Sunday, January 11, 2009

Civil War in Scipio

As you may have seen in the Auburn Citizen newspaper, I am doing some research in preparation for the 150th anniversary of our Civil War, which will begin in 2011. My visit to the NYS Archives provided a wonderful resource; the town clerk book that lists all soldiers from the town, and some facts such as what unit they fought in, when and where they were wounded, etc.
I thought it worth noting that Auburn, our county seat, has a Civil War memorial that was dedicated in 1921.
A friend and fellow history buff let me borrow and photograph a book about the memorial published in 1928. I will have to add this book to my E-Bay wish list!
This book describes the unveiling and dedication of the memorial, complete with the ceremony and public addresses given on May 30, Memorial Day, 1921. The foreword mentions that the horse trough at Richardson Square was cleared to make a place for the memorial, which you can find located beside Auburn's City Hall.
The quest to create a Civil War memorial was begun in April of 1903, but the committee disbanded for lack of interest in February of 1904. It was not until 16 years later in April of 1919 and with the personal efforts of General William A. Seward that a serious effort began. General Seward did not live to see its completion, but his son William Jr. was Chairman of the Dedication Committee. The Commander of the NY Department of the GAR or Grand Army of the Republic, presided over the dedication ceremonies.
The Cayuga County Board of Supervisors provided $15,000; checking that in today's dollars, it would be about $150,000. There were several smaller contributors. Among them was the Owasco Chapter, NSDAR who gave $100 ($1,000 in 2009). Mary S. V. Wait of the Owasco Chapter was a member of the Dedication and Unveiling Committee.
As you can tell from the size of the contributions and the list of those who participated, this Civil War memorial was a very big deal for Cayuga County. The next time you are in Auburn, stop by City Hall and take a look at it!

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