A citizens committee will be formed to explore options for a Confederate monument outside the Clarke County Courthouse in Berryville.

BERRYVILLE — A Clarke County man is asking for a monument honoring Confederate veterans, one that has stood for more than a century, to be removed from the courthouse grounds.

Clarke County Board of Supervisors Chairman David Weiss on Tuesday said the request is a complicated one to consider in response to a controversial issue. He asked the public to give county officials enough time to thoroughly consider the pros and cons of removing the monument before a decision is made.

From 1861 to 1865, the Civil War was fought between northern states and southern ones which had seceded and formed the Confederate States of America. Over the years, Confederate monuments have been removed periodically in response to anti-Confederate sentiments and the Confederacy's support of slavery. There have been renewed efforts in recent weeks as part of the Black Lives Matter movement and the killing of George Floyd, a black man, by a white police officer on May 25 in Minneapolis.

In April, Gov. Ralph Northam signed into law a measure letting local governments decide the fate of Confederate monuments within their jurisdictions. Since then, at least one monument — the "Johnny Reb" statue in downtown Norfolk — has been removed.

Historical records show the monument in front of the Clarke County Courthouse on North Church Street was erected there in July 1900. An inscription reads that the monument was "erected to the memory of the sons of Clarke who gave their lives in defense of the rights of the states and of constitutional government. Fortune denied them success but they achieved imperishable fame." A statue of a soldier is atop the monument.

"It's time to remove the Confederate monument from the courthouse grounds and transition it to a more appropriate location of historical learning," Millwood District resident Ross Oldham told the supervisors Tuesday afternoon. He mentioned the Clarke County Historical Society and the Battle of Berryville grounds as possible places where it could be moved.

"The statue represents a long-lasting sentiment of control and oppression over African-Americans," said Oldham, who is white. "It's a statue that memorializes ... a battle for independence in an effort to maintain the institution of slavery. Its presence at the courthouse (a public building) defies all logic and is morally repugnant."

In Winchester, an online petition was started last week seeking to remove a Confederate statue on the Loudoun Street Mall. The statue is on property owned by Frederick County, but the site, which includes an old courthouse that houses a Civil War museum, has been deeded to the New Market-based Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation for 200 years.

Results of the 1860 Census showed that 47% — almost half — of Clarke County residents at that time were enslaved. Had the Confederacy won the war, who knows how long slavery would have continued, Oldham said.

"Those that fought for the Confederacy were traitors against the United States of America," he continued. "Can you think of any other nation, any other war, where the losers retained so much influence, were able to whitewash history so well, that they could erect a monument at the county courthouse glorifying those that fought and lost" a war to preserve slavery?

"Had we lost the American Revolution," he said, "would the British have allowed the traitorous colonists to erect memorials in front of their courthouses?"

Responding to Oldham's request, Weiss said "the idea of removing things is somewhat autocratic." He called it "Stalinistic," referring to Joseph Stalin, the Communist Party general secretary who led the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s to 1953.

Still, "the board is sensitive to this issue," said Weiss, who represents the Buckmarsh District.

Supervisors are opposed to Confederate ideas and racist attitudes, he said. Recalling the unity rally held in Berryville on Saturday, he said that "it's important for this board to bring forth this community as one" unified group.

"I believe the board will discuss this (issue) in the near future," Weiss said.

"If the community will give us time," supervisors can render a fair decision on the monument's fate, he added.

Oldham spoke during a time allotted during regular monthly supervisors meetings for people to bring up issues not on the agenda for discussion. He was the only speaker.

Weiss said the supervisors usually don't respond directly to public comments. However, he indicated that he felt compelled to speak about the monument issue.

— Contact Mickey Powell at mpowell@winchesterstar.com

(56) comments


Why do we have such weak Government to let History be distroyed?

These statues never hurt anyone but being played upon to get destroyed

and is taking value from other families who served in the war.


Can you show where the history books and papers will be sanitized of all references to the Civil War?

Comment deleted.

I love when anonymous (but invariably white) trolls insist that "the blacks just need to better themselves". Can't wait for you to go down to Kent and Kern with a bullhorn proclaiming that...

Comment deleted.

Ummm...i’m sorry, “search4u”, but what exactly are you talking about? It sounds like an ignorant, racist inference, but i just wanted to make sure before your comment is flagged for removal. And for the record, i do believe it will improve black lives to not have visual reminders all over the place of our racist and bigoted ancestors who fought on the losing side of a war (and of history) to keep black people enslaved in an effort to continue the status quo. The thought of a confederate flag-free NASCAR alone makes me want to rev my engine and head to the racetrack. Oh and heres my idea for you: make some behavioral changes including adding a little culture to your present, and society might just deem that you’re positively normal.

Admiral Emluk of Borbistan

I have seen that if you want to get a LOT of comments, then just mention statues.

Spock Here

When the termination of Aunt Jemima hits the news I imagine the place will explode over the erasure of maple syrup history

Whistle Dixie

Spock, Aunt Jemima syrup has nothing to do with maple syrup. It's a conglomeration of chemicals and HFCS.

Thanks for playing. Better luck next time.

Spock Here

Oh, I agree. I thought some of you guys like "horrid" though, from what I see here


Considering the orginal Aunt Jemima product was a ready-made pancake mix named after a minstrel song, I think the entire ShawFamily has been embarrassed tonight...

Comment deleted.
Spock Here

Back into the woodwork with you for some much needed behavioral changes to your "subculture."

Spock Here

When all else fails, blame communism, instead of answering the question in the article: "Those that fought for the Confederacy were traitors against the United States of America," he continued. "Can you think of any other nation, any other war, where the losers retained so much influence, were able to whitewash history so well, that they could erect a monument at the county courthouse glorifying those that fought and lost" a war to preserve slavery?"

Whistle Dixie

Spock reiterated what Oldham rhetorically questions: "the question in the article: "Those that fought for the Confederacy were traitors against the United States of America," he continued. "Can you think of any other nation, any other war, where the losers retained so much influence, were able to whitewash history so well, that they could erect a monument at the county courthouse glorifying those that fought and lost" a war to preserve slavery?"

** Monuments, museums, music, and art are all INTERPRETATIVE items. As are opinions. Oldham's questions are based upon his personnal opinions and interpretation of what the Confederacy means to him. It's not an uncommon sentiment among those who are not well versed in Civil War and the preceeding events.

** Who knows what events led up to the Civil War? If Oldham knew, he would not have called Confederates "traitors". In fact, there were many Americans, both Northerns and Southerners, who were struggling with the splitting powers of the Federal government and the state governments. Federal authority was being challenged. Advocates of Secession believed it was on Constitutional grounds or revolutionary grounds. The strongest push for State rights in defiance of Federal authority came from Wisconsin. This state invoked the doctrine to oppose slavery rather than to support it. But then Wisconsin challenged the Federal government. In the Ableman v. Booth 1859 case,the US Supreme Court upheld both the constitutionality of the Fugitive Slave Act and the supremacy of the federal government over state governments. The Wisconsin governor then reasserted the sovereignty of his state by using his powers as commander in chief of his state's militia. At that point, he was challenged and warned of committing Treason.

** State Rights were desired by many Americans because they realized even then that the powers of the Federal authorities were too far-reaching. In today's world we need only examine our current events to see that our Nation still struggles with Federal versus State rights.

***As for the concern about "whitewash history" -- Oh, the irony! Look at the current destructive actions taking place: dismantling statues, graffiti-marred buildings and statues, demands to remove or re-interpret historically significant objects or museums, promoting revisionist history books (even being utilized in public schools), ongoing threats to historical re-enactors, censorship across the big-tech platforms, 1st Amendment rights being removed from Conservatives -- each of these issues CONTRIBUTE to whitewashing history.


You're right.

The Confederacy was fighting for States rights. They fought for their State’s right to run their economy as they saw fit. And since the Confederacy was an agrarian based economy, its economic survival was founded on and required enslaved labor. Those in power could have never maintained their economic success without slaves.

The Confederacy fought for a constitutional government. But look no further than the Confederate constitution to see what that constitutional government was founded on. The Confederate constitution explicitly stated that “no bill or law … denying or impairing the right of property in African American slaves shall be passed.”

Whitewashing history is the how and why that monument was erected in the first place. In seeking to remember the fallen Confederate soldiers from Clarke County, it cleverly omits the end goal of the soldiers call to arms and principle reason for the war, the defense of the institution of slavery.

Don't destroy it, move it. As long as the U.S. flag flies on the Clarke County courthouse grounds that statue has no place there. But maybe you never wanted to see that flag flying there either.


Fighting for the states' right to do what?


I oppose removing the statue. It is a reminder of different things for different people. For those that lost relatives in the war it is a fitting tribute. to others it represents other things. We need to look at it as a reminder that we need to have racial equality. Removing it will not change history. The statue is part of our history.


Good post we66 - agreed

Bernie Mac

Black Lives Matter is a leftist organization whose sole intent is the destruction of our constitutional republic. Don't take my word for it. Look it up. Do some research. Or, turn on CNN and remain ignorant.

Spock Here

don't take your word for much of anything, happy to say


Well, Robina, Clarke is changing. Just look at the high school and you'll see that many of the kids have some very different ideas about what parts of history monuments "honor" and what parts should be honored. I'm a parent of one and those kids are going to change Clarke for the better. Also - how is removing a monument "erasing history?" History is never erased--specifically the ugly truth of slavery and the fact that these monuments were erected after reconstruction to reinforce the idea that the South did an honorable thing (because fighting to own another person is so honorable!).

Mr Incredible

I'll bet you just moved here from over the mountain in the last few years, didn't you?


You're not from here, we know that much.


I agree that we should remove all statues honoring Southern Civil War generals and politicians. Slavery was a key reason for the South's secession, and it is past time to allow public advocates or defenders positions of honor in public statuary. They started and/or lead the conduct of a war in which the lives of more young American soldiers were lost than any other conflict in our nation's history.

Old men start wars and young men die in them. Many towns and cities in the north and south decided against honoring Civil War era politicians and generals after the Civil War. Instead they erected statues recognizing the lost sons, brothers. fathers and other relatives who died in that War. The bodies of many foot soldiers were never returned to their homes for burial, and these generic monuments were a way of recognizing lost kin. The names of those lost, which are frequently listed on such memorials, stand as a reminder to all of us of the folly of a war with our countrymen. For that reason these monuments to lost soldiers should be allowed to stand, but plaques on them containing any language that suggest political support for slavery should be removed and replaced with ones that do not contain support for slavery or the Confederacy.


The article was imprecise as to the full name of Mr. Oldham. I have looked up the name in Clarke land records. There is one Oldham who owns a lot in Shenandoah Retreat, but who however, lives in Arlington.

There is another Mr & Mrs Oldham, who live on the Clarke side of Paris mountain, and who purchased their property in June 2018.

The sentiments expressed by Mr. Oldham do NOT represent the feelings of the vast majority of long-standing Clarke County residents.

Tearing down statues and destroying history will do nothing to solve the existing problems.

Spock Here

We're all well aware that "long-standing Clarke County residents" are the only residents you deem "suitable." Moving a statue to a confederate cemetery is appropriate, the only history it represents is Jim Crow


...in your opinion, perhaps. Others do not see it as representing Jim Crow

Mr Incredible

Confirmed, one (probable) liberal who moved here from across the mountain and now wants to change things. Little wonder transplants are held in such contempt

Spock Here

What an incredible idea. I think Clarke is a beautiful place, but I would no more live in it than I would other holdovers to the 19th century, so, Sherlock, wrong. I do know some "transplants" though, both conservative and liberal, and they don't like you either.

Mr Incredible

Then mind your own business and don't worry about what goes on here

Spock Here

I have relatives in Clarke, so don't tell me to "shush" Mr. goon


Mr Incredible, how do we know you're not another carpetbagger?

Whistle Dixie

Daniel Greenfield's article entitled, "Here Are the Heroes Whose Statues Black Lives Matter Has Attacked" explains all that's needed to know about the destructive hate involved with America's statues. (Article at FrontPageMag dot-com)

Today the communists attack statues en masse. Tomorrow the destruction will be buildings, next week it will be homes, then they will come for the people. What is on display is hateful, vengeful anti-American destruction.

Spock Here

Communists? Seriously, you need some better reading material. Is NASCAR made up of commies since they now don't allow the flag of rebellion to be displayed?

Whistle Dixie

I have done plenty of research and anyone else can follow along to learn what the BLM is actually about. (Most people don't believe this racial movement just dynamically occurred in 2 days, by the way. BLM is very well funded and managed through other groups.)

BLM = Communist organization

*** All listed marxist-communists named are involved with BLM from its 2013 online founding: Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi, Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

*** BLM is closely allied with numerous groups that are fronts for the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), a Marxist-Leninist organization that calls for the overthrow of capitalism.

*** Refer to the BLM website and see references to 'comrades', black liberation movement', govt demands of prisoners, promotions of violence, racist ideology, etc.

*** Any donations to BLM are automatically diverted to ACT BLUE (full disclosure prior to donating). ACT BLUE then donates this money to the Democratic Party presidential candidates. (Fact check with the FEC) Rather telling, isn't it?

Doc Samson

When facts are presented, the Left deserts the conversation...


Communist? Can any of the family define that term and how it relates here?

Whistle Dixie

Bryan, Do try to follow the conversation before jumping in. Your irrelevance is worsening.

Mr Incredible

No, but the organization is run by them now. Just like the NFL. Liberals destroy everything they touch

Spock Here

NASCAR is liberal? Who knew


Where did you read that article? I would love to read it. We have to start to stand up to these destructive people. You are correct, next it will be churches, homes, stores, the devil himself is at work. God help us all.

Whistle Dixie

Will -- The article is from FrontPageMag dot-com (Just scroll down until you see the article, then click).


Everyone: "supply a credible source"

The entire ShawFamily: "have an ultraconservative chunk of victimology to make a simple situation seem as radical as possible..."


Remove Weiss because he already made up his mind. He stepped in it.

"Responding to Oldham's request, Weiss said "the idea of removing things is somewhat autocratic." He called it "Stalinistic," referring to Joseph Stalin, the Communist Party general secretary who led the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s to 1953.

Still, "the board is sensitive to this issue," said Weiss, who represents the Buckmarsh District."

Ironic the five board memebers are all white males.

PS I am also a white male who was reluctant to have statues removed in the past. They need to go for all of the reasons stated in the article and many many more.


It’s a race, a competition: which county, Clark or Frederick will be the most racist and keep up their statue of a slave-defending soldier? I would put my money on Frederick.

Clarke County Hokie

Good thing it's not a spelling competition... Clarke is spelled with an "e."


Ha! Sorry. Clarke.


Yet for many years there were historical markers in and around Clarke County that also used the alternative spelling "Clark".


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