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(Source:  History of Shelby County, Ohio and Representative Citizens.
Evansville, Ind. - A. B. C. Hitchcock - 1913 - 913 pgs)
(Transcribed by Sharon Wick)

(Shelby 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 from taxation.
     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, executive committee.
     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 April, 1874.
On February 15, 1874, A. J. Robertson and Col. 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 F. 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 Sidney.
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 J. F. 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, resigned.
     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 acceptance.
     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 fire department.
     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 construction.
     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 Frazier.


Shelby County, Ohio Military
Company I, 15th Regiment O. V. I.
Company I, 20th O. V. I.
50th O. V. I.
99th O. V. I.
118th O. V. I.
Battery M - 1st Ohio Light Artillery
Neal Post
Monumental Building
Tablet Roster - At Rest
Spanish-American War - Co. L

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