Rosecrans Statue fund almost there: thanks to County Commissioners
By LENNY C. LEPOLA
News Assistant Managing Editor
The Rosecrans Headquarters Unit and members of the Big Walnut Area Historical Society have been working diligently over the past several years to raise enough funds to erect a monumental (larger than life) bronze equestrian statue of Civil War Major General William Starke Rosecrans on Sunbury Village Square.
General Rosecrans was born on Rosecrans Road in Kingston Township in 1819. He graduated from West Point, worked in the Corps of Engineers reinforcing ports on the east coast before teaching at West Point.
He left the military and went into private business as a geologist and architect in Cincinnati. When the Civil War broke out, General Rosecrans reported for duty and ended up leading major union armies to victory.
The one and one-third life-size equestrian statue will not only honor an eastern Delaware County hometown hero, it will provide a monumental work of art for Sunbury Square. The statue, cast by Alan Cottrell of Zanesville, will be mounted on a 50,000-pound granite glacial boulder set in place in July of last year.
There have been major and modest donors to pay for the statue, which will cost in excess of $175,000 to model, cast in bronze, finish and mount on the boulder, but members of the Rosecrans Statue Committee needed those funds in place six months before the September dedication ceremony.
On Thursday, January 10, the Delaware County Commissioners approved a donation that puts the statue fund close to the needed target, with a few promised donations yet to come in.
“The Delaware County Commissioners came through, they’re giving $20,000 to the statue project,” said Rosecrans Statue Fund chair Bill Comisford. “We’re ecstatic with the support our county commissioners have shown for our memorial for Major General William Starke Rosecrans. Our memorial, along with the Ohio Fallen Hero’s Memorial, speaks well for Sunbury and Delaware County, recognizing the contributions and sacrifices our military heroes have made.”
When commissioner Dennis Stapleton stopped at the Myers Inn last Thursday evening to make an official announcement before the statue committee’s meeting, he said the Big Walnut community put forth a great effort in making the Rosecrans statue a reality.
“It’s hard to do something like this in a larger community,” Stapleton said. “In a smaller community like this it’s easier, because people get ownership of it. I also want to say that (former) Commissioner Thompson was instrumental in this. This money would not have been in the budget if it wasn’t for him; but we thought General Rosecrans is such an important part of the history of this part of Delaware County.”
Myers Inn Curator Polly Horn said the statue fund still needs a bit under $14,000, much of it promised; and Big Walnut students are currently raising money through a Lincolns For Rosecrans fundraiser that will give students ownership of the statue as they grow though their lives.
Also as part of the statue fundraising effort, members of the Rosecrans’ Command Headquarters Unit are selling commemorative bricks for the walkway surrounding the statue. To purchase a brick go to < BigWalnutHistory.org >, scroll down and click on Brick.
As an added note: 710 Delaware County soldiers fought in the Civil War. One-third never returned home, another one-third returned home physically and psychologically damaged; and 93 soldiers of the Grand Army of the Republic are buried in Sunbury’s cemetery.
Members of the Rosecrans Statue Committee said the General Rosecrans statue would stand as a constant reminder of those veterans from all wars that fill our cemeteries.
Members of the Rosecrans Statue Committee are Chairperson Bill Comisford, Henry Shaw, Janet Mackenzie, Sue Comisford, Rick Helwig and Polly Horn.
The Delaware County Commissioners are Dennis Stapleton, Ken O’Brien and Gary Merrell.