Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, May 28, 2006, pg. 16
As we observe Memorial Day tomorrow, we are reminded of its origins following the Civil War. General Logan issued an order that the graves of fallen Civil War comrades were to be remembered with flowers and a public ceremony on May 30 of each year. The national organization of Civil War veterans was called the Grand Army of the Republic, or GAR for short. This group was a strong political force in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Albion provided the GAR its National Commander-in-Chief in 1913-14, with none other than the Hon. Washington Gardner (1845-1928).
Albion’s local GAR post No. 210 was organized in December, 1883. It was named after Elliott Woodbridge Hollingsworth (born October, 1823; died April 29, 1881), who was the first local field officer from the War to die in Albion. A native of Youngstown, OH, Elliott spent his young adult years in the warm South. He enlisted in the Mississippi Volunteer Infantry and served with distinction in the Mexican War, under the command of Colonel Jefferson Davis. For those readers who don’t know who Davis was, he later became the president of the Confederate States of America. Elliott was commissioned a 1st Lieutenant, and while serving was severely wounded. At the end of the War he returned home. Elliott subsequently moved north to Albion in the early 1850s and married Clara Gale in 1853. She was the daughter of farm implement manufacturer George Gale. During the 1850s Elliott worked in the Gale hardware here with his in-laws.
The cold Albion winters were not compatible with Elliott, after having lived in the warm Southern climate for many years. He convinced his wife to move back down South, and in the fall of 1860 the couple started the trek towards their destination. On their way Elliott stopped in Youngstown, his hometown. While there he ascertained the deteriorating political situation, and knew that a civil war was coming. Because of that fact, he decided to stick out the winter in Youngstown, instead of completing his journey to the South to live.
When the Civil War broke out in early 1861, Elliott was one of the first to answer “Lincoln’s call” to enlist there in Youngstown. In recognition of his Mexican War accomplishments, E.W. Hollingsworth was made Captain of his Company in the 19th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He re-enlisted at the expiration of his term, and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. Due to failing health he had to leave the service and return to Albion in 1863. He then continued in the hardware business with his in-laws, purchasing the business in 1876 and then going into partnership with Charles Austin and Henry D. Smith at 53 S. Superior St.
Elliott was a well-respected Albion citizen whose Civil War career was not forgotten by our residents. One former soldier stated, “He represented a high type of American citizenship: brave, patriotic, and self-sacrificing for his country’s welfare of that moral character that made him always a gentleman. [He was] thoroughly respected for his virtue and manly attributes.” Another wrote, “He was brave, and thoughtful of his men.”
When he passed away in 1881, a statue was erected at his gravesite. Named “Flora” this goddess was a beautiful landmark in Riverside Cemetery until the head was broken off by vandals in the 1990s. Today, the headless Flora sits on top of the grave of E.W. Hollingsworth-the namesake of Albion’s GAR Post No. 210. Unfortunately, no known photograph of Elliott exists, so this week in our Historical Notebook we present a photograph of the “headless Flora” in Riverside Cemetery. As we remember Memorial Day tomorrow, let us not forget our Civil War veterans who first brought us this national holiday which we still observe today.
The “headless Flora” in Riverside Cemetery
All text copyright, 2016 © all rights reserved Frank Passic