Sherman's younger brother, Senator John Sherman, was the author of the Sherman Anti-Trust act of 1890 that sought to prevent the formation of monopolies. William T. Sherman would remain the most famous member of the family, however, and is still regarded as one of the most effective generals in US history. Shortly after Sherman died in New York in 1891, members of the Chamber of Commerce raised funds for a monument.
The committee commissioned artist Augustus Saint-Gaudens to create the monument, a selection inspired by the fact that Saint-Gaudens had created a bust of Sherman's head in 1888. This process required Sherman to sit for two hours at a time for a total of over 18 hours. Saint-Gaudens admired the general, and labored heavily over every aspect of the piece. This overwork caused the artist to become ill, which extended the amount of time needed to create the monument. In 1902, the work was complete and the statue was ready for dedication the following year.