Downtown Oberlin Walking Tour
of Civil War Monuments

Oberlin War Memorial

Main Tour

First Church (The Meeting House)

Wilson Bruce Evans House

Chauncey Wack House

Harper's Ferry Memorial

Oberlin-Wellington Rescue Monument

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument

Oberlin War Memorial

Giles Shurtleff Home and Statue

Extended Tour

Courtesy of Oberlin Historical and Improvement Organization and Jonah Volk

Oberlin War Memorial, West Vine Street
Geoffrey Blodgett
Oberlin Architecture, College and Town -- A Guide to its Social History (Oberlin, Ohio: Oberlin College, 1985).

Oberlin’s monument to its war dead dates from 1943, but the longer history of the memorial goes back to the Civil War. The original design, proposed by Professor Charles H. Churchill in 1868, called for a Gothic tower crowned by a small astronomical observatory. College trustees found this plan too costly. The monument completed in 1871 was a similar but less ambitious structure with marble commemorative tablets embedded at the base of a sandstone spire. It stood on college ground at the southeast corner of Professor and West College streets. Its twentieth-century fortunes oddly reflected shifting attitudes toward commemorating war.

By the early 1930s the memorial looked like a crumbling medieval ruin and was nicknamed "the sunken church." Most Civil War veterans had died. Gothic forms had fallen out of style, and patriotic sentiment ran low in the wake of World War I. At the Memorial Day observance of 1934, pacifist college students interrupted the village ceremony by laying anti-war placards ("Schools, Not Battleships," "Transfer All War Funds to Aid of Needy Students") against the monument. A year later it was dismantled and its marble tablets placed in storage.

Then came World War II. Even before Pearl Harbor a drive got underway to build a new memorial at its present location away from the campus, overlooking Plum Creek in Wright Park. William Hoskins Brown designed a simple terraced wall of old brick to hold tablets, including the originals, honoring the Oberlin casualties of all wars since 1861. This was dedicated in 1943.

Over the next three decades the wall began to tilt under the pressure from the embankment behind it. Corrective repairs were attempted after the Korean War. During the Vietnam War a drive to replace the wall with a new design ended in failure. Then in 1979 a city council decision to tear it down mobilized the American Legion post to save it. The restoration project, headed by Carl Breuning, was complete in time for the town’s sesquicentennial celebration of 1983.

The monument remembers 96 casualties (town and college) of the Civil War, 11 townsmen killed in World War I, 16 in World War II, and 2 each in Korea and Vietnam.

The Inscriptions on the tablets and plaques are as follows:

A: To the men of Oberlin who have died in the service of our country.

B: Co. C., 7th OVI [Ohio Volunteer Army, the regiment from Oberlin]

Joseph H. W. Collins

Burford Jenkins

William Parmenter

Arthur C. Danforth

Edward G. Sackett

Orlando H. Worcester

Frederick M. Palmer

Lewis R. Cates

Cyrus P. Hamilton

Daniel S. Judson

Romaine J. Kingsbury

George R. Magary

Charles P. Bowler

James M. Rappleye

Edward P. Shepard

John J. Evers

Edward W. Goodsell

Stephen Kellogg

Harrison Lewis

Lt. Henry W. Lincoln

Harlan B. Cochran

Lt. Isaac G. Jones

H. Dwight Claghorn

Oliver C. Trembly

Capt. O. P. Brockway, 5th USCT

Lt. E. R. Smith, 5th USCT

Charles F. King


Robert Burgett, 8th OVI

Martin Torrence, 8th OVI

William Bartlett, 8th OVI

Nathan H. Whitney, 41st OVI

Benoni B. West, 41st OVI

John C. Lenhart, 41st OVI

George S. Harris, 42nd OVI

Seth J. Porter, 43rd OVI

Gordon H. Porter, 60th OVI

John H. Beam, 60th OVI

Hiram K. Bedortha, 60th OVI

Patrick R. Nohilly, 65th OVI

Samuel M. DeForest, 69th OVI

Willis E. Baldwin, 87th OVI

Daniel S. Munger, 100th OVI

John B. Biddle, 101st OVI

Lucius C. Cole, 124th OVI

Ira Wade, 124th OVI

Henry A. Cowles, 150th OVI

George W. Reamer, 150th OVI

John Beach, 150th OVI

Edward Ells, 150th OVI

John Monroe, 150th OVI

William E. Leach, 150th OVI

Morris Plain, 176th OVI

Nathan Gray, 176th OVI

Alva Peabody, 176th OVI


Theodore A. Tenney, 2nd OVC

Wilson Jeffries, 2nd OVC

John W. Devlin, 1st Colorado C

Elisha Gaskins, 5th Mass. C

Samuel C. Pettifer, 1st OVA

Edmund B. Costa, 1st OVA

Thomas Payl, 1st OVA

James Stone, 1st OVA

Reuben Turner, 3rd USCA

Franklin White, 2nd Mich. Bat.

James Matthews, 5th USCT

Henderson Taborn, 5th USCT

Capt. W. A. Pinney, 27th USCT

Nelson Sawyer, 27th USCT

Isaac Smith, 27th USCT

Scipio Torrence, 27th USCT

George Dudgeon, 27th USCT

Lt. W. P. Michener, 44th USCT

Richard Chambers, 88th USCT

Henry Clarke, 1st NY RI

Francis D. Ingersoll, 116th NY

William W. White

Lt. Sylvester S. Dillman


Alonzo E. Pellett, 1st Kan.

William Black, 54th Mass.

Henry Real, 54th Mass.

Edward Williams, 54th Mass.

William Mitchell, 54th Mass.

Harrison Nichols, 54th Mass.

Oliver B. Ridgeway, 54th Mass.

John Tillman, 55th Mass.

New Year B. Morris, 178th OVI

George Hallauer, 15th KT

Henry A. Brewster

Archibald McArthur

Charles More

Henry Sands

Edward M. West

Capt. William H. Connet

Lt. Herbert Kenaston

F: Esteeming courage to be freedom and freedom to be happiness, do not weigh too nicely the perils of war. -Pericles

G: Our brave volunteers who fell in the war for the Union, 1861-1865.

H: Ringgold, Petersburg, Fort Harrison, Five Forts, Gold Harbor, Okistee, Port Hudson

I: Cross Lanes, Chattanooga, Winchester, Port Republic, Cedar Mountain, Antietam

J: Fredericksburg, Stone River, Gettysburg, Fort Wagner, Chicamauga, Pittsburg Landing

K: There abideth also an unwritten memorial of them graven not on stone but in the hearts of men. -Pericles

L: World War I, 1917-1918

Jacob F. Alderer

Paul E. Surton

Wilfred A. Cobb

Karl W. Locke

Harry E. Mason

Lawrence McCarty

Paul S. Roberts

Thomas J. Quayle

Donald J. Slack

George Stevens

Paul S. Whitehead

M: Korean Conflict
William R. Gaeubau, Willard B. Holmes
Vietnam Conflict
Warren T. Scott, Gene A. White

N: World War II, 1941-1945

Clifton D. Carter

Charles M. Cummings

Ralph V. Dale

Richard S. Dudley

Ralph A. Fowls

Carl F. Gutman

James T. Hall

Clyde A. Justin

Fred W. Kleps, Jr.

Bernard A. Linden

Leo V. McGinty

Jay W. Pycraft

Perry L. Shook

Ferrier H. White

Louis C. Young

Louis Zalka

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