On Oct. 14, 1863, the Western Reserve Chronicle reported that a monument would be dedicated at the Bristol Town Park "to the memory of their fallen braves while in the service of their country" in the current Civil War.
The occasion was set for the next day. The dedication announcement was provided by Dr. A.J. Brockett of Bristolville, who credited F.J. Hammond of Bristol as the designer of the monument. It was executed by Myers, Uhl & Company of Cleveland.
Dr. Brockett described the monument as "a work of art unsurpassed in its conception and unexcelled in its execution." He added that the ceremonies would be "grand and imposing."
The week following the dedication, a full description of the event was published in the Western Reserve Chronicle. The text follows:
"The day was pleasant and nothing occurred to mar the interest of the occasion. The exercises of the morning consisted of a tableau, undraping the monument, procession, music by the brass band and glee club. The speakers' stand was tastefully decorated with evergreens and myrtle. The cenotaph was draped with the Star-Spangled Banner, under whose folds the brave soldiers deceased marched to victory and death."The exercises commenced with a procession consisting of thirty-four young ladies dressed in white, with pink scarves and crowned with myrtle, to represent the States, preceded by the Marshals and brass band; they halted in front of the monument, while two of the young ladies removed the flag that enveloped it, and the brass band played a dirge.
''At the same time a tableaux was exhibited, representing the Goddess of Liberty - Justice with scales in her hand - Lady in attitude of prayer - fourteen small boys, with bowed heads, standing beside stacks of arms, to represent the dead. The tableau was very appropriate and the performance creditable to all engaged in it, and touched a chord that vibrated in many hearts.
"Dinner being next in order, the audience adjourned until 1:30 p.m. Refreshments were provided by the ladies, who exerted themselves to furnish a sumptuous repast, for the purpose of obtaining funds to put a railing around the monument and fencing the square. The proceeds of their labors amounted to $120. Their public spirit and patriotism is worthy of all praise.
"The audience convened in the afternoon to listen to an address by the Honorable A.G. Riddle, Congressman from Geauga County. Rev. J. McLane was chosen chairman, C.A. Adams of Warren, and P.W. Gardner of Bristol, secretaries.
"Mr. Riddle's speech was an eloquent and appropriate tribute to the brave soldiers who have fallen in defense of the institutions bequeathed us by our fathers. It is an impossibility to give anything but a brief and imperfect sketch of his masterly effort.
"He said that death was the grandest theme that tongue could dwell upon - that we involuntarily pay homage to the king of terrors, who is the conqueror of us all, and that we could not fail to have our feelings chastened and our thoughts refined by dwelling upon the memory of loved ones who have passed before us to the spirit land.
''The soldier who falls in the defense of his country deserves to be held in affectionate remembrance by his countrymen, for he has touched the extreme limit of human grandeur, and with scarcely less admiration and reverence should we regard the man who had bravely faced the foes of his country, and bears honorable scars received upon the field of conflict.
"He referred to the monument as a fitting memorial to the gallant dead, whose names are indelibly traced upon the memory of their friends, as on the marble tablet, which, while it speaks to the living of their loss, serves to commemorate the heroic deeds of the departed.
"He spoke in high terms of the patriotism of the people in erecting such an appropriate tribute to our fallen soldiers, and said that to be the first to lead off in such an enterprise was an honor to be proud of, and the pale browed student of history would henceforth make his pilgrimages here to behold this tablet which shall perpetuate their names to coming generations.
Mr. Riddle concludes his address by saying he hoped that the people of other towns would follow the patriotism displayed by Bristol's citizens.
A "vote of thanks" was tendered by the audience at the conclusion of his speech.
The Western Reserve Chronicle's article concluded with a description of the monument:
"The monument is about ten feet high and stands upon a mound three feet high in the center of the square. The inscription on it is as follows: 'Erected and dedicated to the memory of our honored dead.' The names of the deceased soldiers are:
Adjt. Charles A. Brooks, d. August 13, 1863, age 20
Calvert C. Miller, d. August 9, 1862, age 23
Henry M. Collar, d. October 8, 1862, age 19
James Sage, Jr., d. December 21, 1862, age 44
Jacob Ryan, d. October 8, 1862, age 25
Charles Munson, d. August 3, 1862, age 25
George Crozier, d. December 28, 1862, age 44
Almanza H. Chaffee, d. June 27, 1862, age 20
Jacob A. Kagy, D. April 6, 1862, age 29
Truman E. Chaffee, d. April 6, 1862, age 18
James B. Thorp, d. May 28, 1862,
James D. Hottel, d. May 23, 1862, age 18
Lester F. Sprague, d. May 12, 1862, age 20
George F. Sprague, d. June 9, 1862, age 18
Underneath are the words 'Defenders of the Union from Bristol, O.'
"The monument has cost about $500, which was raised by subscription among the citizens. The committees, who have given much time and labor to the work, the citizens who have so freely contributed, and the Marshals of the Day, who so efficiently performed their duties, are entitled to thanks of all true patriots."
Statewide recognition of Bristol's Civil War Monument as the first in Ohio culminated with the placement of a State Historical Marker on Memorial Day in 2005. The Marker was sponsored by the Bristol Historical Society, the Bristol Township Trustees, and the Ohio Historical Society.
The full text of the Marker can be viewed when visiting the Bristol Town Park where the 150-year-old Monument still stands today. All State Historical Markers in Trumbull County can be seen on the website www.RemarkableOhio.com
Compiled by members of the CW150 Committee of Warren's Sutliff Museum.