A slice of history: Old Ninety-Seven


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Mar 16, 2016
A slice of history: Old Ninety-Seven
  • By Rick Just For the Idaho Press
  • Nov 18, 2018
A minor piece of Civil War history rests quietly on the grounds of the Idaho Statehouse. It’s a 42-pound seacoast gun, a cannon used during the Civil War at Vicksburg. The “42-pound” is a reference to the weight of the load, not the weight of the gun, which is cast iron. The cannon was forged in 1857. The number 79 is stamped at the top of the muzzle rim. It has been known as “Old Ninety-Seven.”

In 1942, when the nation was calling on everyone to recycle their metal scrap so it could be used for the war effort, Gov. Chase Clark proposed to scrap the old cannon. He ran into a bit of a buzz saw in the form of a group called the Boise Circle No. 5 of the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR).

The ladies questioned whether the governor even had the authority to scrap the cannon. Mrs. Francis Leonard, who was “instructed to protest for the GAR” according to an article in the Statesman at the time, said, “One of our members, who, in fact, as a small child, sat on Abraham Lincoln’s lap when he was running for President, summed up our position when she declared the governor should also scrap the statue of the late Gov. Frank Steunenberg along with the cannon.” Clark quickly backpedaled and the cannon stayed in place.

Full article can be found here - https://www.idahopress.com/communit...cle_0611b678-df49-5de5-bba1-5ac553b21f39.html


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