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Friday, September 16, 2016

Where did the cannon in the park come from?

“Is that an authentic cannon in the park? Did they use it in the Civil War?”

One of our patrons wanted to know more about the cannon in the Newton Falls Veteran’s Memorial Park. One of our librarians took a picture of the engraved stone sign beside the cannon, and another found a few stories about it in Ella A. Woodward’s History of Newton Falls.

The cannon is not a replica, although the wheel carriage it sits on has been rebuilt several times. It was cast in Pittsburgh and then shipped to Warren via the canal. Woodward writes that Andy Carlisle and Warren Patterson went to pick it up from Warren, and that they fired it several times in excitement on the way back.

The cannon in the park is one half of a set. Both parties had one, the Democrats and the Republicans, and they were said to set them off to celebrate elections. According to lore, the Republican cannon came closest to seeing action in the Civil War. During Morgan’s Raid in the summer of 1863, the citizens of Newton Township heard that General John Hunt Morgan and his men had crossed the Ohio River. They loaded up the cannon and went to protect Warren. By the time they reached Leavittsburg, news came that Morgan had already been defeated, so they turned back toward home.

Where is the Republican cannon now? According to one of Woodward’s stories, it injured two people during a celebration and was never used after that. It was stored for a while at the Butts’ home and seems to have disappeared after being taken in to the blacksmith for repairs.

The Democrat cannon in the park was originally mounted on a carriage. When its first carriage rotted away, it was placed on a cement base. The Jaycees restored the carriage in 1975, and it was rebuilt by the Amvets Post 112 in 2003. The Amvets also provided the engraved stone, which they donated in 2006.

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