Restricted A.P. Hill Richmond Monument

Quaama

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 13, 2020
Location
Port Macquarie, Australia
The city of Richmond seems very keen on spending large amounts of money [other, even greater, costs have been mentioned elsewhere on this forum] on removing things without any thought to what the actual occupants of the city want (i.e. the people never voted on it). Court costs concerning the R E Lee Monument alone are sure to be huge. The zeal of leading city administrators even extends to the desecration of A P Hill's grave site. Nothing is sacred to such people.
 

dlofting

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 13, 2013
Location
Vancouver, BC, Canada
The city of Richmond seems very keen on spending large amounts of money [other, even greater, costs have been mentioned elsewhere on this forum] on removing things without any thought to what the actual occupants of the city want (i.e. the people never voted on it). Court costs concerning the R E Lee Monument alone are sure to be huge. The zeal of leading city administrators even extends to the desecration of A P Hill's grave site. Nothing is sacred to such people.
Just need to point out that moving a burial is not in itself desecrating a grave, provided it is done properly and respectfully. I'm sure Hill's remains will be reinterred at another place.
 

Quaama

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 13, 2020
Location
Port Macquarie, Australia
Just need to point out that moving a burial is not in itself desecrating a grave, provided it is done properly and respectfully. I'm sure Hill's remains will be reinterred at another place.

I've seen no evidence of any respect being shown towards the A P Hill Monument. Is so, why was no-one prosecuted over this,
?u=https%3A%2F%2Ftse1.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DOIP.jpg

or this,
?u=https%3A%2F%2Ftse1.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DOIP.jpg

or even this?
409e740cb8586e0c8f67cb823%2Flede.RichmondMayor_773.jpg


And why are so many 'stored' at a sewerage plant?
?u=https%3A%2F%2Ftse1.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DOIP.jpg
 

PapaReb

First Sergeant
Joined
Feb 9, 2020
Location
Arkansas CSA occupied
Just need to point out that moving a burial is not in itself desecrating a grave, provided it is done properly and respectfully. I'm sure Hill's remains will be reinterred at another place.
Even though considered legal I consider most instances of moving a grave are desecration. Moving this grave comes down to the fact that the ones calling for it simply don’t like A.P. Hill and the place he holds in history so I highly doubt that there will be reverence and dignity unless other forces intervene.
 

dlofting

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 13, 2013
Location
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Even though considered legal I consider most instances of moving a grave are desecration. Moving this grave comes down to the fact that the ones calling for it simply don’t like A.P. Hill and the place he holds in history so I highly doubt that there will be reverence and dignity unless other forces intervene.
It's often necessary to move graves, usually those that are in unmarked burial sites that are discovered during excavation for new construction or archaeological investigations that precede construction. This doesn't happen that often in the US or Canada, except for burials of aboriginal peoples. It does happen more often in European countries with a much longer history of burials. In Paris, for example, remains in graves with no identified living descendants are routinely moved to ossuaries to free up space.
 

PapaReb

First Sergeant
Joined
Feb 9, 2020
Location
Arkansas CSA occupied
It's often necessary to move graves, usually those that are in unmarked burial sites that are discovered during excavation for new construction or archaeological investigations that precede construction. This doesn't happen that often in the US or Canada, except for burials of aboriginal peoples. It does happen more often in European countries with a much longer history of burials. In Paris, for example, remains in graves with no identified living descendants are routinely moved to ossuaries to free up space.
I understand those situations....this instance is entirely different.
 

John Winn

Major
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
State of Jefferson
It's often necessary to move graves, usually those that are in unmarked burial sites that are discovered during excavation for new construction or archaeological investigations that precede construction. This doesn't happen that often in the US or Canada, except for burials of aboriginal peoples. It does happen more often in European countries with a much longer history of burials. In Paris, for example, remains in graves with no identified living descendants are routinely moved to ossuaries to free up space.
In France and Germany one has to pay for burial sites; quit paying and they dig you up. And I don't agree that moving Hill is the same as finding unidentified human remains by chance. I'm with @PapaReb .
 
Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Location
mo
In France and Germany one has to pay for burial sites; quit paying and they dig you up. And I don't agree that moving Hill is the same as finding unidentified human remains by chance. I'm with @PapaReb .
Have to agree, it's one thing to move someone arguably out of necessity such as road or something is going there, compared to doing it on a whim.

And frankly when see people in articles on monuments say "why should I have to honor X" as if they falsely somehow had to.

But then go from a monument to an actual gravesite, and its worse then a whim.........as what is it other then to purposely disrespect the dead?
 

Booklady

Sergeant
Joined
Mar 19, 2017
Location
New England
Get your pictures before they are removed. In front of the R E Lee statute in Dallas Lee Park before removal. Park has also been renamedView attachment 401731

Sad.
The reverence that Americans -- not just Southerners -- had for Robert E. Lee is a part of our history, like it or not. Memory holing this is just wrong.

As regards the thread topic, in my opinion if the body of A.P. Hill can be exhumed in a dignified and respectful manner, and relocated to a cemetery with his monument, where they can be preserved for those who wish to view them, it might actually be more respectful to his memory than keeping him on a busy street to be spit on and vandalized.
 

jessicajames

Cadet
Joined
Oct 17, 2009
Location
Gettysburg
http://richmondfreepress.com/news/2021/may/20/plans-move-forward-remove-confederate-gen-p-hill-m/

I plan to be in Richmond this week. I will try to post a photo here of the monument before it is gone.
I heard about the whereabouts of this monument during the CWT presentation on a book on touring Richmond.
I visited Richmond earlier this month to take photos of historic sites -- some of which are already gone. It is a disgrace. I wrote this about just one of the men whose monument they desecrated and then removed.
“Of earthly things, my highest ambition is to live and die as becomes a Virginia gentleman.”

– Joseph Bryan​

Erasing History: An Irreplaceable Loss

The rumble and whine of traffic on I-95 just north of Richmond sounds strangely out of place in the quaint, verdant Emmanuel Church Cemetery, where Virginia native Joseph Bryan is buried.

The land he once lived upon and loved would be unrecognizable to him now. Pastures are now parking lots, and grassy meadows are entombed in concrete and pavement. Only the six feet of solitary turf he lies beneath in eternal slumber remains the same as when his genteel soul left the earth in 1908.

The beloved philanthropist was conveyed to this quiet country churchyard from his nearby home, and rests in a corner that, at the time, overlooked a typical lowland Virginia landscape—the land he loved best.

And so that is the place I decided to begin his story.

The Cemetery

It doesn’t take long to spot the burial place of Mr. Bryan and his family. His in-law’s headstones are the most prominent in the picturesque cemetery, his wife’s father having donated the land and the funds to build the church that was consecrated on July 6, 1860.

Known back then as The Little Church in the Pine Woods because of its location in a grove of pines off Brook Road, the building retains much of its unspoiled character despite the encroachment of “progress” from every direction.

During the War Between the States, the luxuriant land surrounding the church would have been a busy place, as troops from both sides camped on the grounds when traveling on the Brook Turnpike. Fortunately, the religious building weathered the war with only minor vandalism that occurred when northern troops were returning home.

Signs of those times do still exist though. Confederate forces constructed a portion of the city's defenses along Brook Road due to its strategic importance. Those fortifications, which included a series of trenches and earthworks defended by cannon, played a key role in repelling Union General Kilpatrick's attempted raid on Richmond in March of 1864.

But this account isn’t about the War—it’s about Joseph Bryan—though the impact the former had on the latter is certainly significant, especially in terms of present day events.

The Early Years

The eighth child of John Randolph Bryan and Elizabeth Tucker Coalter, Joe Bryan had not yet turned sixteen when the War Between the States began, but, like other boys of his time, he was ready to fight. Unfortunately you could only enter the service before the age of eighteen if you had your parent’s permission—and this he did not have.

At least two of Joe’s brothers had already gone off to war, a circumstance that likely played a role in his father’s decision to keep “little Joe” at home. Nevertheless, Joe began counting the days until his eighteenth birthday.

Right before that magical date of August 13, 1863, Joe took a fall while playing around on a pair of crutches, breaking his arm in a bad way. Set poorly, it did not heal, sidelining him until May of 1864. That’s when he pulled on a new pair of boots and said goodbye to his family.

The young man first joined the Richmond Howitzers, but then fell in with Mosby’s Rangers in October of 1864. He was wounded twice within his first 10 days of service with the 43rd Virginia Cavalry, but returned to action as soon as he healed.

Though fearless on the field of battle, he was also chided for being as “tender-hearted as a woman.” One of Mosby's men related that in the melee of a fight, he saw a fleeing horseman fall under Bryan's pistol. As quickly as the man fell, Bryan threw himself from his horse, lifted up his fallen foe, and said in his impulsive way: "Why didn't you surrender when I ordered you? I didn't want to kill you." Bryan waited to help the wounded man as best he could, then mounted and rejoined his comrades.

After the War

Like other patriotic Virginia men, Joe defended the sacred soil of his homeland, and then returned to his home to pick up his life. Penniless, he went into business purchasing and reselling excess government mules in order to raise enough money to go back to law school. He succeeded and attended the University of Virginia, passing the Virginia Bar examination in 1868. Soon thereafter, he moved to Richmond and married Isobel L. Stewart of Brook Hill in Henrico county

In addition to practicing law, Joe became involved in various commercial and manufacturing enterprises. He was one of the founders and trustees of the Richmond & West Point Terminal Railway and Warehouse Company, and served as president of the Richmond Locomotive Works, a manufacturing company that he formed with his business partner, William R. Trigg. At the turn of the 20th​ Century, this venture employed 3,000 workers to produce locomotives for both domestic and international markets.

Yes. Three thousand workers.

Although successful in his extensive manufacturing ventures, Joseph Bryan is perhaps best known as a newspaper publisher. In 1887, he took the struggling The Daily Times in Richmond and successfully transformed the small local daily into a major Virginia newspaper. Not satisfied with that single venture he eventually merged The Daily Times and its rival paper The Dispatch, to create The Times Dispatch, a form of which remains today.

By all accounts, Joseph was a refined and cultured gentleman who embodied the principles of hard work and an unstoppable entrepreneurial spirit. Through out-of-the-box thinking and bold action, he grew to become one of the most affluent and influential Richmond businessmen of the post-Civil War era.

In a short biography published in 1909, W. Gordon McCabe states: “When we consider the long array of organizations—religious, philanthropic, patriotic, social and economic—in which he was no mere ‘figurehead,’ but an impelling force, it seems incomprehensible how he managed to find time to play the active part he did in so many, and such widely varying, fields of business endeavor.”

In addition to his widespread business associations, Bryan was very active in local charities and foundations as well. McCabe also wrote, “It is said that he gave thousands of dollars to the veterans who were in need and thousands more for churches and schools without distinction to sects.”

It’s clear through these commitments that Bryan’s love of Virginia and her history played as important a role in his life as hard work. He served as an advisor to the Association for the Preservation of Virginia, an organization in which in his wife was president. He was also president of the Virginia Historical Society, and of the Hollywood Memorial Association.

His wife, Belle was no less benevolent. In 1887 she helped found the Richmond Women's Christian Association. In 1890 she opened the Belle Bryan Day Nursery for the children of unwed working mothers, and was named president of the Hollywood Cemetery Memorial Association. She also served as president of the Confederate Memorial Literary Society and president of the newly formed Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities. Additionally, she led the effort to save Jamestown and George Washington's mother's home in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

The Bryans felt that Virginia’s history offered inspiring role models, values and traditions, and they strongly believed that the teachings of the past could guide the future. Yet in all of their generosity and compassion neither of the Bryans sought reward. In fact, Bryan is quoted in his biography as saying: “Of earthly things, my highest ambition is to live and die as becomes a Virginia gentleman.”

In His Memory

When Joseph Bryan passed away in November of 1908, his wife was understandably shaken. She and her sons donated 262 acres of land to the city to be set aside for a “free park for the use and benefit of all its citizens,” to ensure that the wooded hills, streams and lakes would be enjoyed by Richmond citizens in perpetuity.

According to the plaque on the great arched entranceway to the park that still stands today:

“THIS PARK CONTAINING 262 ACRES, PRESENTED TO THE PEOPLE OF RICHMOND AS A MEMORIALL OF JOSEPH BRYAN OF LABURNUM BY MRS. BRYAN AND HER SONS AND ACCEPTED BY THE CITY COUNCIL DECEMBER 20, 1909.”

The bronze plaque on the opposite side reads:

“IN GRATEFUL RECOGNITION OF THE GENEROUS GIFT OF MRS. ISOBEL LAMONT STEWART BRYAN THIS MEMORIAL GATEWAY IS ERECTED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RICHMOND. AD 1912”

Although it is now surrounded by highways and a rail yard, this family-friendly Park has become an oasis for human recreation. It is also the home of more than 170 bird species—quite a record for an urban park located in a very busy metro area. The park offers a diverse range of ecosystems including open areas with trees, streams and ponds, forests and meadows, and a 17-acre azalea garden.

On any given weekend, one can find bird watchers and picknickers, soccer players, hikers, bike riders, joggers, and people who just enjoy being outside. In 2002, Bryan Park was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and continues to serve as a meeting, recreation, and learning center for more than one million visitors each year.

Thankfully, Bryan Park has thus far not been marked for destruction by protestors, the mayor, or Richmond’s city council, even though all other references to him and every other renowned leader of that era have been desecrated—and whenever possible and by whatever means—removed.

Erasing History

McCabe’s biography of Joseph Bryan states, “His services to his city, to his country, and to the state cannot be detailed here...but they will long endure as a great tradition. He was never in public life, nor did he hold any public office of importance. Yet he was reckoned the first citizen not only of Richmond, but of the whole Commonwealth.”

An empty stone pedestal—and soon probably not even that—is all that remains of a tribute to the philanthropist, publisher, and businessman. Placed there in 1919 by those who appreciated the contributions he’d made to the city of Richmond and to the Commonwealth of Virginia, the statue was removed by city workers in July of 2020 by orders of the mayor, and is reportedly stored with others at a local sewer plant until a committee decides its fate.

The Times-Dispatch, the very paper that Bryan created, seemed to hail the removal of their former publisher’s statue as a great triumph, saying in one photo caption about the memorial’s removal ”A Week to Remember in Richmond's Monumental Story.” A separate headline stated, “Crews Wrap Up a Whirlwind Week,” as if destroying historic memorials is something to be celebrated in a civilized society.

This is a far cry from what the paper wrote about the unveiling of the A.P. Hill statue in its May 31, 1892, edition,: “Richmond is a city of memories and it must also be a city of monuments; monuments which entwine our hearts with the past and pledge us to a patriotic future.”

According to McCabe’s account of Joseph Bryan, he was a man who believed that “the true test of civilization is not the census or the size of the cities—no, but the kind of men the country turned out.”

Richmond, it appears, has sadly failed in that test, proving by their actions that they know little of history and nothing of the principles that guided Joseph Bryan. By all accounts, virtue, honor and uncompromising integrity have been replaced by a pettiness and a spitefulness that may forever stain the pages of Richmond’s history.

What the Future Holds.

It is estimated that Richmond has paid more than $1.8 million for the removal of statues that honor the city’s most renowned, successful, and enterprising citizens—every one of which has a story equally as impressive as Joe Bryan’s.

The council has established a committee to decide the future of those stone testaments to time, with an announcement expected the end of June.

Some of those on the committee have already shared their belief that the monuments should not be permitted to be bought by any organization or individual that plans to display them for the education of future generations. They will be giving consideration, however, to an art studio that wishes to smash the memorials into little bits and sell the pieces.

For now at least, the etching in the stone base of Joseph Bryan’s state can still be seen by visitors. It reads:

To exalted citizenship in the private wells of life as illustrated by the life of

JOSEPH BRYAN

This statue is dedicated by the citizens of Richmond

The Character of the Citizen is the Strength of a State

In just a month’s time, the verdict on all of Richmond’s statues will be handed down and the question will be answered: Will the once-charming city of Richmond remain as a treasure to those who cherish history?

Or continue its steady and monumental decline into a place of irreverence, irrelevance, and decay?

-30-

LINKS FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

So far the following Confederate symbols have been removed from the city:

 

VaMtLady

Private
Joined
Sep 17, 2020
I visited Richmond earlier this month to take photos of historic sites -- some of which are already gone. It is a disgrace. I wrote this about just one of the men whose monument they desecrated and then removed.
“Of earthly things, my highest ambition is to live and die as becomes a Virginia gentleman.”

– Joseph Bryan​

Erasing History: An Irreplaceable Loss

The rumble and whine of traffic on I-95 just north of Richmond sounds strangely out of place in the quaint, verdant Emmanuel Church Cemetery, where Virginia native Joseph Bryan is buried.

The land he once lived upon and loved would be unrecognizable to him now. Pastures are now parking lots, and grassy meadows are entombed in concrete and pavement. Only the six feet of solitary turf he lies beneath in eternal slumber remains the same as when his genteel soul left the earth in 1908.

The beloved philanthropist was conveyed to this quiet country churchyard from his nearby home, and rests in a corner that, at the time, overlooked a typical lowland Virginia landscape—the land he loved best.

And so that is the place I decided to begin his story.

The Cemetery

It doesn’t take long to spot the burial place of Mr. Bryan and his family. His in-law’s headstones are the most prominent in the picturesque cemetery, his wife’s father having donated the land and the funds to build the church that was consecrated on July 6, 1860.

Known back then as The Little Church in the Pine Woods because of its location in a grove of pines off Brook Road, the building retains much of its unspoiled character despite the encroachment of “progress” from every direction.

During the War Between the States, the luxuriant land surrounding the church would have been a busy place, as troops from both sides camped on the grounds when traveling on the Brook Turnpike. Fortunately, the religious building weathered the war with only minor vandalism that occurred when northern troops were returning home.

Signs of those times do still exist though. Confederate forces constructed a portion of the city's defenses along Brook Road due to its strategic importance. Those fortifications, which included a series of trenches and earthworks defended by cannon, played a key role in repelling Union General Kilpatrick's attempted raid on Richmond in March of 1864.

But this account isn’t about the War—it’s about Joseph Bryan—though the impact the former had on the latter is certainly significant, especially in terms of present day events.

The Early Years

The eighth child of John Randolph Bryan and Elizabeth Tucker Coalter, Joe Bryan had not yet turned sixteen when the War Between the States began, but, like other boys of his time, he was ready to fight. Unfortunately you could only enter the service before the age of eighteen if you had your parent’s permission—and this he did not have.

At least two of Joe’s brothers had already gone off to war, a circumstance that likely played a role in his father’s decision to keep “little Joe” at home. Nevertheless, Joe began counting the days until his eighteenth birthday.

Right before that magical date of August 13, 1863, Joe took a fall while playing around on a pair of crutches, breaking his arm in a bad way. Set poorly, it did not heal, sidelining him until May of 1864. That’s when he pulled on a new pair of boots and said goodbye to his family.

The young man first joined the Richmond Howitzers, but then fell in with Mosby’s Rangers in October of 1864. He was wounded twice within his first 10 days of service with the 43rd Virginia Cavalry, but returned to action as soon as he healed.

Though fearless on the field of battle, he was also chided for being as “tender-hearted as a woman.” One of Mosby's men related that in the melee of a fight, he saw a fleeing horseman fall under Bryan's pistol. As quickly as the man fell, Bryan threw himself from his horse, lifted up his fallen foe, and said in his impulsive way: "Why didn't you surrender when I ordered you? I didn't want to kill you." Bryan waited to help the wounded man as best he could, then mounted and rejoined his comrades.

After the War

Like other patriotic Virginia men, Joe defended the sacred soil of his homeland, and then returned to his home to pick up his life. Penniless, he went into business purchasing and reselling excess government mules in order to raise enough money to go back to law school. He succeeded and attended the University of Virginia, passing the Virginia Bar examination in 1868. Soon thereafter, he moved to Richmond and married Isobel L. Stewart of Brook Hill in Henrico county

In addition to practicing law, Joe became involved in various commercial and manufacturing enterprises. He was one of the founders and trustees of the Richmond & West Point Terminal Railway and Warehouse Company, and served as president of the Richmond Locomotive Works, a manufacturing company that he formed with his business partner, William R. Trigg. At the turn of the 20th​ Century, this venture employed 3,000 workers to produce locomotives for both domestic and international markets.

Yes. Three thousand workers.

Although successful in his extensive manufacturing ventures, Joseph Bryan is perhaps best known as a newspaper publisher. In 1887, he took the struggling The Daily Times in Richmond and successfully transformed the small local daily into a major Virginia newspaper. Not satisfied with that single venture he eventually merged The Daily Times and its rival paper The Dispatch, to create The Times Dispatch, a form of which remains today.

By all accounts, Joseph was a refined and cultured gentleman who embodied the principles of hard work and an unstoppable entrepreneurial spirit. Through out-of-the-box thinking and bold action, he grew to become one of the most affluent and influential Richmond businessmen of the post-Civil War era.

In a short biography published in 1909, W. Gordon McCabe states: “When we consider the long array of organizations—religious, philanthropic, patriotic, social and economic—in which he was no mere ‘figurehead,’ but an impelling force, it seems incomprehensible how he managed to find time to play the active part he did in so many, and such widely varying, fields of business endeavor.”

In addition to his widespread business associations, Bryan was very active in local charities and foundations as well. McCabe also wrote, “It is said that he gave thousands of dollars to the veterans who were in need and thousands more for churches and schools without distinction to sects.”

It’s clear through these commitments that Bryan’s love of Virginia and her history played as important a role in his life as hard work. He served as an advisor to the Association for the Preservation of Virginia, an organization in which in his wife was president. He was also president of the Virginia Historical Society, and of the Hollywood Memorial Association.

His wife, Belle was no less benevolent. In 1887 she helped found the Richmond Women's Christian Association. In 1890 she opened the Belle Bryan Day Nursery for the children of unwed working mothers, and was named president of the Hollywood Cemetery Memorial Association. She also served as president of the Confederate Memorial Literary Society and president of the newly formed Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities. Additionally, she led the effort to save Jamestown and George Washington's mother's home in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

The Bryans felt that Virginia’s history offered inspiring role models, values and traditions, and they strongly believed that the teachings of the past could guide the future. Yet in all of their generosity and compassion neither of the Bryans sought reward. In fact, Bryan is quoted in his biography as saying: “Of earthly things, my highest ambition is to live and die as becomes a Virginia gentleman.”

In His Memory

When Joseph Bryan passed away in November of 1908, his wife was understandably shaken. She and her sons donated 262 acres of land to the city to be set aside for a “free park for the use and benefit of all its citizens,” to ensure that the wooded hills, streams and lakes would be enjoyed by Richmond citizens in perpetuity.

According to the plaque on the great arched entranceway to the park that still stands today:

“THIS PARK CONTAINING 262 ACRES, PRESENTED TO THE PEOPLE OF RICHMOND AS A MEMORIALL OF JOSEPH BRYAN OF LABURNUM BY MRS. BRYAN AND HER SONS AND ACCEPTED BY THE CITY COUNCIL DECEMBER 20, 1909.”

The bronze plaque on the opposite side reads:

“IN GRATEFUL RECOGNITION OF THE GENEROUS GIFT OF MRS. ISOBEL LAMONT STEWART BRYAN THIS MEMORIAL GATEWAY IS ERECTED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RICHMOND. AD 1912”

Although it is now surrounded by highways and a rail yard, this family-friendly Park has become an oasis for human recreation. It is also the home of more than 170 bird species—quite a record for an urban park located in a very busy metro area. The park offers a diverse range of ecosystems including open areas with trees, streams and ponds, forests and meadows, and a 17-acre azalea garden.

On any given weekend, one can find bird watchers and picknickers, soccer players, hikers, bike riders, joggers, and people who just enjoy being outside. In 2002, Bryan Park was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and continues to serve as a meeting, recreation, and learning center for more than one million visitors each year.

Thankfully, Bryan Park has thus far not been marked for destruction by protestors, the mayor, or Richmond’s city council, even though all other references to him and every other renowned leader of that era have been desecrated—and whenever possible and by whatever means—removed.

Erasing History

McCabe’s biography of Joseph Bryan states, “His services to his city, to his country, and to the state cannot be detailed here...but they will long endure as a great tradition. He was never in public life, nor did he hold any public office of importance. Yet he was reckoned the first citizen not only of Richmond, but of the whole Commonwealth.”

An empty stone pedestal—and soon probably not even that—is all that remains of a tribute to the philanthropist, publisher, and businessman. Placed there in 1919 by those who appreciated the contributions he’d made to the city of Richmond and to the Commonwealth of Virginia, the statue was removed by city workers in July of 2020 by orders of the mayor, and is reportedly stored with others at a local sewer plant until a committee decides its fate.

The Times-Dispatch, the very paper that Bryan created, seemed to hail the removal of their former publisher’s statue as a great triumph, saying in one photo caption about the memorial’s removal ”A Week to Remember in Richmond's Monumental Story.” A separate headline stated, “Crews Wrap Up a Whirlwind Week,” as if destroying historic memorials is something to be celebrated in a civilized society.

This is a far cry from what the paper wrote about the unveiling of the A.P. Hill statue in its May 31, 1892, edition,: “Richmond is a city of memories and it must also be a city of monuments; monuments which entwine our hearts with the past and pledge us to a patriotic future.”

According to McCabe’s account of Joseph Bryan, he was a man who believed that “the true test of civilization is not the census or the size of the cities—no, but the kind of men the country turned out.”

Richmond, it appears, has sadly failed in that test, proving by their actions that they know little of history and nothing of the principles that guided Joseph Bryan. By all accounts, virtue, honor and uncompromising integrity have been replaced by a pettiness and a spitefulness that may forever stain the pages of Richmond’s history.

What the Future Holds.

It is estimated that Richmond has paid more than $1.8 million for the removal of statues that honor the city’s most renowned, successful, and enterprising citizens—every one of which has a story equally as impressive as Joe Bryan’s.

The council has established a committee to decide the future of those stone testaments to time, with an announcement expected the end of June.

Some of those on the committee have already shared their belief that the monuments should not be permitted to be bought by any organization or individual that plans to display them for the education of future generations. They will be giving consideration, however, to an art studio that wishes to smash the memorials into little bits and sell the pieces.

For now at least, the etching in the stone base of Joseph Bryan’s state can still be seen by visitors. It reads:

To exalted citizenship in the private wells of life as illustrated by the life of

JOSEPH BRYAN

This statue is dedicated by the citizens of Richmond

The Character of the Citizen is the Strength of a State

In just a month’s time, the verdict on all of Richmond’s statues will be handed down and the question will be answered: Will the once-charming city of Richmond remain as a treasure to those who cherish history?

Or continue its steady and monumental decline into a place of irreverence, irrelevance, and decay?

-30-

LINKS FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

So far the following Confederate symbols have been removed from the city:

Thank you sharing this. I didn't know who he was. He and his wife did much to be admired.
 
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