IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.

Soldiers' Cenotaph Association

The following newspaper articles were transcribed by S. Ferrall for Clayton Co. IAGenWeb, August 2020

The Board of Directors of the Soldiers' Cenotaph Association met at the residence of Mrs. A.C. Rogers, in Elkader, on Tuesday, May 12th, for the purpose of selecting a site for the monument, and doing any other business which might be brought before the Board.

A motion was made and carried that, providing the land could be procured on such terms as the Board should deem reasonable, that the Cenotaph should be located at a point between the junction of the Monona and McGregor roads, and that of the Garnavillo and Elkader roads to McGregor, near Mr. Lafayette Bigelow's in the South west part of Giard township.

Mrs. Fox, of Garnavillo, and Mrs. White, of Sperry were appointed a committee to ascertain the terms on which the land can be procured, and make a report of the same at the next meeting of the Board; the committee having permission to employ substitutes to do the necessary business for them if they chooose.

The meeting then adjourned to meet at the same place on the first Tuesday of September next.
Mrs. H.M. Blanchard, Pres.
Laura Stewart, Sec'y

~Clayton County Journal, Thurs. May 28, 1863


The Cenotaph Association of this county is still in existence, as we learn, though the Directors are not very prompt in attending the meetings, and in responding to the letters of the President and Secretary. Some of the ladies in the different towns of the county to whom this matter has been entrusted, have evidently neglected it, either from want of interest or carelessness. It is hoped that they, at next meeting of the Association, will be in attendance and help to sustain so praiseworthy an organization. As an appeal will shortly be be published by the President or Secretary, we refrain from further remarks for the present on the matter.
Since the above was put in type, Mrs. Stewart, the Secretary, handed us a letter on this subject, which will be found in another column, and to which we direct attention.

[transcriber's note: The letter from Laura Stewart, secretary of the association, was published in the same issue. Not transcribed in full, it is abstracted below]

Elkader, Nov. 16th, 1863
Mr. Editor
Sir: We often hear the enquiry whether there is anyting being done about the building of the "Soldier's Cenotaph".

-Inauguarating committee met last winter with 7 directors appointed
-First meeting of the directors in February, only 4 directors showed up
-Director's meeting in May, 4 directors were present, the other 3 not having corresponded what-so-ever
-September meeting, nothing accomplished; the land-owner of the designated site never responded to the President's letter asking him to either donate the land or give a price for which it could be bought
-October meeting, no directors from out of town attended, none sent correspondence

Why there is so little interest manifested in this enterprise I am unable to account for. Is not the work a laudable one? The objection which was raised at first, is that the money is all needed to help the sick and wounded soldiers ... it is not the intention of the association to try to raise funds for the building of the monument until after the war is ended.

One would suppose it would be a great satisfaction to thise who have near friends engaged in this fearful struggle for freedom and right, to know that their names will be preserved on monumental record as a memento of their heroism and bravery; and while their bodies shall lie mouldering in a distant soil,, posterity shall bow to the memory of the heroes who so freely gave their lives in the cause of freedom.
Laura Stewart.

~Clayton County Journal, Thurs. November 19, 1863


Dear Journal:
Having seen in a late paper a notice of the Monument erected in Grant county, Wis., to the memory of their brave soldiers who perished in the late war, it seemed to me that something might be done to perpetuate the memory of our fallen heroes. I think it was about four years ago that Judge Price [illegible] a movement, which at one time gave promise of success, and resulted in the organization of the "Clayton Co. Cenotaph Association". Why it failed, I know not, but I know it was argued that all available means were necessary to comfort and sustain our living soldiers then in the field and that when the war was over it would be time enough to agitate the question, but I have seen nothing to indicate that such an enterprise is in contemplation.

The papers of the Clayton Co. C.A. are probably in the hands of the secretary - Mrs. Laura Stewart of Elkader. I think a constitution and by laws were drawn up, and several meetings were held, but am not certain how far matters progressed towards a complete organization.

Shall it be said that as wealthy and prosperous a county as Clayton failed in honoring her illustrious dead? I hope not. We have the means; we have the endergy and why shall we not have the Cenotaph?

I think, at National, where our Fair grounds are located, would be a suitable location for the Monument, as there the people of the county meet once a year to attend our county Fair.

But I leave the subject for abler pens than mine, and I am sure that advocates will not be wanting for so noble a cause.
-A Looker On

~Clayton County Journal, February 20, 1867


Response to "A Looker On"
Ed. Journal
Sir: Your correspondent of last week "A Looker On", says that about four years ago a movement was inaugurated towards the erecting of a Cenotaph, which promised success, &c, and that the papers are probably in the hands of the secretary - all of which is true - and I have often thought during the past year that something ought to be done toward reviving that institution, which was not, as some thought, dead, "but only sleeping". But I hardly knew what to do as the President, whose duty it was to call all meetings, had left the county, but on looking over the constitution I saw that if she failed so to do, a majority of the board of Directors may order a meeting. I have already consulted with a part of the members, and ere this appears in print, I shall have written to the others. As soon as I hear from them and the time is determined upon for a meeting, a notice of the same shall be made public.
Laura Stewart, Secretary of the C.C.S.C.A., Elkader Iowa, Feb. 25th, 1867

[the letter goes on restating much of which had already been stated in the letter from "Looker On"]

~Clayton County Journal, February 27, 1867


Has the Cenotaph movement again received a check? What has become of the excellent suggestions of the old Secretary of the cenotaph association and those of Judge Price? Have they all been made in vain? Shall it really be said of Clayton county in the future as it was once said of Greece, "She honored not her heroes?" The unpleasant quietness just now upon the matter causes us to think that there is an indifference regarding it which should not be. Will not some one keep the ball in motion?

~Clayton County Journal, Wed. March 20, 1867


Mrs. Laura Stewart, the Secretary of the Cenotaph Association, in a communication to the Elkader Journal, requests the Board of Directors to meet at Elkader on Tuesday, May 7th, to set the good work to going.

We "second the motion," while venturing to suggest that the living ones of Clayton County, at present, should be carefully looked after.

Honors to the dead are prompted by noble impulses - bread to the starving - is a little more essential, unless we want a few more dead!

~North Iowa Times, Wednesday, May 1, 1867


Elkader, May 7th, 1867
The Cenotaph Association met at the residence of E.W. Stewart and organized and elected a new Board of Directors, as follows:
Mrs. Helen M. Hutchins of Farmersburg, President
Mrs. Laura Stewart of Elkader, Secretary
Mrs. Julia B. Fox, Garnavillo, Treasurer

Mrs. Eliza Grannis, if Strawberry Pt.
Mrs. H.E. Newell of McGregor
Mrs. John Shaw of Hardin

After which they adjourned to meet at National on the 25th of the present month at 11 o'clock a.m., at the Church, for the purpose of determing the location of the monuent, devising means for raising funds, and doing such other business as may be deemed proper. It is to be hoped there will be a general attendance as now the work if fairly commenced and it must succeed.
Helen M. Hutchins, Pres.
Laura Stewart, Secretary

~Clayton County Journal, May 8, 1867


McGregor, May 20th, 1867
Mr. Editor - Permit me through the columns of the Journal to say a word in relation to the Soldiers Cenotaph of Clayton Co., now under advisement by the Survivors of one of the most infamous Rebellions that ever cursed God's foot stool. To have the names of those Patriots who fell in defense of their country's cause inscribed on something that shall endure whille time shall last, is something to be much desired by all true lovers of Freedom, and the privilege of looking at such an object in Clayton Co. we believe is the desire of every friend of the brave boys who fell in their country's defense.

Now the location is about to be settled, where is the proper place? There will doubtless be a difference of opinion on that, and in order to advance one's huble opinion (which we feel satisfied would suit most of those deeply interested) we would say the county seat is the proper place, the right place, and the place altogether. There, the whole people of the county assemble from time to time, and with pride may look upon the names of dear ones and drop a tear beneath the beautiful spire that shall bear their names, carrying down to future ages the noble deeds and names of heroes worthy to be remembered; like the grand old Turkey which, in imitation thereof ripples its sparkling waters down its winding way, conveying the cooling draughts to other climes. Yes, citizens of old Clayton, miss not the chance of thus manifesting your regard for those who full in freedom's cuse, but lay your foundation wide and stong on some beautiful spot of the Turkey's lawn and you may rest assured the work will go on.

~Clayton County Journal, Wednesday, May 22, 1867


Proceedings of Cenotaph Meeting
Farmersburg, May 25, 1867
The Board of Directors of the Cenotaph Association met at National pursuant to adjournment.

The meeting being called to order, the minutes of the last meeting were read and approved, after which Mrs. Bangeman, of Guttenberg, was elected a member of the Board of Directors, to fill a vacancy, Mrs. Reiss declining to serve.

The next business in order being to determine upon a location for the Cenotaph. A motion was made that it be located on the "Fair Grounds", at National. The motion was carried by an overwhelming majority.

A committee of four gentlemen were appointed to procure the names of the deceased soldiers, from Clayton County, who died while in service during the late war:
Willis Drummond, McGregor
Eliphalet Price, Guttenberg
Capt. T.G. Drips, Clayton
Lieut. G. Cooley, Strawberry Point
The Secretary was instructed to notify each member of the Committee of their appointment.

The following resolutions were made and adopted [excerpted by the transcriber ..sf]

Resolved - The members of the Agricultural Society present be invited to assist in devising a plan for raising funds for the Cenotaph - accepted by the Society

Resolved - the Cenotaph Association is requested to petition the County Board of Supervisors at the June Session, 1867, to make an appropriation to erect a monument in memory of the soldiers from Clayton County who lost their lives while suppressing the Great Rebellion of 1861

The following Committee was apointed, with the request that each canvass their respective townships for the purpose of procuring signers to a petition made to the Board of Supervisors for sufficient money to defray the expense of erecting the Cenotaph. Committee to report to the secretary of the Association in time for the next meeting. Committee members:
Boardman - Buel Knapp
Read - L.R. Gilbert
Mendon - J.H. Merrill
Farmersburg - J.E. Corlett
Garnavillo - G.W. Beach
Jefferson - E. Price
Clayton - J.G. Jerome
Monona - Wm. Scott
Highland - A.P. Cook
Cox Creek - George Peck
Giard - J.W. Kinsley
Cass - G. Cooley
Lodomillo - James Newberry
Millville - Wm. Gilmore
Buena Vista - R. Meuth
Grand Meadow - R. Bettys
Wagner - Wm. P. Eno
Volga - John Garber
Mallory - John H. Bowman
Elk - Philip Fishel
Marion - J.C. Rounds
Sperry - Henry White

The Board adjourned to meet in Elkader, June 4th (Tuesday) at one o'clock p.m. at the residencee of E.W. Stewart
Helen M. Hutchins, President
Laura Stewart, Secretary

~Clayton County Journal, Wednesday, May 29, 1867


[portions excerpted from the full article by the transcriber ..sf]

Garnavillo, July 13, 1867
The Board of Directors of the Cenotaph Association met at the Methodist church. The meeting being called to order, designs for the monument were exhibited. There were some very good ones from James & Brother, of Dubuque; one from the Union Works, of McGregor, by Henry Wood, and several very beautiful ones by Knight & Armstrong, of McGregor. A final decision was defered a short time, thinking perhaps there might be more competition in the work.

Reconsideration of the vote passed at the May 25th meeting, to locate the monument on the Fair Grounds - motion made and carried that the site be 'near' instead of 'on' the Fair Grounds.

Mrs. Eliza Grannis, of Strawberry Point, who never in any way accepted her appointment as a member of the Board of Directors, was removed and Mrs. Capt. Baker, of Volga City was elected to fill the position.

Adjourned, next meeting at the church at National on the 27th instant for the purpose of making a final decision to choose a plan for the monument.
Helen M. Hutchins, President
Laura Stewart, Secretary

~Clayton County Journal, July 24, 1867


July 16, '67
Dear Times - Why do you never mention the "Clayton County Cenotaph Association?" Is it because you think that august body beneath your notice, or do you think it an ignis fatuus or "Will o' the Wisp," only to be found in the imagination of some old lady, deluded and childish? Let me assure you it is neither. It is an incorporated body; and has its regular meetings; and if not conducted in exact accordance with parliamentary rules, it is enough so to make it interesting; and to show that Clayton County is determined not to be outdone in "honoring those brave hearts, who upheld their country's honor, in the strength of manhood's right."

At the last meeting some very beautiful designs were exhibited by Messrs. Armstrong & Knight, of your place; some of which will in all probability grace the spot north of the Fair grounds, at National, which the liberality of the citizens of that place have donated for the Cenotaph. There were also designs exhibited by Edwin Wood of your place; the Directors did not make a decision, but will do so at the next meeting, which takes place at National, July 27th.

Now, Messrs. Times, if you have been at all skeptical on the subject of such an organization, please be present on that day and see for yourself.

The above, from the pen of a Clayton Co. lady, an occasional correspondent, and a most valued friend, might convey the idea that we are opposed to the Cenotaph movement.

We have frequently alluded to the project as a worthy one, but being in the habit of saying about what we think on public questions, though in a less blase way than many writers indulge in, we do think that "honors to the dead," while our towns and cities are filled with the distresses of the living, may well be postponed to a convenient season.

Persons seeking the notoriety which adheres to the works of a "patriotic" order are numerous, pretentious, and, very frequently, cold-hearted -- it takes deep-seated and long-cultivated Charity to relieve those who may be actually benefitted.

You can get up a $12,000 subscription to send H. Ward Beecher to Europe; -- a $50,000 public subscription, or legal appropriation to build a Cenotaph, while the widows and orphans of the "patriot dead" have to demoralize or beg to sustain life.

If we were called upon to erect a tombstone to the memory of a noble soldier, and his destitute family should ask for Flour, our money would go for Flour and other necessities. The flattery of those who are beyond the reach of sympathy is very common with persons who wish to relieve themselves of responsibility to suffering living folks.

"Let the dead bury the dead" was the language of one of the wisest of Earth, and the annointed of Heaven. The expression has a significance which is worthy of more consideration than is commonly given to it. The wearing of mourning is very inappropriate if the expense of it precludes the comfort of the living. Several church orders recommend the abandonment of it entirely.

But the subject is widening to an extent which forbids longer discussion. We all know how much more popular is ostentations, pharisaical Charity than the genuine article recommended by the Saviour of mankind. Generally, the most active workers in causes where Publicity and credited Philanthropy are the motives, are the most ilberal givers to persons whose destitution requires immediate aid.

~North Iowa Times, Wednesday, July 31, 1867


Garnavillo, July 31, 1867
A festival was held in Brigg's Hall last evening by the Cenotaph Association, which was well attended. Admission, 10 cents.

Garnavillo, August 5th, 1867
The festival, given by the citizens of Garnavillo, for the purpose of raising money to aid in building the Cenotaph. As it was not generally known when it was to take place, the attendance was not as large as anticipated, but a splendid time was had. The Fishing Pond, Sybil's Tent and Postoffice, were the main centres of attraction, but judging from the quanitity and quality of Ice Cream and Lemonade sold, they formed a most attractive feature of the occasion. The committee feel much indebted to Prof. Briggs for the use of his fine large Hall; to the young lady who performed the part of Sybil; to Mr. Thomas for ice donated; and to many of our citizens for their liberality and efforts to render the festival pleasant and profitable. The net proceds of the evening were forty-six dollars and twenty-seven cents, which was paid over to the Treasurer of the Association.

~Clayton County Journal, August 7, 1867


The Committee met at Garnavillo on the 10th inst. for the purpose of adopting a plan for the Soldiers' Cenotaph, and to receive bids for building the same.

The competition was between Knight & Armstrong, of McGregor, and Mr. Merrill, of Milwaukee. The design adopted was Merrill's, but Knight & Armstrong have the job of building the Monument, theirs being the lowest bid. They do the work for $10,950.

A committee of three were appointed to make a contract with Knight & Armstrong for doing the work, said committee are E. Price of Guttenberg, Willis Drummond, of McGregor, and Dr. Hamilton, of National.

~Clayton County Journal, Wednesday, August 14, 1867

transcription note:
Throughout the next months, into 1868, editorials and articles were printed in the local papers - pleading for the citizens, county officials and state officials to donate or appropriate money to pay for the Cenotaph Monument. Suggestions for fund-raising were made: lectures on patriotism where people would pay to listen to the speaker; portraits to "grace the parlor wall" of the proposed Monument, be offered for sale; calling upon the patriotic women of the county to help "loosen the purse strings of the 'sterner sex'; festivals as a way to raise funds .....

The Annual meeting of the Clayton County Soldiers' Cenotaph Association was held at Elkader May 5th. The following officers were elected for the ensuing year:
Mrs. H.M. Hutchins, President
Mrs. Laura Stewart, Secretary
Mrs. Julia B. Fox, Treasurer
Mrs. S.T. Woodward
Mrs. J.O. Crosby
Mrs. T.O. Buck
Mrs. Charles Watkins

Resolved - that we deem it expedient to devote the coming season to collecting funds for erecting the monument.
Helen M. Hutchins, President
Laura Stewart, Secretary

~Clayton County Journal, Wednesday, May 13, 1868

transcription note:
Nothing further was found in the Elkader, Garnavillo, McGregor or Guttenburg papers about the Cenotaph Association, and it appears that the cenotaph was never placed "near the fairgrounds in National".

From the "History of Clayton County, Iowa: From the Earliest Historical Times Down to the Present; Vol I, 1916; edited by Realto E. Price, Chapter XII, pg 285:

Soldiers' Monuments - Among the other acts of the supervisors which were of interest was the appointment of T.M. Davidson, J.C. Barnes and B.W. Newberry as a soldiers relief commission. Under this commission the soldiers of the county have been cared for and three monuments have been erected, one at Strawberry Point, one at Monona and one at McGregor, thus carrying out the project of the "cenotaph association" urged by Eliphalet Price more than fifty years ago.


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