Clark County, Ohio

History and Genealogy



Civil War Spirit


From 20th Century History of Springfield and Clark County, Ohio by Hon. William A. Rockel
Chicago: Biographical Publishing Co., 1908


Generally, upon the dissolution of the Whig party, its members became members of the Republican party. Clark County having been so largely Whig in its political proclivities, it was natural that upon the dissolution of that party its members would follow the same course, or one similar to that which they had heretofore followed, and this was the case. Clark County became as thoroughly Republican as it had been Whig.

Considerable abolitionist feeling prevailed in this part of Ohio. The routes of various "under-ground railroads" were through the territory of this county, and the feeling against slavery was particularly strong. When Fort Sumpter was fired upon, the people arose, we might say en masse, in support of the Union cause. When President Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers, Clark County's quota was filled with extraordinary speed.

A meeting was called at once over which Judge William White presided and the late J. K. Mower officiated as secretary. At this meeting a committee was appointed to report at a subsequent one over which General Mason presided. At this meeting appropriate resolutions were adopted to sustain the government with all the power the people possessed, and during the entire continuation of the war. Perhaps in no place in the union was the spirit of the people more strongly in favor of President Lincoln than with us. However, there was a very respectable opposition, most of whom had voted for Stephen A. Douglas in 1860. Neither Breckenridge nor Bell received much of a vote in the county. Some of this opposition was composed of Democrats who had been in that party a long time. There were some of the Whigs who did not follow the majority of that party into the Republican party, but who, by reason probably of sympathy with the states from which they had emigrated, became members of the Democratic party. The Democratic party comprised a membership of divergent elements, some of which were not entirely free from sympathy for the cause of the confederacy. This feeling was more or less strong in the townships of German, Pike and Mad River.

The spirit of the times was such that the majority would hardly grant the minority the right to express their own convictions or manifest their feelings on any matter in opposition to the Republican party without accusing the person manifesting such independence of being a "rebel" or a "Confederate sympathizer."

Vallandingham's arrest and subsequent deportment to Canada aroused considerable sympathy for him, although conceded that his actions were not politic nor such as would have been advisable in one who was in thorough sympathy with the Union cause. It was a time when men's feelings were appealed to more often than their judgment. Many Democrats became Union soldiers, serving in various capacities with abilities and patriotism excelled by none.







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