Military artifacts include a tent used in the Civil War, uniforms, pistols, muskets, bayonets, rifles, a Civil War cannon and a First World War canister containing the armistice document that put end to the conflict.
A Civil War tent is a rare artifact not found in many museums. It belonged to Ralph and William Hunt, who grew up at Hunt Farm (formerly Simon Kenton Homestead). Ralph was captured at Bull Run in September 1861 and later released. He resumed service and was joined by his brother. After the war, they returned home and stored the tent in the attic of the farmhouse, where it was discovered decades later in immaculate condition.
The gun was captured by the Confederate Army’s 44th Ohio Volunteer Infantry in the Battle of Lewisburg on May 23, 1862. The gun was originally stolen by the Confederates from the U.S. Arsenal in Virginia early in the war.
In 1836, over 600 Conestoga wagons arrived in Clark County with many pioneer families settling there. Twenty-six years before this massive influx, in 1810, a Conestago wagon carrying David Crabill and his family found its way here and this covered wagon is proudly displayed at the Centre.
Other vehicles on display include three International Harvester trucks and a 1973 Travelall, the last year of its production. The Travelall, recognized as a precursor to current SUVs, has a 4-speed manual transmission with a 2-speed case and all-wheel drive.
Photographs of many of these items are featured weekly on the pages of the Springfield News-Sun as part of its commitment to reminding us of our rich heritage. They provide a pictorial taste of how Clark County has evolved since the days of its first settlers.
For a closer look, a visit to the Heritage Center brings you within touching distance of these one-of-a-kind treasures. Volunteers are available to organize tours for individuals and groups. Heritage Center volunteers donated 4,352 hours of their time in 2021, helping the Heritage Center maintain a regular weekly schedule during the COVID outbreak.
The stewards of this great local monument take pride in collecting, protecting, preserving, interpreting and sharing the treasures with us.
We, in turn, should follow the example of the volunteers and support the Heritage Centre. It’s the best deal in Clark County – free to all residents.
Dave Hobson is a retired U.S. Congressman from the 7th District; Jo Blondin is president of Clark State College.