When IT director Eric McGowen, Friend Shari and I were on our way up to the Jackson County Courthouse’s bell tower, public works director Don McQuay mentioned something about a figure standing in a dark corner. To be honest, I was more interested in getting up to the dome where the neat stuff was before it got too hot, so I didn’t stop to look at it. (I’ll show you the neat stuff later.)
On the way back down, Don pointed him out again, prompting me to take a closer look. “Know who he is?” Don asked.
Sounded like a trick question to me, so I said, “Not a clue.”
“He’s the Union soldier who used to on the fountain at the Common Pleas Courthouse.” Don said.
A tree limb hit the statue May 12,2003, and broke it into more than 200 pieces. “I picked up most of them in a five-gallon bucket, he said.” At first it looked like the old soldier, erected by the Women’s Relief Corps, and dedicated on Memorial Day 1911, was a goner.
Alan Gibson to the rescue
Alan Gibson, a Dexter sculptor, said he’d try to put the martial Humpty Dumpty back together. Once he did that, he made a mold of the original and recast it with polyester resin and bronze.
Here is a Fred Lynch gallery of photos of the soldier being lifted back up on the fountain.
Shari and I were amazed at the job Gibson did. We couldn’t feel a single joint or seam where the pieces had been put back together.
Tree shadowed statue
When I shot the statue as part of a story on Common Pleas memorials in October 2011, there was a large tree behind the statue. It might have even been the Killer Tree itself (not to be confused with Jackson’s Hanging Tree).
Grounds look naked
When I shot this photo July 13, 2012, the tree was gone, leaving a gap like a missing tooth. You wouldn’t think a missing tree would cause the grounds to feel out of balance, but it did. I guess I just got used to seeing it there even if I never really noticed it until it was gone.
8 Replies to “Civil War Soldier”
Neat story, Ken! I wondered what happened with this statue. My Dexter friend J.D. has shown me much of Alan Gibson’s work. His website at http://alangibsonart.com fails to include the beautiful carousel horses he made for the Carousel restaurant at the race track in Hot Springs.
Good story–Keep us up on other changes in the landscape of Cape
Good story!–I just wanted to add one thing we removed the tree due to the fact that it was dying and did not want to risk a wind or ice storm causing the tree or its branches to fall on the sculpture again. –
Thanks for your work! County Commissioner Jay Purcell
I figured that’s why it was cut down. I noticed it looked like it was dying in the pictures taken over the years. It sure does leave a hole, though.
I truly enjoy my daily or weekly visits back to Cape via your blog.
Its enjoyable to retrace so many stories that we all seem to have a connection to.
Mom still is there, 82 and going well. Dont get back often enough but just as well. She always seems to be off on another VFW Auxiliary adventure. In Reno this week for the National convention.
Thanks for the constant reminders of how great we had it growing up in Cape Girardeau, like Walter Lamkin said, “its where I’m from, I just live somewhere else now.”
How can I get a copy of pictures 2, 3 and 4?
I sent you an email.