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Plans for historic statue causes controversy in Lisbon

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LISBON, Ohio - Usually when a town puts up a statue of one of it's native sons, it's cause for celebration. However, people disagree with plans for a statue of Clement Vallandigham in the heart of Lisbon.

The Lisbon Landmark Foundation, a historic group aimed at preserving the history of Lisbon, hopes to put a statue of Clement Vallandigham in the downtown area.

Co-chair of the foundation, Susan Mowery, said when it comes to the Civil War there are two prominent figures; Abraham Lincoln and Clement Vallandigham.

"As we started to dive into his history, we found out he was a very peaceful person that believed in the state rights and the constitution as it was written," said Mowery.

But the idea of placing a statue of Vallandigham in the heart of Lisbon is causing a stir in the Village. 

Vallandigham was a key leader for the democratic anti-war group, "The Copperheads." As part of the group, Vallandigham opposed the Civil War, seeing slavery as a states choice.

At the time, people living in the village viewed Vallandigham as a traitor.

He has since been recognized by historians as an advocate for the states' right issue.

"A lot of people who have a complained about him don't know his actual history and don't really know what he stood for," said Mowery. " A lot of people, they hear the name "Copperhead" and they think that was a radical group but, they were really a peaceful group and they were for stopping the Civil War."

One complaint questioning whether Vallandigham should be honored with a statue was sent to Senator Joe Schiavoni's office.

Schiavoni explains the issue is not one for the state to become involved, but rather the choice of the village.

"At this point let the folks at Lisbon decide whether or not they want this person to be honored with a statue in their city," Schiavoni said.

Lisbon's City Council had approved plans for the statue back in April, but the Council President admits at the time, he knew very little about Vallandigham's history.

A public hearing will now be held next week to let the community decide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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