By Tom Emery
CARLINVILLE — After successful efforts to restore two Civil War flags, members of the Macoupin County Civil War Round Table are now working to restore the historic Civil War-era cannon on the grounds of the Macoupin County courthouse.
The cannon, located on the south side of the courthouse block, is a local landmark. A new aluminum carriage will replace the current concrete mount, and the barrel, a six-pounder, will be completely restored.
Four members of the round table are spearheading the effort, including Carlinville businessmen Alan Ashby and Norman Crays, bookstore owner John Alexander of Virden, and farmer Steve Hicks of Roodhouse.
“It’s an important part of the history of Macoupin County,” said Ashby. “I think it’s important to preserve this kind of history for everyone, to show where we came from and why we’re here.”
Recent activities of the group have included a raffle of a replica of a Springfield Heritage revolver. The drawing for the raffle was held on Monday morning, March 21.
Dave Rathgeb of Carlinville was the lucky winner of the revolver, while the second-place prize of $250 went to Carolyn Hankins of Girard. Will Pitchford of Carlinville won the third-place prize of $125.
The cost of the new aluminum carriage is estimated at $15,000, and total costs for the project may reach $25,000. Ashby said that around $7,000 has been raised to date.
This is the third effort of the round table to preserve the area’s Civil War history. In 2012, a successful drive was completed to restore the national colors of the 122nd Illinois Infantry, a regiment composed mostly of Macoupin County men.
Late last year, the round table also wrapped up an effort to restore the regimental colors of the 122nd Illinois. Both flags are now on display in the Macoupin County courthouse.
“We’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to these projects,” said Crays. “The response has kind of overwhelmed us, and we really appreciate the support we’ve had.”
Ashby and Crays would like to learn more of the history of the cannon, such as the date of its original installation on the courthouse grounds. For more information on efforts to restore the cannon or its history, call Crays at 217-854-6706 or Ashby at 217-854-4758.
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