This blog started out to be another chapter of Ancestor Birthday Celebrations, in remembrance of my great grandmother Lorena Estelle Eley Norsworthy Dews Harlow Lenahan Collins. As I was contemplating what I might write, my mind wandered off to points here and there, but, mostly to the Civil War Monument here in the Franklin Cemetery, Lenawee County. At some point, I realized that Lorena was born on the very day this monument was originally dedicated, July 4, 1866. Mind you, Lorena was born in Zuni, Isle of Wight County, Virginia, about 700 miles from Franklin.
Ever since we moved to Lenawee, in 1995, I have had an extremely strong but unexplained attachment to the Civil War Monument in the Franklin Cemetery. To my knowledge, I am not related to anyone in Lenawee County, now or in the past. I am a southern born gal who was raised and lived in the north for all but a few of her years here on this good earth. I have no Union soldiers in my heritage, Man does, I do not.
This monument is said to be the 1st or 2nd monument in Michigan, and maybe in the United States, dedicated after the conflict ended, paid for by popular subscription, dedicated July 4, 1866. That date always startles me, as it is 1 year, 2 months and 15 days after Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox on April 19, 1865, and 1 year 1 month and 30 days after the last meeting of the Confederate Cabinet (Washington, Georgia, May 5, 1865). That does not seem like a lot of time to bring the boys home, start a project to design, finance, produce and raise a monument. I believe the monument is over 30 foot tall, it is made of sandstone, original cost was $1,500.00.
Imagine my surprise when one day in 2005 I made a visit to the cemetery and found the monument MIA. All I could find was the base. I hoped that it was being repaired, but had heard nothing about it, no one I asked seemed to know much about it. (Must not have asked the right people! LOL)
By early summer 2006, the monument was BACK! I was delighted, it had been cleaned with Clorox and buffing stones, refurbished, the names re-inscribed. It was beautiful! On July 4, they had a re-dedication ceremony with local dignitaries, Civil War Reenactors, even Abe Lincoln attended.
July 4th really is a very special day, for me it means more than our Independence Day, it is Lorena’s birthday and the day we celebrate the dedication and re-dedication of the Franklin Civil War Monument. And, now that I have tied Lorena and the Monument’s dates together, I shall never drive past the cemetery without thinking of her.
*Photos: Top, Lorena and Moi, about 2 months before she died.
Middle: July 4, 2006, Re-dedication of the Franklin Civil War Monument
Bottom: New Tablet at the Monument.