County will give ‘Old Joe’ Confederate statue to museum
After taking voluminous public comment on the matter, the County Commission voted late Tuesday night to give the county’s controversial Confederate soldier statue to the Matheson History Museum.
The motion, made by Commissioner Robert Hutchinson, also called for the Matheson to display the monument in its public outside space; use private funding to move, install and maintain it; and the move would only occur after the county engineer approves the tools and techniques planned to move it.
The motion passed 3-2, with Commissioners Lee Pinkoson and Ken Cornell dissenting.
During the meeting Pinkoson said the monument is meant to honor the dead, and while he is not African-American and might not understand the tragedies that the community suffered in the past, he didn’t support moving the statue but would support erecting a plaque at the site that would explain that many touched by the Civil War deserve to be remembered.
Cornell, the first commissioner of the night to speak, suggested creating a truth commission that would explore the issue further.
Hutchinson said the agreement with the Matheson, which has conveyed to the county its willingness to take the statue, would also include language that if something unforeseeable happened to the Matheson, the county would take back the statue. He said if that were to occur, perhaps the statue would be placed in a local veterans park.
County officials don’t know how much it would cost to move the monument.