Tyler County soldiers are honored
From 1861 to 1865 courageous Tyler County men left their jobs, homes and families to stand up for their beliefs and do their part in the American Civil War. All told, approximately 31,884 soldiers from West Virginia fought for the Union, or the north, with another 18,642 West Virginian’s, choosing to do battle on the side of the Confederates.
From the first battle at Fort Sumter, SC in 1861 until the South surrendered at Appomattox, VA in 1865, Virginians and West Virginians were involved in this war which pitted brother against brother, father against son.
As in all wars, casualty numbers were high in the Civil War. Soldiers were killed and buried on battlegrounds where they fell. Today, many of these battlefields are monuments to the battles and skirmishes fought there.
Other soldiers, some wounded, all weary of war, returned home to live out their lives. Few monuments are dedicated specifically to them, the soldiers.
Sistersville resident, Bob Tippins, is working diligently to rectify this situation, at least, here in Tyler County.
“These soldiers are our veterans, as much as any other veteran that served in any other war, as much as those that are serving in our military today,” he said. “We owe it to them to respect their memories and see that they are not forgotten.”
“West Virginia was born of the Civil War, if it were not for the soldiers that fought in the battles of this war, we would not be.”
Tippins also spearheaded the fundraising behind placing the WWII monument at the Tyler County Courthouse last year, dedicated to the men and women of Tyler County who served in that war.
As for why these monuments are important to him, one only has to hear him speak of the importance of history and the respect he feels those serving in the military deserve.
This time around, Tippins is dedicated to placing a monument to recognize and honor those soldiers serving Tyler County during the War between the States. Specifically, he is committed to preserving the memory of our ancestors.
“We’re asking people to look through their own family histories and see if any of the names of the Civil War soldiers are among them, and donate to make sure their names are on this monument we intend to dedicate on Decoration Day,” he said. “We’ve been working on this awhile and funds are still needed.”
“There are a lot of soldiers who served from Tyler County and I just can’t believe their descendants would not want their names on one of the only monuments dedicated especially to the soldiers in West Virginia. Their lives and their service to their country are important, and they deserve this.”
Since he has been working on this project, Tippins has been publishing a partial list of names of Civil War soldiers in the Tyler Star News, and has received several donations for the monument from Tyler County’s own, far from home.
“People all over the world are reading these articles in the Tyler Star News,” he said. “They are the main ones who are donating, and it’s because the newspaper is getting the message out to them. We’d like the local people to get behind it as well. I just don’t understand why they are not.”
On this monument will be the names of Tyler County men who served in the Civil War, and one woman.
Elizabeth Stidd, of Tyler County, was not permitted to join Union forces here in West Virginia during the war. Records show that she promptly crossed the Ohio River, and joined the 30th Ohio Infantry Regiment, was enlisted and mustered out as a private.
Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 novel, Gone With the Wind, gave us the impression that all women in the Civil War era were like Scarlett O’Hara. But this was far from the truth, for men were not the only ones to bear arms for their country. Women were not only nurses, cooks and laundresses, they also died on battlefields with guns in their hands, were taken prisoner and served their allotted time in the respective armies of the day.
Some disguised themselves in mens clothing and went by masculine names in order to fight for their beliefs. Because of this, it is not known how many women fought in the Civil War, but the number is easily more than 200.
Stidd, however, is the only woman’s name that will be put on the Tyler County Civil War monument because thus far she is the only woman whose name comes up on the roll of veterans from Tyler County in that war. Her name will be there, if Tippins can collect enough funds. “She fought in an Ohio Regiment, but she was one of ours,” he said. “Her name should rightfully be placed there, right along with the men.”
Abraham Lincoln once said, “I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.”
This monument will fulfill both of those wishes of our 16th President.
For more information on the Civil War monument in Tyler County, or to donate funds, contact Bob Tippins at 304-652-1557 or Mary Thomas at 304-758-4552.