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Pride in our history

Morning Journal This marks the spot in Columbiana County where General John Hunt Morgan surrendered.

We were dismayed to learn that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources decided to remove an oil painting of Confederate General John Hunt Morgan from its Salt Fork Lodge in Cambridge. The ODNR’s reason was not included in the Associated Press story so we’re not sure what their logic was for this move.

General Morgan was captured near West Point here in Columbiana County. His capture ended the Confederacy’s northernmost invasion of Union territory and put an end to his marauding, plundering and pillaging that had victimized innocent civilians in the states of Indiana and Ohio.

The tales of General Morgan’s romp through Columbiana County are legendary, but even though we have erected numerous markers to commemorate his trail through our county, Morgan is not hailed as a hero here. Instead, we are proud of the role our ancestors played in his capture.

Although there were those who lived here who were Southern sympathizers, the majority of Columbiana Countians back then were on the Union side. Thousands of them signed on with the various militias and regiments that existed in those days. Many of us are proud that our ancestors fought to defend our union.

We have re-enactments of Morgan’s Raid and commemorative events whenever a significant anniversary of the capture is observed. In 1963 for the 100th anniversary and in 2013 for the 150th we held major observances that were attended by thousands.

We hold these remembrances, not because we laud General John Hunt Morgan, or because we believed in his cause, but because we are proud of our role in stopping him.

In their misguided attempts to rid the world of anything someone might find offensive, some cities and states have been removing Confederate monuments.

Since many of these people display a lack of appreciation or even a knowledge of history, we hope they don’t mistakenly target our Morgan remembrances.

And we hope that any attempts to erase the rich history we’re proud of here will be met with strong opposition. Columbiana County was proud to fight to defend our Union and we’re also proud to defend the preservation of that history.

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