While work progresses on the Civil War memorial at Mooretown on county road 53 just outside of Bergholz, it's gotten a few interesting visitors in recent weeks.
"The timing couldn't have been better as Yellow Creek's newest arrivals have taken up residence," reports Virginia Boyd Glenn, chairwoman of the Mooretown Monument Restoration.
"No one was any more surprised than us when that attention included a pair of mature Bald Eagles soaring overhead. With the coming of the Civil War sesquicentennial April 2011-15, we couldn't ask for a more fitting sentinel than our national bird the Bald Eagle," Glenn said.
The memorial Glenn speaks of was commissioned in 1871 by Robert and Martha George to remember their son Thomas who was killed at Perryville, Ky., on Oct. 8, 1862. Also included on the monument are the names of other Ross Township men and boys who sacrificed their lives during the War of the Rebellion.
"Maybe it was the sight and sound of the Rosebud Mines' D6 bulldozer landscaping the access road to the monument that finally caught the eagles' attention. We have spotted them daily since Ron Warren and Gary Griffith began the new access road that leads to the handicap parking. The best place to see the Eagles is up at the monument itself which overlooks the Yellow Creek Valley and Georges Lake, where the pair of eagles majestically fly, hunt and roost. We have actually sighted a third older more mature lone eagle resting off by itself in the hemlock trees," she said.
I learned a lot when I talked with Virginia Boyd Glenn the other day, including that what was once Mooretown is now called Pravo. OK.
And it's about 3 to 4 miles outside of Bergholz heading east. OK again.
And Glenn is chairwoman of a committee that organized officially in January of this year with the express purpose of restoring the monument that rests on one and one-third acres and was overrun with brush and briars.
Glenn said the restoration project is being undertaken in conjunction with the township trustees - Charles Henry, Dave Ramsey and Phil Jordan - whose interest in restoring this monument coincided with Glenn's intentions to republish "Tales of Yellow Creek" and "Yellow Creek Stories." They were written in the 1940s by Dr. Robert Wilson Schilling, a country doctor who collected stories as he traveled. Glenn would be his great-great-niece.
The works tell tales relating to Yellow Creek in Jefferson County beginning around what is now Bergholz.
Glenn said the trustees have been faithful in trying to maintain the property where the monument is but it's a big job and restoring the monument requires big bucks. She estimated that about $16,000 is needed to clean and seal the stone that's about 21 feet high but originally was 37 feet.
There is some funding from several sources but it falls far short of the goal.
Rosebud Mining Co. has kindly provided a bulldozer and operator to begin work on an upgraded access road and handicap parking, and there has been a nucleus of volunteers among others who have worked at the site, including Glenn and her husband, Curt; her brother, Mike Boyd; Margie and Frank Wade; and Ted George, who is the great-great-great-grandson of Robert and Martha George who commissioned the monument in memory of their son. Dave McElwain also has helped.
"As we make plans for a Memorial Day service in May of 2011, we will hope to have the restoration project complete. We are still seeking funding for the most expensive part of the restoration, which is the cleaning and sealing of the sandstone obelisk itself," Glenn said. "In the spring, as weather permits, we will scrape and paint the steps which are an integral part of the one and one-third acre site. The cannon is now out being sandblasted and painted with plans to remount it on the old name stone left after a restoration from years ago," she said, noting the 4,200-pound cannon that arrived by train required six horses to pull it to the monument site.
Anyone wanting to donate to the project can make a check payable to the Mooretown Monument Fund and send it to Dessie Wade, township clerk, at 128 twp. Road 286, Richmond, Ohio, 43944.