SUV member aiming to stop sale of Civil War cannons

From the Columbus, Ohio NBC4i website:

Civil War Activist Opposes OH Cemetery Cannon Sale

WILMINGTON, Ohio — A Civil War heritage activist is taking aim at a southwest Ohio cemetery’s plan to sell its two cannons from that era. The Sugar Grove Cemetery in Wilmington wants to sell the cannons and replace them with reproductions. The cemetery’s board says having the cannons increases insurance costs. The cemetery also could use the money, expecting to get $50,000 or so for the cannons. The Wilmington News Journal reports the plan is opposed by a member of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. Area resident Bob Grim says the cemetery doesn’t have the right to sell the cannons. He says they were donated or loaned to local governments for memorial displays. He has asked Clinton County officials to intervene, or says his group will sue.

The guns in question are 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Registry numbers 47 and 77 if my references are correct. Early production that were more likely to have seen service in the pivotal campaigns of the war. The referenced article at the Wilmington News Journal offers more details:

According to Grim and a short article in the Dec. 14, 1899 Clinton Republican newspaper, the two cannons were “secured to Wilmington” by the courtesy of U.S. Sen. Joseph Foraker, who after serving as Ohio’s governor, served as a senator representing the state from 1897 to 1909. The cannons were mounted in front of the second Clinton County Courthouse, which stood on the corner of Main and South streets until it was demolished in 1919 for the opening of the current courthouse.

The situation was not unique, said Grim, whose organization often deals with similar matters and has had success fighting to keep the cannons in their original locations. His organization is the legal heir to the no longer existing Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), which paid to have the monument erected in the cemetery. By statute, the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War works to protect the GAR’s interests.

“The federal government loaned Civil War cannons to local governments and the GAR for displaying purposes or gave them away outright,” Grim said. “The federal government still has a list of the ones loaned out, but this cannon is not on the loan list. Once they were placed in the cemetery is where it gets tricky because once it is in the cemetery it is a private war memorial, and becomes responsibility the of county commissioners.”

In 1890 the Morris McMillan Post GAR asked the cemetery board to set aside space for a memorial. That memorial was not dedicated until 1927. At that time the cannon were mounted on concrete bases, replacing wooden carriages. Over time, as with many similar memorials around the country, ownership of the memorial and cannons became a matter of question. The article goes on to say that county officials are looking into the matter to determine the legal status of the cannon.

In my opinion, these cannon are part of a memorial. If the cemetery board is unable to maintain the memorial, I’m sure there are veterans and descendant organizations to help out. But above all, it would be a shame for these cannon to end up in some private collection instead of serving at their designated post of honor.

H/T to my buddy Phil.