Late 1800s, early 1900s
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 either the late nineteenth or early twentieth century, Wapakoneta, Ohio resident William Laudahn had a grave monument constructed in Greenlawn Cemetery. Laudahn was a veteran of the 8th Independent Company Ohio Volunteer Sharpshooters during the Civil War. Made from granite, the sixteen-foot-tall monument includes a ten-foot base and a six-foot statue of a soldier standing at parade rest. The memorial marks the final resting places of Laudahn’s first wife, Sarah Hetrick Laudahn, his second wife, Mary M. Maurer Laudahn, and of Laudahn himself. In all likelihood, the monument was constructed before William and Mary Laudahn’s deaths, as the memorial does not include their death dates.
The following inscriptions appear on the monument’s base: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. William Laudahn. Born Lugwigslust, Mecklenburg, Germany, Nov. 21, 1832. Sarah Hetrick, Wife of Wm Laudahn. Born in Shaefferstown, PA, March 12, 1823, Died Jan. 5, 1875. Mary M. Maurer, wife of Wm. Laudahn. Born in Saarbrueken, Germany, July 1843. Behold I bring you glad/things of great joy. Which shall be to all people. Laudahn.”
William Laudahn lived at least until 1906. In that year, the United States Congress authorized an increase in Laudahn’s Civil War pension. The legislation read as follows:
CHAP. 3049.: An Act Granting an increase of pension to William Laudahn. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Secretary of the Interior be, and he is hereby, authorized and directed to place on the pension roll, subject to the provisions and limitations of the pension laws, the name of William Laudahn, late of Eighth Independent Company, Ohio Volunteer Sharpshooters, and pay him a pension at the rate of thirty dollars per month in lieu of that he is now receiving. Approved, June 7, 1906.
Today, the monument is in poor condition, with parts of the inscription being illegible. The memorial is located at Greenlawn Cemetery, west of Wapakoneta, at 12502 Presar Road.