By T.J. Hug
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
Former soldiers were honored at the Fulton County Museum by receiving free entry on Veterans’ Day.
There was much to see, as the county, Wauseon in particular, has a rich history of producing warriors to defend this country and all for which it stands. Dating at least as far back as The Civil War, residents of Wauseon have answered the call to duty.
Four thousand Union Soldiers called Wauseon home at one point or another, and all of their names can be found on the walls of the museum. With a total of fourteen thousand people living in the area during the time period, that’s a sizable portion of the community putting their lives on the line for a just cause, with their names decorating the walls of the museum’s back room.
One of their number was Daniel Clingman. Serving under General Phil Sheridan, Clingman fought with the 195th in the Shenandoah Valley and near the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia.
Clingman joined the Grand Army of the Republic after his brother, Andrew Jackson Clingman, was drafted. Jack, as Andrew was known to family and friends, had other ideas, however.
“I don’t want to be drafted. Let’s volunteer.” Jack was said to have urged his brother.
At the time, draftees who didn’t wish to fight in the war could pay someone to take their place. The two brothers decided to act as substitutes for others. Daniel enlisted in the name of a Defiance family, earning $300 for his service.
While many died in the war, Clingman lived until long after it. Almost ninety years, actually. Upon his death in 1951, the Civil War veteran was 104 years old, making him the last Ohio Union soldier to pass away. Nationally, there were only four or five survivors of the war left.
Fulton County also has a bit of a history regarding the First World War. The museum contains a small replica of “The Doughboy Statue,” with the original located in Swanton. As the only memorial presented to an American town by a foreign government, Swanton received “The Doughboy” from France as a thank you for the proportionately high number of soldiers from there that gave their lives in the country’s defense. Twelve out of 250 Swanton men died in France during the course of the war.
The bronze statue has upon it two plaque inscriptions.
On the top it says, “SWANTON REMEMBERS.”
Beneath it, the second plaque reads, “TO THE MEMORY OF THE VALIANT SONS OF SWANTON AND COMMUNITY. WORLD WAR 1917-1918. THIS MEMORIAL IS LOVINGLY DEDICATED. WE HOLD THEM IN OUR GREATFUL HEARTS WITH REVERENCE AND HONOR FOREVER. ERECTED 1926.”
While it has long been common knowledge that the word GREATFUL is incorrectly spelled, the statue has become such a part of the community that consideration for fixing the error has never been given.
Several other trinkets and stories, many collected by soldiers of foreign wars, lay waiting to be discovered in the Fulton County Museum. All of them make one thing clear; the Veterans of Fulton County are part of a proud and excellent tradition of honor and sacrifice.
T.J. Hug can be reached at