General and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant were the guests when the Morrow County Historical Society held its annual banquet and program on Thursday, April 10, at the Trinity United Methodist Church, Mt Gilead.
The General (aka Doug Ebert) shared the biography of his life from the time he was born in 1822 in Point Pleasant, Ohio, through his education and subsequent military career up to the time when he was elected president of the United States.
Ebert’s realistic portrayal of Grant revealed careful research as he traced his education from West Point where he graduated in 1839 ( “I was 21st out of 39 in the class”).
Grant had hoped to serve two years in the military and return to be a math instructor at West Point but the War in Mexico was the “beginning of my military education.”
He married Julie Dent in 1848 and later resigned from the Army. Following business failures both as a farmer, realtor and businessman, Grant then became involved with the Civil War which was breaking out when he turned 40 years old. He worked for the Illinois adjutant and eventually was promoted by President Abraham Lincoln to Brigadier General. He eventually became Supreme Commander of Union Armies.
The Grants had four children. Grant noted at one point after he left the military he had built his wife a cabin called “Hardscrabble.”
The general shared details of many of his battles during the Civil War, relating his association with other generals and military leaders during the course of the battles. He was especially kind in his treatment of General Robert E Lee when the surrender pact was signed.
Ebert’s grasp of detail was appreciated by his audience, several of whom asked follow up questions.
The General was attired in a military uniform and his wife, (Heather) as Mrs. Grant, wore a hoop skirt dress and bonnet styled from that era. The Eberts reside in rural Cardington, Marion County.
During the brief business meeting, Dan Rhodebeck, the society’s secretary, paid tribute to several members who had passed away since the last meeting.
Honored were Karen Fishburn, Faith Creswell, and Emma Denton Burt. Friends of the society who had passed away include Judy Logan Chapman, Ivan Logan, Maynard Holt, and Marie Bush.
Rhodebeck also gave credit to Stan Sipe for being “a tireless researcher,” and to Levi Rhodebeck who printed the tickets for the raffle.
Don Harvey, vice president, announced the slate of officers for the coming year, all of whom were approved. They are Mike Wilson, president; Harvey, vice president; Rhodebeck, secretary; Phylis Miller, treasurer; Mary K Wolfinger, corresponding secretary; Kevin Evans, curator and Rhodebeck, historian.
Named as new trustees for four years were Norman Day, Rhodebeck, Karen McClelland, Estell Stahl and Vinton Morgan. They join current trustees Mike Park, Ed Kline, Janet Rhodebeck, Kelly Lawrence and Myrna Wall.
Ed Kline, a vice president with First Knox Bank, Vickie Sant and Heather Brashaw, employees of the bank, were present and said the ground breaking for the new bank building had taken place that week. Their former building on West High Street has been deeded to the Historical Society. They commented “We hope you enjoy that building as much as we did.”
Gale Martin, Executive director of the Marion Historical Society, spoke briefly to the group.
A review of the year’s past activities at the Cross House included a new roof being placed on it; Christmas open house, and open houses during the corn festival and the Apple Butter festival. The Red Hat Ladies, Cub Scouts and School groups had toured the house.
A display of Civil War artifacts was enjoyed. There were 57 members and guests present.
Rev. Patrick Kelly won the $50 bill in the raffle.
The pork chop dinner was prepared and served by Trinity United Methodist Church women.