Culture

Kasich Administration Quietly Removes Painting of Confederate General from State Park

Photo by Tonya Prater @TheTravelingPraters.com.

A painting of Confederate General John Hunt Morgan was removed from the lodge at Salt Fork State Park, a popular vacation and retreat spot, at the behest of the Ohio Department of National Resources, (trigger warning) the Daily Jeffersonian reports:

Recent controversy over Confederate statues and clashes between white nationalists and those who oppose them has resulted in a painting of Confederate General John Hunt Morgan being taken down at Salt Fork Lodge. During the Civil War, General Morgan led a raid into Ohio, which went through Guernsey County before Morgan and his men were captured near East Liverpool. In the painting, General Morgan is depicted leading his men in battle. Morgan’s Raid has been a part of Guernsey County lore ever since the incidents in July of 1863. The decision to take down the painting came through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

“We decided to take the painting down in light of recent events,” Matt Eiselstein of ODNR said. “The painting, done on canvas, was carefully removed from the wall and is currently being safely stored.”

The painting shows Gen. Morgan, who led a raid through Ohio in 1863, on horseback. Another soldier in the painting is waving a Confederate flag. Morgan and his men were captured near East Liverpool, Ohio, but Morgan escaped and fled Ohio. Local historian Rick Booth wrote:

By early September, 1864, he (Morgan) was leading a force of 1,500 men in the vicinity of Greeneville, Tenn. Underestimating the proximity and danger posed by Union troops nearby, Morgan opted to sleep the night in pampered luxury at a local mansion rather than tent uncomfortably with his men outside the town. When Union commanders chose to march on Greeneville through the night, Morgan’s choice of pleasantries over safety turned fatal. As federal troops approached Greeneville, several reports came in that Morgan was resting in the lightly guarded town mansion. Two cavalry companies were quickly dispatched to rush into the town and surround the mansion with orders to bring back Morgan dead or alive.

General Morgan, loathing the thought of ever spending time in Union captivity again, had promised his wife he would do everything in his power to avoid capture. And so, when confronted by an armed cavalryman demanding his surrender, Morgan chose to run. A shot rang out, and the man who barely a year before had led Confederate forces through Guernsey County’s Cumberland, Senecaville, Lore City, Old Washington, Winterset and Antrim fell dead.

Booth characterized the raid as “an unusual affair, conducted against orders in mid-1863.”

In the wake of the Charlottesville protests, at least two Ohio cities have also removed Confederate memorials.

In Franklin, near Cincinnati, a stone marker commemorating Gen. Robert E. Lee was removed Thursday, and in Worthington, near Columbus, a historic marker outside the former home of a Confederate general was removed.

In July, two lawmakers from Ohio introduced a resolution in an attempt to rid the state of Confederate imagery. Hamilton County Law Library:

Two Ohio lawmakers have introduced a resolution in the Ohio Senate that urges removal of the Confederate flag and Confederate imagery both in other states and in Ohio, the Columbus DispatchreportsSCR 7, sponsored by Charleta Tavares, D-Columbus and Cecil Thomas, D-Cincinnati, condemns displays of the Confederate flag. The resolution urges any state that flies the Confederate flag to stop doing so and to redesign any official flags that contain imagery from the flag. The resolution specifically references South Carolina, which began flying the flag at the state capitol in 1961, according to The Washington Post. The New York Timesreports that the South Carolina Senate voted 37-3 to remove the flag yesterday. The House will also have to approve a measure before the flag will be removed.

Republican state Representative Candice Keller came under fire in the aftermath of the Charlottesville protests for complaining about attempts to remove Confederate memorials. In a Facebook post (that has since been removed), Keller wrote:

There is a statue of Bill Clinton in Arkansas. A man who obviously glorified adultery and perjury. Lenin’s statue stands in Fremont, Washington, a man who killed millions through starvation and cruelty. Clinton/Gore 1992 was advertised on Confederate flags throughout the nation during that election. Martin Luther King was against gay marriage. Will those statues remain standing? I expect those with a discerning spirit to understand what is happening here. Soon, the Citadel will be closed down and the Reagan Library will be trashed. Conservatives have surrendered for so long that now we are paying the price….No more running from the liars and pillagers. It’s our country. We are the ones who can make racists afraid again. They need to live in disgrace because they are disgraceful.

In response to the backlash Keller responded:

I condemn in the strongest of terms the violence in Charlottesville and extend my condolences to the families of those who lost their lives that day, as well as the injured. Racism is certainly a cancer that needs to be eradicated from our society. Without question, the most absolute truth our nation was founded upon is that “all men are created equal.”

Gov. Kasich, along with Ohio Senator Rob Portman, criticized President Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville. “Pathetic, isn’t it?” Kasich said, even before his hosts on NBC’s “Today” asked a question. “To somehow draw some kind of equivalency to somebody else reduces the ability to totally condemn these hate groups,” Kasich added.

PJM reached out to Gov. John Kasich’s office for comment but we have received no response as of this writing.