April 12, 1861 probably isn't a date that is instantly recognized by the majority of Americans, but it should be.
Unlike Dec. 7, 1941 and Sept. 11, 2001, that April day nearly 150 years ago, doesn't "live in infamy," but just like the more recent dates, that day was followed by a dark time of turmoil for the United States and its citizens.
On April 12, 1861, the Confederate troops fired cannons on Fort Sumter in Charleston, S.C. and the Civil War began.
Columbiana County, and Lisbon in particular, were heavily involved in the Civil War. One of the war's staunchest opponents - Clement Vallandigham - was born in Lisbon, or New Lisbon as it was known then.
Lisbon, Wellsville and Salem all had homes which were stops on the Underground Railroad that helped slaves escape into Canada and freedom.
A branch of the Fighting McCooks, an Ohio family whose members reached prominence as military officers during the war, was located in Lisbon.
One of John Brown's raiders, who died at the raid on Harper's Ferry, was Edwin Coppoc of Salem.
Secretary of War Edwin Stanton had been a circuit lawyer and worked out of the Jacob Picking Building in Lisbon. Civil War Gen. William T.H. Brooks was a native of Lisbon.
And of course, as every local history buff knows, Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan was captured near West Point, the farthest point north reached by Confederate troops.
Those are but a few of the stories of Civil War participants and events with a Columbiana County connection.
Beginning today, the Morning Journal is publishing a monthly series to retell the Civil War stories many of us are familiar with, as well as a few that may have been long forgotten. Clement Vallandigham is the subject of our first installment, which can be found on Page 1C of today's Journal.
The Journal is not alone in its plans to commemorate the war between the states.
The Lisbon Historical Society is planning a four-and-a-half-year program on the Civil War and Lisbon's participation in it. Because Lisbon sent more men to the Civil War than any other area of Columbiana County, the local society, ably directed by Curator Gene Krotky, is certain that there must be artifacts and stories to share. The society is looking for stories, photographs, diaries, or discharge papers from local ancestors who served in the military or communicated from home and other places.
The society is especially looking for family stories that can be verified. "The experiences of the 1860s citizenry will greatly enrich the current awareness of the community's history," Krotky said in a press release announcing the project.
In addition, at the historical society's Train Station on East Washington Street, there will be changing displays of the artifacts either owned by the society or shared by descendants and inheritors of veterans and their families.
The society is asking that artifact owners, share these items with the public. They are not asking that they be donated, so no one is being asked to give up priceless heirlooms and family treasures. If anyone is willing to share items with the society, please e-mail Krotky at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Journal is also inviting readers and local historical societies to share any information they may have about Columbiana County's participation. Be it local relics or family stories, old newspapers or photographs. And since so many Columbiana Countians and residents of surrounding counties went off to fight in the war, we'd welcome stories from local Civil War soldier descendants who have traced their ancestors' war records, too.
Those with Civil War information to share can email the Journal newsroom at email@example.com or call the newsroom clerk at 330-424-9541, ext. 297. Information can also be mailed to Morning Journal, 308 Maple St., Lisbon, OH 44432.