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 1914, Civil War veterans in St. Marys, Ohio sought funds to commemorate their military service. A news article in the January 1914 issue of The Reporterstated, “Local veterans of the civil war at St. Marys, Ohio, have started a fund for a monument to those who enlisted in the union army from that place.” These men formed a committee to raise money to construct the monument. The committee collected 3,400 dollars and contracted with the Geo. Dodd and Sons Granite Co. of Xenia, Ohio to build the memorial.
Standing twenty-six feet tall, including the six-foot statue of a soldier at parade rest on the monument’s top, the memorial was made entirely from granite. The following inscription appears on the monument’s front with two crossed muskets: “Loyalty. Erected 1915 by Past and Present Patriotic Citizens of St. Marys in Commemoration of our Volunteers of the Civil War 1861-1865” On the back of the monument are two crossed cannon barrels with the following inscription; "E.N. Garver, Chairman, J.J. Hollingsworth, Sec'y. Fred Brieur, Treas. Jacob F. Fike, James P. Smith, Jacob L. McCoy. The Geo. Dodds & Sons/Granite Co., Contractors.”
The monument was formally dedicated on May 30, 1915 and was erected in the Elm Grove Cemetery in St. Marys. Today, the memorial remains in very good condition. The monument remains in Elm Grove Cemetery at 631 Greenville Road.