(Source: History of Shelby County, Ohio and
Evansville, Ind. - A. B. C. Hitchcock - 1913 - 913 pgs)
(Transcribed by Sharon Wick)
Co., Ohio, Military Index)
| One of the
most imposing structures in Sidney is this memorial
edifice erected to the fallen heroes of the Civil war by
a grateful people. In the year 1865, just at the close
of the war, a town meeting was called to consider the
proposition to erect a monument in the public square in
memory of the martyred dead heroes of Shelby county.
Many plans were suggested by various speakers but no
definite action was taken at that meeting. After
considering the matter for some time Messrs. C. W.
Van De Grift, Frank B. Carey and Cyrus W. Frazer
organized a private association for the purpose of
conducting a lottery, the proceeds of which should be
devoted to that purpose. Mr. Frazer withdrew and
J. R. Fry became his successor. The lottery was
established with real or personal property and the
tickets were placed on sale at one dollar each.
It was resolved to raise $60,000 and when $40,000 was
realized $30,000 was used in the purchase of real estate
and personal property for prizes. When the sale of
tickets was exhausted the lottery was drawn, the prizes
distributed and the proceeds of the drawing, $11,473.97,
delivered to the council.
On the 2d of May, .1871, the general assembly of Ohio
passed an act providing for the appointment of trustees
and the disposition of moneys or other property held in
trust for the erection of soldiers' monuments. This act
provided for the appointment of trustees by the court of
common pleas, who should give bond for the faithful
discharge of the duties of the office; that such board
of trustees should not exceed seven members, each of
whom should be a resident of the county in which a
monument was to be erected; that the board, or a
majority thereof, should determine whether to erect a
monument or a monumental building; that permanent
tablets should be provided, on which should be inscribed
the name of each soldier who lost his life in the
service of his country; that vacancies in the board
should be filled by the court of common pleas; that all
monuments or monumental buildings should be forever free
On the 27th of May, 1871,
W. P. Stowell, Esq.,
presented a petition to the court of common pleas,
asking that the funds held by J. F. Frazier, George
Vogle, and J. R. Fry, being the proceeds of
the lottery,' be placed in the hands of trustees under
the act of May-2, 1871. Messrs. Frazier and Vogle appeared in court, waived service, and on June
12th the court determined, after due examination, that
there were in the hands of said persons money, property,
and assets to the value of $11,473.97, the same being a
fund set apart for the erection of a soldiers' monument.
The court thereupon appointed a board of trustees,
consisting of Levi C. Barkdull, Nathan R.
Wyman, H. S. Gillespie, Daniel Staley, Hugh Thompson,
Joseph C. Haines, and R. R. Lytle. The court
further directed the original trustees, Messrs.
Frazier, Vogle, and Fry, to bring
said amount of $11,473.97 into court oh the 17th of June
inst. This order was complied with, the new trustees
gave approved bonds, and received the property in trust
with instructions to loan the same in good and
sufficient security. The trustees met on the same date
and organized by electing Hugh Thompson,
president; N. R. Wyman, secretary; and Hugh
Thompson, N. R. Wyman, and L. C. Barkdull,
On May 27, 1873, the trustees purchased the corner lot,
known as the Ackerly corner, and being the south half of
the lot on corner of Court and Ohio streets, Sidney. The
consideration was $4,500 and possession until the 1st of
On February 15, 1874, A. J. Robertson and
Harrison Wilson were appointed members of the board
of trustees vice R. R. Lytle and H. S.
Gillespie, who became non-residents. The property
was then rented to John Mather for one
year at $50 per annum.
In the autumn of 1874
Mr. Robertson suggested
the idea of requesting an additional legislative act to
authorize the town and township to raise a joint fund
which, with the amount already in the hands of the
trustees, should be applied to the erection of a
monumental building. This action was approved by the
legislature, and the people were authorized to hold an
election to determine whether the town and township
should contribute to the project. Under this provision
the corporation of Sidney, and Clinton township each
voted $13,000, and issued bonds for said amount.
On March 21, 1875, the board had resolved to erect a
monumental building if sufficient- aid could be obtained
from Sidney and Clinton township to make an aggregate
fund of $40,000, and as noted above, said fund was
raised by taxation.
On May 30, 1875.
Hugh Thompson and Col. H. Wilson were appointed to take proper
measures to have another amount of $12,000 voted by
Sidney and Clinton township, or a tax of $6,000 each.
This was done March 15, 1876, the same having been
changed to $7,500 each, or an aggregate of $15,000.
On the 14th of April the trustees rented a room for
office uses in the residence of Hugh Thompson, and authorized
A. J. Robertson to
act for the board in arranging terms with the town and
township as to the rights and privileges of each
concerning the proposed building. Levi C. Barkdull,
Harrison Wilson, and N. R. Wyman were
appointed a committee on plan of building, subject to
the approval of the full board. Hugh Thompson
and L. C. Barkdull were authorized to dispose of
the building which occupied the lot already purchased.
The trustees, town council, and township trustees
elected representatives to report plans and confer in
joint session. A. J. Robertson was chosen by the
building trustees, Samuel McCune by the town
council, and John Wagner by the township
officers, as representatives of the three bodies
concerned. Plans were received, and, after a full
examination by the joint bodies, the plans submitted by
Samuel Lane of Cleveland were adopted, and on May
10, 1875, a committee on contracts was appointed,
consisting of A. J. Robertson, L. C.
Barkdull, and N. R. Wyman, their action to be
subject to the approval of the whole board. A. J.
Robertson was appointed to superintend the
construction of the building.
Description and contracts.—The size of the building is
one hundred and sixty-five feet on Court street and
forty-four feet on Ohio street; three stories high, with
basement in front thirty-five by forty-one feet, and a
cellar under the whole building, which is so arranged as
to be converted into rooms if any necessity of this
character should arise.
The brickwork was let to
W. W. Robertson .for
$9,259.82. The cellar wall to Jacob Hopler for
$954.26. Cut stonework to Thomas Jones for
$9,650. Additional work to Thomas Jones for $473.
Woodwork to Mr. McCoy for $11,500. Painting and
glazing to F. Gierman for $2,963. Galvanized
iron, tin, and slating to W. M. Service & Co. for
$1,915. Plastering to Fullers & Pecks for 6,508. Iron
columns to Manning & Son for $2,887.29.
Gas fitting to. P. Smith & Bro. for $225.
Frescoing and scene painting to E. F. Harvey for
$1,200. Steam heater to Brooks, Leight & Co. for $3,397. Stage carpenter work to
Fowler for $430. Cost of stone for cellar and area
walls for $1,479.85.
A 1,400-pound bell was furnished by the corporation of
Laying the corner-stone.—The following order of
exercises was observed on Thursday, June 24, 1875, being
the occasion of the laying of the cornerstone of
Monumental Building. Prayer, by Rev. T. C. Reade,
after which the square, level, and plumb were
masonically applied to the corner-stone, and the corn,
wine, and oil sprinkled upon it; whereupon the grand
master struck the corner with his gavel, and the whole
ceremonies were masonically explained. A box was then
deposited in the corner-stone containing the
following-named articles: Programme of the day; list of
discharged soldiers of Shelby county; list of officers
and members of Company M, First Ohio Light Artillery of
Shelby county; copy of Shelby County Democrat of June
24, 1875; copies of Sidney Journal of April 21, 1865,
and June 18, 1875; list of Summit Lodge, No. Fifty, K.
of P.; a $500 monumental bond of the village of Sidney,
of issue of June 14, 1875; Wide-awake badge of J. C.
Jacobs, lieutenant-colonel of the Twenty-fourth New York
Cavalry; list of Silver Star Cornet Band; copy of
Cincinnati Gazette, Commercial, and Enquirer of June 24,
1875; charter of Orange Lodge, No. One Hundred and
Fifty-two, and names of charter members; name of the
former owner of the building site, George Ackerly; names
of survivors of the Mexican war, A. J. Robertson,
George Ackerly, Amos Woaley, and W. H. Howell;
names of building committee, A. J. Robertson, N. R.
Wyman, and L. C. Barkdull; name of architect,
Samuel Lane, associate member of American
Institute of Architects.
It may here be observed that after this part of the
ceremony, Sergt. W. M. Van Fossen, who in the
procession was color-bearer of the Ninety-ninth
regiment, veiled the corner-stone with the flag, saying,
"Done in memory of the fallen heroes of Shelby county,
in the state of Ohio and town of Sidney, June 24th, in
the year of our Lord 1875."
A Masonic address was then delivered by
McKinney, Esq., of Piqua, to a large and
enthusiastic assemblage in the public square.
John G. Stephenson was appointed a member of the
board February 9, 1877, vice L. C. Barkdull,
On April 14, 1877, the trustees were authorized to
issue bonds for the completion of the building, and H. Thompson
and J. G. Stephenson were
appointed to procure printed bonds. Messrs. Haines and
Stephenson were instructed to collect $670 from Sidney
and $100 from Clinton township, to be applied to the
payment for heating apparatus.
On the 4th of May the trustees submitted a report to
the court of common pleas. Moneys received consisted of
real estate, notes, etc., amounting to $59,538.32.
Disbursements, $58,289.08. Balance on hand, $1,249.24.
On February 1, 1890, the trustees met to consider a
proposition to receive the books and other property from
the Library Association trustees, and on February 10th
the proposition was accepted on the following
conditions: That the library be free to the clergy,
their wives and minor children; to soldiers and sailors
of the Civil war and their wives and minor children; to
the widows and mothers of such soldiers or sailors .who
may have died in the service; to all others upon such
terms as the trustees may prescribe; the whole
institution to be governed by such rules and regulations
as the board may adopt. The Monumental Association, by
the board of trustees, bound the corporation to accept
the proposition and comply with its provisions as soon
as the funds of said association would justify full
The building, which was completed in 1877, has a
splendid basement devoted to various uses; the first
floor on Ohio street, as originally conceived, had two
store-rooms, one one hundred and twelve by nineteen
feet, and the other seventy-five by nineteen feet. These
have entrances on Ohio street, as have also the library
and hall, while the store-rooms have entrances on Court
street, also. Adjoining the Court street entrance to the
hall and second story is a room eighteen by forty-three
feet, once used for the postoffice, and west of this the
On the second floor is Library Hall, forty-two by
seventy-five feet, with a librarian's office and museum,
thirty-five by eighteen feet. In Library Hall are
preserved the marble tablets upon which are inscribed
the names of the illustrious patriots who died in the
War of the Rebellion. Its splendid alcoves, arches and
decorations make it a fit place to enshrine the names of
the county's dead.
The third floor was the Opera Hall, forty-two by one
hundred and twenty-six feet, which was complete in
ornament, scenery and furniture and capable of seating
seven hundred and fifty people. This room was abandoned
as an opera house in 1895 and has since been the home of
the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
The whole is surmounted by a mansard roof, with a niche
on the Ohio street front in which is a bronze statue of
a private soldier resting on his gun.
The building has always been a source of pride to the
community and stands, a crowning credit to its
originators, and all who in any way contributed to its
The present board of monumental trustees consists of
Judge Harrison Wilson, president; W. A. Graham, W. B.
McCabe, W. T. McLean, L. M. Studevant and Perry