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What you need to know about these 3 big Civil War monuments in Dayton

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 6:00 AM
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As the war soldiers on in the South over what to do with memorials to Confederate generals and soldiers, we are reminded that Dayton has its own towering monuments. 

None, however, pay tribute to those who died in service to the Confederacy. 

>> Confederate marker in nearby Warren County won’t be removed, official says

Ohio History Connection, a nonprofit formed in 1885 as the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, says 310,654 Ohioans served as part of the Union Army in the Civil War.

>> 7 somber military monuments that stand over the region

That was the third largest number of soldiers from any Union state.

More than 35,000 Ohioans died fighting the war, the organization’s website says.

Here are three Dayton-area memorials that remind us of their efforts. 

>> Why there are more Confederate monuments in Ohio than you’d think

THE DAYTON PRIVATE 

More than 100,000 people watched Montgomery Country dedicate the Union Soldiers’ Monument on Main Street on July 31, 1884. 

The ceremony came less than two decades after the end of the Civil War. 

Its model was Pvt. George Washington Fair, a Dayton-born carpenter and bricklayer who mustered into the Union Army in 1861 and out in 1865.

>> How Dayton’s giant Main Street monument faced twists and turns to land there

The marble monument was moved to Sunrise Park on Riverview Avenue in 1948 and returned to Main Street in 1991.

It was damaged by the elements and replaced in bronze form. The original statue of Private Fair is now located under a portico at the VA Hospital.

>> 5 memorials that honor veterans in the region

HONEST ABE 

A beardless scultpture of slain U.S. President Abraham Lincoln that transformed Courthouse Square was unveiled Saturday Sept. 17, 2016. 

>> When Lincoln’s  sculpture was unveiled on Courthouse Square

The 11-foot-tall bronze tribute commissioned by the Lincoln Society of Dayton shows Lincoln before his election as the nation’s first Republican president. It commemorates his speech in Dayton on the steps of the Old Court House on Sept. 17, 1859 as part of his tour of Ohio.

The speeches Lincoln gave laid out his arguments against slavery and are credited with helping him win his party’s presidential nomination. 

Elected in 1960, Lincoln was president during the Civil War over slavery and states’ rights. 

John Wikes Booth assassinated Lincoln on April 15, 1865 in Washington D.C.’s Ford Theatre.  

Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his army just five days before Lincoln’s murder, ending the Civil War.  

THE FIRST MAJOR 

Martin Robison Delany was inducted into the Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame on Sept. 22, 2016. 

President Lincoln appointed Delany field rank major in 1865. He was the highest-ranking African-American officer in the Civil War and the only one to attain his rank.

>> Civil War hero among those to be added to Dayton Walk of Fame

The Hall of Fame is in Dayton’s Wright-Dunbar neighborhood. 
>> Neighborhood Guide: Wright-Dunbar 

Delany was born in Charles Town, Virginia in 1812 and died January 24, 1885 in Xenia. Delany, an abolitionist, physician, and editor in the pre-Civil War period, advocated black people emigrating out of the country to achieve equality.

In his time, he had been both a Democrat and Republican. 

His papers were destroyed in a fire at Wilberforce University on April 14, 1865, according to the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities Encyclopedia Virgina, “leaving scholars forever to wonder which of his writings they haven't read and what other directions his mind might have taken him.

>> Wading in the Water: Black History in the Miami Valley 1798 to 2001

A friend of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, Delany’s gravesite can be found at Massies Creek Cemetery near Wilberforce, where he practiced medicine until his death on January 24, 1885. 

A newer monument to Delany was erected near the Civil War-era tombstone that misspelled his last name.

A marker was installed near the PPG Place complex in downtown Pittsburgh in 1991, recognizing Delany’s historical importance. 

>> Where to find military monuments in the Dayton area