterans living at present in the county.
June 1, 1908 - the Monday edition, page four, column three:
The majority of the members of Eben N. Ford Post, G. A. R. and the citizens in general are anxious to have the Soldiers' Monument, which has been ordered by the County Commissioners, placed in some more conspicuous place than in the Court House yard, where it has been decided to erect it. It is argued that only a small percentage of the strangers who visit Warren have occasion to go to the vicinity of the Court and that it should be placed along some thoroughfare more generally traversed. A petition is being circulated to have the monument placed on the river front near the corner of Penn. Ave. and Hickory street. Another petition will soon be circulated to request the Commissioners to erect the monument at the point of Central Park, which seems to be a very desirable location and a place especially adapted for such a structure.
In either of these places the monument would never be disturbed, while if placed in the Court House yard it might in time be in the way of building. The present court house will not always stand and when a new structure is reared it may be necessary to occupy the corner of the Court House lawn.
August 4, 1908 - within "Council Held Warm Session" on page 1, columns 1-2 were two reports:
A committee of citizens were present with an ordinance, and the Council was addressed by T. O. Slater with regard the soldiers monument site. The ordinance provides for the sale of a portion of land adjoining the suspension bridge on Penna. Ave. W. for a nominal sum to the County of Warren. The ordinance passed first reading.
The County Commissioners have consented to allow the monument placed at the point stated providing the Borough deeds them the plot and that the transaction is ratified by the next legislature and that a petition bearing the signatures of over half the voters of the county be obtained. Also that any additional cost for foundation over the price of the contract let be supplied from some source other than the county funds.
Capt. T. O. Slater, chairman of committee on location of Soldiers' monument, appeared before council and stated what had been done toward the matter of the location of the monument on the river bank, near the Suspension bridge, and presented an ordinance selling and conveying to the county of Warren the proposed strip of land for the purpose of erecting and maintaining thereon a Soldiers' and Sailors' monument forever, for the action of council.
The ordinance was read and on motion passed first reading.
June 2, 1909 - the Wednesday edition, page four, under "Daily Reflections:"
Excavating for Monument--The work of excavating and preparing for the foundation of the sailors' and soldiers' monument has commenced in earnest. A force of men are busy removing stumps and rubbish preparatory to putting in a solid foundation. From now on the work will move along rapidly.
July 7, 1909 - another snippet within a longer article on the front page of the Wednesday edition:
Capt. T. O. Slater and Mr. Charles Schimmelfeng came before the council and stated that the Dunkirk Railroad had consented to give the remaining dirt from the excavation on its right of way on Fourth street, for filling the Soldiers' Monument log, and request that the dirt be hauled to the lot at the expense of the borough, being about 200 loads.
Moved by Mr. Hazen, seconded by Mr. Johnson that the Street Commissioner be instructed to haul the dirt on Fourth street to the Soldiers' Monument lot without charge. Carried.
September 18, 1909 - the Saturday edition chronicles continuing challenges:
A force of men will begin erecting the soldiers' monument on the site selected at the corner of Penn. Ave. W. and Bridge streets next Monday. A superintendent will come from the plant where the monument was made to take charge of the work. Unfortunately the river bank is not yet filled in on a level with the base of the monument and although about 4,000 loads of earth have been deposited it will require about 3,000 more. For the past few days a number of teams have been drawing earth from Fourth street, where paving operations are in progress, but the excavating will be completed today and the amount of earth taken out did not make a material showing at the site of the monument. When the monument is erected there will be appropriate dedicatory services.
September 30, 1909 - from the "Daily Reflections" column:
Work Has Commenced--Large loads of machinery and rope are being hauled to the site of the sailors' and soldiers' monument preparatory to the erection of the same. The task of moving the heavy peices of stone from the D. A. V. tracks, where they have reposed many months, to their final resting place will be the next thing in order. The men who are here to erect the shaft are "onto their job" and the work will be rushed from now on.
October 18, 1909 - on the front page of the Monday edition:
Saturday afternoon a committee representing Eben N. Ford Post, G. A. R. met with the Commissioners of the County for the purpose of arranging for the dedication of the Soldiers and Sailors' monument which is fast nearing completion and which occupies a commanding position on the river front near the Suspension bridge.
Those representing the Post were R. H. Smith, J. R. Mitchell, D. I. Ball, Esq., R. G. Kerr and T. P. Reig. It was decided to hold the exercises on Thursday, Nov. 4th at two o'clock at the location of the monument providing the weather is favorable and if the weather is unfavorable it is probable the program will be carried out at Library Theater.
The Grand Army have a special ritual for the dedication of monuments erected in honor of the defenders of the Republic and this will be employed upon the occasion. There will be martial music by a band and in every particular the program will be an appropriate one.
It was decided to extend an invitation to Adjutant General Stewart to be present and deliver the address of the day and if it is impossible for him to accept some other noted orator will have the honor of being the speaker of the occasion.
Invitations will be extended to the several posts of the County and to all surviving soldiers and sailors and their descendants and to the general public as well.
October 28, 1909 - not yet dedicated and already this from Thursday's "Daily Reflections" column:
Monument Criticised--The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument is the object of considerable criticism, and justly, too. In addition to the group of figures on the north side, which represents Youth receiving instruction from History, there are four figures, all soldiers. The sailors are not represented. Senator Cummings stated that one of the figures should be changed for a representation of a sailor. It is not known yet what action will be taken upon the matter.
November 4, 1909 - at last, splashed on Thursday's front page and continuing on page three:
ELEGANT MEMORIAL TO SOLDIERS AND SAILORS
Dedication of Warren County's Monument Took Place Today.
THOUSANDS ATTEND THE CEREMONIES
Threatening Weather Kept Many Visitors Away and Interferred With the Exercises -- The Speech Made in Library Theatre.
This is a day that will long be remembered by all residents of Warren county. It is the culmination of many years of hope and anticipation that this country should some day erect a fitting memorial to the sailors and soldiers who went from Warren county to the front and lost their lives in the Civil War. The dedication ceremonies took place this afternoon. With the dawn of the day aged veterans and patriotic residents began to wend their way toward Warren. The early trains brought large numbers to the city and these, with the speaker of the day, the Hon. W. J. Hulings of Oil City, were met at the Pennsylvania station by the reception committee and the A. F. of M. band of 25 pieces and escorted to the Carver house and Grand Army Hall to await the time set for the beginning of the exercises.
The city put on its prettiest holiday attire large flags were thrown to the breeze from the business places and adorned the residences, many stores and business places were artistically draped with the American flag and the city took on the appearance almost equal to what might be expected if the President of the United States were to include Warren in his tour. Stores and business places were closed during the afternoon; at all the schools in the city a half holiday was declared and the students all participated in the parade. The weather was uncertain. The day opened with slight showers from a dark and clouded sky, and this doubtless kept many visitors away. Nevertheless there was a large crowd present.
At 1:30 p.m. the parade formed at the High School building. Company I was first in the line, following them came the G. A. R., headed by the marshall of the day, Col. David Gardner and his aides, R. L. Kerr, Thadeus Reig, R. H. Smith, C. A. Waters and D. I. Ball. The boys of the G. A. R. made a good showing for despite the threatening weather 150 of them marched in the parade. The A. F. of M. band marched behind the G. A. R. Next came the town council and Business Men's Association, followed by the school children. Children from all the schools of Warren met at the High School building and it was estimated that there were nearly 1200 in line. Then came the citizens. The parade was a pleasing spectacle and was watched by the crowds of people that had been gathering in town all the forenoon. The line of march was as follows: North to Fourth street, west to Liberty street, thence down Liberty to Second street and to the monument.
A. C. Mook, one of the County Commissioners, acted as president of the day. He presented the monument to the G. A. R. for dedication. The full ritualistic ceremonies of the Grand Army of the Republic for the dedication of monuments was used. This service is very interesting and impressive. Members of the G. A. R. represented the Army and H. W. Barnes, an honorably discharged sailor of the U. S. S. Idaho represented the navy. The American flag was hoisted on a pole which had been erected near the monument for the day. The Hon. W. E. Hulings, of Oil City, then gave the oration of the day. Mr. Hulings is a very interesting talker and he held the attention of the thousands of people. His address was such as to inspire more patriotism in the hearts of the citizens and to deepen the pride of the noble boys, many of whom are now nearing their final resting place, who left home and friends and went to the battlefield to defend their country.
A Splendid Monument
The splendid monument which occupies an imposing position upon the bank of the Allegheny river is a fitting tribute to those who sacrificed their lives in order that the Republic might not perish. A bronze tablet upon the front has the following fitting inscription: "In memory of Warren County Heroes. They Fought a Good Fight. They Kept our Country's Faith. We Cherish Their Memory."
The memorial is without question one of the most attractive and original soldiers' monuments erected in memory of the heroes of 1961-1865 ever constructed. It consists of a massive pedestal, the base of which measures 14 x 15 feet. This section is constructed in two large stones. The course directed above is 12 by 11 feet and is also constructed in two pieces, the joint running in the opposite diirection from that in the bottom or lower base, so that the two courses bind each other securely. The third course is in one large stone 9 ft 6 in by 10 ft 6 in.
On these large platform courses the section termed the lower die. Constructed solid with this particular portion of the memorial is an allegorical group, the subject being "History," represented by a teacher and her pupil, and on the other three sides stand statues representing the three branches of her servic [sic], infantry, artillery, and cavalry. These figures are each 7 feet in height. This stone also bears three standard bronze tablets with appropriate inscriptions.
On the upper die, which section is directly behind the granite figures, a large standard bronze tablet is also placed suitable inscribed. The four sides of the plinth, which surmounts the cap placed on the die, are handsomely carved with oak leaves, wreaths, etc. On this pedestal rests an immense granite shaft measuring 3 ft. square and 24 ft. 5 in in length, the stone weighing in the neighborhood of 20 tons. This shaft is surmounted by a large elaborately carved upper cap on which is placed a granite figure of a color bearer 11 feet in height to the top of the colors. The entire height of the memorial is 53 feet. The material throughout is Barre, Vermont granite of the finest quality and the workmanship is absolutely beyond criticism. In fact, it is one of the cleanest and most finely cut memorials ever executed in granite.
|Photograph courtesy of the Warren Library Association|
|Note Suspension Bridge on left|
The contractors, McDonnell & Sons, of Buffalo, N.Y., are also the designers and builders of a large number of famous memorials, among them the Tippecanoe Battlefield memorial, which was dedicated during the fall of 1908, marking the battle ground near Lafayette, Ind. This memorial was erected by the above firm for the United States government and the state of Indiana. Other memorials worthy of note are the Gov. Pingree memorial in Grand Circus Park, Detroit, Mich., the Carter Harrison memorial at Chicago, Ill., the Gen. George B. McClellan memorial at Trenton, N. J., and a large number of monuments on Southern battle grounds, as well as numerous soldiers' and sailors' memorials erected in cities and towns throughout this country.
Was Well Represented
Warren County has a splendid record. There were 14 companies, 1,943 men sent to the front to suppress the rebellion. Of these three or four companies were recruited partly in other counties. They are as follows: Company II, 39th Infantry 10th Pa. Reserves, enrollment 100, killed or died in service 19, Co. D., 42nd Infantry, 13th Pa. Reserves, (Bucktails) enrolled 110, lost 18, Co I, 58th Infantry, enrolled, 150, lost 25. Co. B., 11th Infantry, enrolled 189. lost 35; Co. K., 113th Cavalry, enrolled 158, lost 8; Co. L, 145th Infantry, enrolled 168, lost 50; Co. I., 145th Infantry, enrolled 146, lost 43; Co. F., 151st Infantry, enrolled, 88, lost 8; Co. C., 159th 14th Cavalry, enrolled 231, lost 25; Co. I., 159th Regt., 14th Cavalry, enrolled 137, lost 11; Co. I., 193rd Infantry, enrolled 85, lost 1; Co. G., 211th Infantry, enrolled 102, lost 2; Co. C., Independent, enrolled 119, lost 6. The records show that 283 men were either killed, died in prisons or battlefields during the war of the rebellion. The percentage of killed is a trifle over fourteen per cent.
November 11, 1909 - And finally there is this from "Daily Reflections:"
Not for Park Seats--Complaints are already beginning to be made that the base of the sailors' and soldiers' monument is being used for park seats. It is stated that every morning the base is covered with mud from the feet of loafers and boys who apparently roost there. The monument was not placed there for this purpose and officials state that it will not be tolerated.
|The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument today|
|Photograph courtesy Penelope Repko|
|The base of the monument today, looking directly at "History," with the bridge spanning the Allegheny River on the right.|
|Photograph courtesy Penelope Repko|
The plaque reads:
In Memory of Warren County Heroes.
They fought a good fight;
They kept our country's faith;
We cherish their memories.
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