BERRYVILLE — Eight people will serve on a committee that will determine and explore options for a Confederate monument at the Clarke County Courthouse.

The Clarke County Board of Supervisors formed the committee Tuesday afternoon.

John Staelin will be the committee’s chairman. Also serving on the committee will be Gwendolyn Malone, Bob Stieg, Will Nelson, Meg Roque, Lee McGuigan, Daniel Nelson and John Burns.

Supervisors sought people to serve on the committee largely through word of mouth and then interviewed ones who expressed interest, board Chairman David Weiss said.

“We tried to find a cross-section of the community,” said Weiss, who represents the Buckmarsh District. The people selected are open-minded, he said, “and are interested in bringing the community together” to find a solution to the monument dilemma.

As a former Millwood District supervisor, Staelin “has a history of working with people very well” to resolve issues, Weiss said.

He mentioned that Stieg, who is CEO of The Clermont Foundation in Berryville, has an extensive knowledge of local history, and Burns is secretary of the Josephine School Community Museum and Clarke County African-American Cultural Center board.

“The other people are known very well” within the community, added Weiss.

Erected in 1900, the monument — called “Appomattox” — stands in front of the courthouse on North Church Street in downtown Berryville. It depicts an unnamed Confederate soldier.

In June, county resident Ross Oldham told the supervisors the monument is a painful reminder of the South’s support for slavery. He asked the county to move the monument to “a more appropriate location of historical learning,” such as the Clarke County Historical Society or the Battle of Berryville site.

But that idea has proven easier said than done.

Robert Mitchell, the county’s part-time attorney, determined the county cannot legally move the monument because it doesn’t own a small piece of land outside the courthouse on which the memorial sits. Research revealed that the monument is on a small parcel technically owned by the Association of the Survivors of the Clarke Cavalry (ASCC). Records show the association disbanded long ago, having apparently held its last annual meeting in 1918.

Two years earlier, the ASCC asked the Stonewall United Daughters of the Confederacy to take responsibility for the monument when the association ceased to exist. But the latter organization disbanded in 1932.

The county’s unique problem, according to Mitchell, stems from the parcel having been titled to the incorporated association rather than its individual members. So descendants of the ASCC’s members technically own the property now, and nobody knows who or where they are — and whether any remain alive.

County officials say they’ve heard many comments both for and against keeping the monument where it is.

Weiss and County Administrator Chris Boies said they don’t know when the committee will hold its first meeting. They said it probably will be early next year.

“We want citizens to come and be able to listen,” Weiss said, noting that meetings will be open to the public. However, officials want to see how the COVID-19 pandemic evolves so as to not possibly jeopardize anyone’s health, he said.

— Contact Mickey Powell at mpowell@winchesterstar.com

(18) comments

Journey2goremtns1

"In June, county resident Ross Oldham told the supervisors the monument is a painful reminder of the South’s support for slavery." Bul& Shi#! Any wonder why this country is divided and growing wider by the day. If Confederate statues bother you MOVE to New York, Washington DC or California where you can walk in peace! Oh, watch out for the discarded needles and human feces!

john brown

Why should I have to move when my ancestor were here longer than yours..you move to a red state like mississippi for lower wages, healthcare, education, roads etc etc etc

Bryan.the.Nuri

Something tells me you have never journeyed past the borders of Frederick County...

Catherine Giovannoni

Glad to see that a representative group has been formed. Surely there are many inspirational choices that can be identified. Time to let the Confederacy, which was made up of people who declared war on the United States of America, drift into the ignominy it deserves. We don't need statues to traitors.

slowe

The county should condemn the parcel and claim back ownership of it, Then more the offending statue to a cemetery somewhere. Bury it face down with a tombstone saying:

“ Here lies a monument to the traitors to the Union, the racist defenders of slavery, and the Lost Cause. May they never rise again. “

Blondie

slowe, why don't you crawl back under the rock from which you came.

john brown

Truth hurts some people. No country honors it traitors or slaveholders. No country.

Conservative

Egypt. Pyramids. Built by slaves for their deceased owners, the Pharaohs. But then again, LesLIE, we know you knew that.

Catherine Giovannoni

[thumbup]

john brown

we are talking traitorous slave holders here confed, I mean conservative< whatever that means anymore. I don't think history shows the builders of the pyramids were traitors to Egypt

john brown

Here, here! Mr Lowe.. well put Sir.

Conservative

Stay in DC and mind your own business.

StellaBob

Yeah SLOWE! Mind your own non racist business, let blond redneck and kkconservative have their racism i mean history lol

Conservative

I see we have another parental basement dweller in our midst. Calling someone a racist just means you have no valid counterpoint, so you resort to a trigger without facts.

john brown

no, sometimes calling someone a racist means they have shown themselves through their actions and writings to be a racist. there are a number of you on this forum conservative, whatever that means anymore

Catherine Giovannoni

[thumbup]

StellaBob

Calling a racist, a racist, does not mean that I have no valid counterpoint....it just means you are a racist pig.

john brown

Check and mate!

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