Gallipolis Doughboy Statue
“The Spirit of the American Doughboy” statue was erected in the Gallipolis City Park in 1931. The statue was paid for by the local Women’s Auxiliary post to honor World War I veterans from Gallia County, Ohio. It is one of over 160 “Doughboy” (a nickname for WWI soldiers) statues designed by sculptor Ernest Moore Visquesney.
Backstory and Context
The Doughboy monument in the Gallipolis City Park is not one of a kind. It was produced by the artist Ernest Moore "Dick" Visquesney, a veteran of the Spanish-American War, who came up with the idea in 1918. The first “Spirit of the American Doughboy” statue was erected in Nashville, Georgia in 1922. Before his death in 1946, Visquesney made and sold more than 160 bronze, copper, and stone Doughboys and “Spirit of the American Navy” statues (about 120 survive today). Visquesney called “The Spirit of the American Doughboy” his “greatest and most sincere effort.”
On May 30th, 1931, Gallipolis’s Doughboy statue was dedicated in memory of a young soldier, John Oliver, who was killed in World War I. The Women’s Auxiliary of American Legion Lafayette Post 27 bought the statue and oversaw its installation. The statue stands where Oliver and other members of the Company F, 7th Ohio Volunteer Infantry as well as soldiers from the Civil War trained.
Overall, “The Spirit of the American Doughboy” has fared well in Gallipolis. Annual celebrations on Memorial Day honor Gallia County’s veterans, with a wreath being laid near the Doughboy statue and other markers in the park. After years of facing the elements and occasional vandalism, the Doughboy was restored in 2012. His missing rifle was replaced with a new one made of bronze, and a dry ice sandblasting process restored his finish from green to copper.
Denney, Lauren. Gallia County Doughboy Statue Being Restored. WSAZ. October 03, 2012. Accessed June 13, 2018. http://www.wsaz.com/home/headlines/Gallia-County-Dough-Boy-Statue-being-Restored-172467711.html.