Ohio’s American Civil War soldiers and civilians sought to commemorate the troopers’ devotion to and service with the United States by constructing monuments and other memorials.
During the American Civil War, Ohio provided the federal government with 260 regiments of men, including infantry, artillery, and cavalry units. Ohioans also served in several other regiments from other states, most notably from Kentucky, West Virginia, and Massachusetts, as well as in federal units. Almost 330,000 Ohio men, including 5,092 African Americans, served in the Union military during the conflict.
Ohio’s soldiers and civilians sought to commemorate the troopers’ devotion to and service with the United States by constructing monuments and other memorials. Ohioans completed the first of these commemorations during the Civil War, with hundreds more being built after the conflict. Ohioans have built at least 295 monuments to commemorate Civil War veterans, civilians, political leaders, and war-related events in the state. Eighty-six of the state’s eighty-eight counties contain Civil War monuments, with Hamilton County, Lucas County, Lorain County, Brown County, and Franklin County each boasting ten or more memorials each. Only Clinton County and Noble County do not contain Civil War monuments.
In 1912, Conneaut, Ohio residents Mr. Marquis Derelius Townsend donated funds to construct a memorial to honor the region’s Civil War soldiers who perished during the conflict and who also were interred in unknown graves. Townsend had risen to the rank of captain in the Union military during the Civil War. The monument consists of granite and stands sixteen and one-half feet tall, including the five foot, six inch statue of a soldier standing at parade rest that tops the memorial. Inscribed on the monument’s base is the following: “Dedicated to the memory of the soldiers who enlisted from this vicinity 61-65 buried in unknown graves. Presented by M.D. Townsend and wife Margaret.” Although Townsend’s wife’s name appears on the memorial, she had died before completion of the monument.
The memorial was dedicated on November 14, 1912. The following story regarding the dedication appeared in a local newspaper:;;;;;;;;;;;
At Conneaut, Ohio on Nov. 14th, was dedicated a soldiers’ monument presented to the city of Capt. Marquis D. Townsend and his late wife. The monument is a beautiful and imposing granite memorial and is given in memory of the soldiers who enlisted from the vicinity of Conneaut and are lying in unknown graves. Mr. Townsend is a native of this town and for several years has spent his summers here. He is highly respected and esteemed by all who know him and Reading feels honored in having contributed so worthy a man to the state of Ohio.
In 1925, residents of Conneaut placed two cannon next to the monument. A plaque on one of the cannon reads thusly: “Lest we forget–These cannon the property of the U. S. Government procured as a memorial to the soldiers and sailors of the Civil and other wars by Capt. W. D. Townsend and commissioned by Mayor D. S. Brace, 1925.”
Today, the cannon remain in good condition. The granite monument also is sturdy, but the engraving has become almost unreadable. The memorial is located at the Conneaut City Cemetery at 359 West Main Road in Conneaut.