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 1908, Grand Army of the Republic Ruel Post No. 95 proposed building a monument to honor the Delphos men who served in the Union military during the Civil War, as well as the women who supported their male family members. Post No. 95 held a contest, seeking donations for the monument's construction. The organization also solicited suggestions for potential inscriptions for the memorial. The following story appeared in a November 1908 edition of the Delphos Herald regarding the proposed monument:
An interesting meeting of the trustees of the Monument Assn. was held Friday, and after extended discussion and a close examination of different designs, made a selection.
The foundation for the monument has been completed. It is seven feet square, and five feet deep and will carry any weight that may be placed upon it. The stone for the foundation was donated by Aaron Fisher and the labor of construction by F.O. Brotherton.
The committee desires that the ladies of Delphos, who have shown such a great interest in the monument movement, be invited to suggest proper mottoes, and any suggestions should be sent to the secretary, Louis Eysenbach. They will be greatly received and considered by the Trustees.
The W.H. Mullins Company of Salem, Ohio designed the six-foot tall soldier standing at parade rest that adorns the top of the monument. The business C. Scherger & Sons designed the memorial's twenty-foot base and constructed the monument, which was dedicated on Memorial Day in 1909.
On May 31, 1909, the Delphos Herald published the following story on regarding the monument's construction and dedication:
THE MONUMENT IS READY: MEN WORK ALL NIGHT SUNDAY
The soldiers’ monument in City Park will be unveiled this afternoon as a part of the Memorial Day exercises. In this part of the program, Miss Stella Truesdale, one of the pupils of the seventh grade, public schools, has been invited by Reul Post, G.A. R. to participate, Miss Truesdale having collected the largest sum of money for the monument fund in the contest.
The monument reached Delphos about 5:30 o’clock Sunday evening. Arriving in Toledo, Saturday morning, over the Lake Shore railroad, the flat car bearing the heavy pieces of stone was delivered to the C.H. & D. and taken to Ottawa over the F. Ft. W. and W. & W. and hauled the car to Mandale, where it was attached to the passenger train to Delphos.
C. Scherger & Sons, were ready and waiting with men, teams, derricks, etc., and the work of unloading was started at once. By the time darkness had set in, the first base, 7×7 feet, and 1 foot 4 inches high, had been placed in position. The second base is 5×5 feet and 1 foot high, and the third, 4×4 feet and 1 foot, 2 inches high. The die on which appears the lettering and designs, is 3×3 feet and 4 feet high. The plinth and cap is 2 feet 10 inches square and 5 feet 6 inches high, beautifully executed. Surmounting this is the statue of a soldier at parade rest. The figure is of oxidized copper, antique bronze finish, and stands 6 feet and 4 inches high. The entire monument is 19 feet and 5 inches tall and weighs 15 tons. The first and second bases are hammered and fine axed, and the plinth and cap axed and carved in design. The third base and die are polished. All is of Barre granite, from the New York Granite Co., Barre, Vermont. As the monument stands, the north side bears the words: "Erected by Reul Post No. 95, G.A. R. and Our Patriotic People, 1909", with design of G.A.R. emblem in center. The west side has this inscription, "We Honor the Dead, We Inspire the Living," with design of crossed swords and wreath in center. The south side shows these words: "Dedicated to Our Country’s Defenders and Preserves, The Men and Women of 1861-1865." Cannon and pyramid of balls in center. On the east side is carved: "Liberty and Equal rights to All, Now and Forever," with American flag in center. The members of the G.A.R. are more than pleased with the imposing and inspiring appearance.
C. Scherger & Sons and their employers worked all night in getting the heavy pieces in place, and their work was interfered somewhat by the deluge of rain. The statue was furnished by the W.H. Mullins Co., Salem, Ohio.
The monument is located at Delphos Veterans Memorial Park at the corner of 5th Street and Main Street in Delphos.