Monongalia County War Memorial
Monongalia County War Memorial, 2020
Defenders of the Union
Civil War Monument in Oak Grove Cemetery, 1965
Backstory and Context
By the early 1900s, the passing of Civil War veterans around the country prompted a wave of newly erected Civil War monuments and memorials. In 1904, local Civil War veterans advocated to Monongalia County for the establishment of a war memorial. These veterans belonged to the Morgantown's Hoffman Post of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), the largest national organization for United States Civil War veterans. They hoped such a monument would honor not only Civil War veterans, but also those who served in the more recent Spanish-American Civil War.
The Monongalia County Court appropriated $2,000 to the project, and the stone memorial was constructed by J.E. Watts and Company of Morgantown. It stands in historic Oak Grove Cemetery near downtown Morgantown. Each side of the monument contains inscriptions honoring local citizens' sacrifices in the Civil War, Spanish American War, and World War I (which were added after the monument's erection. In front of the monument, a 12-pound Civil War cannon rests on a pedestal.
The monument was dedicated on Memorial Day, May 24, 1905. Memorial Day in Morgantown drew in many visitors from around the area, including sightseers, Civil War veterans, and National Guard companies from Monongalia and neighboring counties. The centerpiece of the day's activities was the unveiling and dedication of the monument.
1. "Veterans Plead for Dead Heroes." Fairmont West Virginian. June 8, 1904. Chronicling America. Web. Accessed June 3, 2020. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86092557/1904-06-08/ed-1/seq-10/.
2. "Memorial Day in Morgantown." West Virginia Argus [Kingwood, WV]. May 25, 1905. Chronicling America. Web. Accessed June 3, 2020. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86092245/1905-05-25/ed-1/seq-2/.
3. William Fischer, Jr. "Monongalia County War Memorial." The Historical Marker Database. Web. Accessed June 3, 2020. https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=117099.
4. Wolfe, Richard A. West Virginia in the Civil War. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2014.
5. Kasey, Pam. "Our Urban Graveyard." Morgantown Magazine (October/November 2016), 52-53. Web. Accessed June 4, 2020. https://issuu.com/morgantown/docs/mtown_on16.
West Virginia & Regional History Center