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Other Civil War heroes deserve the attention

May 19, 2013
Morning Journal News

More than 150 years after the beginning of the Civil War, events that occurred during that bloody conflict are still causing a stir among Lisbon residents.

At issue is the Lisbon Landmark Foundation's plan to erect a statue of Clement Vallandigham in the village square.

If you're not familiar with Vallandigham, he was a Lisbon (or New Lisbon as it was called then) native who was branded as a traitor by the Union during the Civil War when he sided with the South and advocated making peace with the Confederacy even if it meant continuing slavery.

Vallandigham practiced law in the village and served in the state legislature before moving to Dayton in 1847, where he was later elected to Congress.

A staunch supporter of states' rights, Vallandigham became the most famous of the so-called Copperheads, a group of northern Democrats who opposed the war.

In 1863, Vallandigham was arrested and imprisoned after being convicted by a military court of violating a federal order forbidding the expression of sympathy for the enemy. This was after he made derogatory comments about President Lincoln and his prosecution of the war. Lincoln later banished Vallandigham to the Confederacy after commuting his sentence.

In April, Lisbon Village Council voted to allow a bronze statue of Vallandigham to be placed in the village square near the Civil War-era cannon.

But now, opposition to this move has been voiced and state Senator Joe Schiavonni has entered the discussion after his office received a complaint. Village hall has begun receiving complaints as well.

The Lisbon Landmark Foundation, a committee of the Lisbon Area Chamber of Commerce devoted to preserving local history, feels Vallandigham should be remembered for his significant role in the Civil War, whether or not you agree with his opinions.

One complainant, however, expressed concerns that the statue does not embody the thoughts and opinions of Lisbon citizens, and that there are other Civil War figures of historical importance who would better represent the values of Lisbon.

We have the same concerns. Placing a statue of Vallandigham in the village square implies that he was a revered native son, which obviously is not the case. If honoring Vallandigham is the chief goal of this project, why not place a statue near his home which remains well-preserved on West Lincolnway in Lisbon?

However, if the foundation is looking to honor Lisbon natives for their involvement in the Civil War, why not erect a monument honoring the Fighting McCooks?

The McCook family sent 15 family members to fight for the Union. Six of them reached the rank of brigadier general or higher, and several family members were killed in action or died from their wounds.

Several of the McCooks held high political offices, including governorships and diplomatic posts, following the war.

Daniel McCook's house in Carrollton is preserved as a museum and several other McCook memorials and namesakes exist in other areas of Ohio.

Two of the famous McCooks were born in Lisbon - Robert Latimer McCook and Andrew McDowell McCook. Their home on Market Street was last known as The McCook House Tavern before it fell into such disrepair that it had to be demolished. Now Village Hall sits at that location.

Since the Lisbon McCook House wasn't preserved to remember these Civil War heroes, and because we haven't built any other monuments in their honor, why not erect a statue of them on the square? This would make more sense in a town where a majority of the residents sided with the Union during the War of the Rebellion.

A town hall meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in council chambers to allow residents to voice their opinions on this issue. We urge everyone who feels strongly about this to attend and let their voices be heard.

 
 

 

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