BW schools begin Lincolns for Rosecrans drive
By LENNY C. LEPOLA
News Assistant Managing Editor
Most area residents know that Major General William Starke Rosecrans was born in Kingston Township in 1819, attended West Point, and became one of the Civil War’s least understood generals. There’s a marker in Kingston Township recognizing the general’s birthplace, and the Big Walnut Local School District named its new elementary building after the general – General Rosecrans Elementary School, a.k.a. GRE.
Everyone’s also familiar with the effort to erect a bronze equestrian statue of General Rosecrans on historic Sunbury Village Square. Fundraising has been underway for the past two years, there have been major contributors and modest donations along the way to reaching a goal in excess of the $175,000 needed to finish the sculpture, cast the bronze, and have it finished and installed for a September 28 dedication ceremony.
The money is mostly in place, with only a few thousand dollars needed to complete the project; and statue committee members decided what better way to give children in the community ownership of the new landmark sculpture honoring one of their own than ask them to help finish raising the money.
To accomplish that task, on January 7 Big Walnut schools began a Lincolns for Rosecrans fundraising project that will end on February 12, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.
Abraham Lincoln and General Rosecrans have an historical almost, what-if connection that’s not well known. Lincoln sent word to the battlefront asking General Rosecrans to run as his Vice President for Lincoln’s second term. Although Rosecrans telegraphed his consent, Lincoln did not receive it and selected Andrew Johnson, who became president upon Lincoln’s death.
During the Lincolns for Rosecrans fundraising drive school children will learn about Major General William Starke Rosecrans, his life, his education, his contributions to society as an inventor, statesman, and the role he played in the Civil War.
During that same time school children will gather pennies to donate to the General Rosecrans Statue Fund.
“The Lincolns for Rosecrans project began not so much as a fundraiser, but as a way to help educate and generate excitement among our school children about General Rosecrans and the building of a statue to honor this local hero,” said Rosecrans Statue Committee chair Bill Comisford.
At the culmination of the Lincolns for Rosecrans project, the classroom and the school that raised the most pennies will be recognized with a visit from Civil War re-enactors portraying General Rosecrans and President Abraham Lincoln, and will also be recognized at the September statue unveiling ceremony.
Members of the local community who wish to participate in the Lincolns for Rosecrans project may do so by dropping off their pennies and other coins at The Myers Inn Museum between January 7 and February 12.
The Myers Inn Museum is open from 12 noon to 3 p.m. every Thursday, Friday and Sunday, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.
For more information on Lincolns for Rosecrans contact Rosecrans Statue Committee member Sue Comisford at 614–403-4565, click on the Statue button < BigWalnutHistory.org >, or visit The Myers Inn at 45 South Columbus Street facing historic Sunbury Village Square.