EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was written in response to a reader-submitted question through Open Source, a platform where readers can ask Ashland Source’s newsroom to investigate a question.
ASHLAND — A reader who lived in Ashland from 1955-1965 recently asked us if the cannon and caisson that used to sit outside the Ashland County Court of Common Pleas was still there.
Oh, and a caisson is a wheeled carriage connected to a cannon that carries ammunition, supplies, and sometimes a spare wheel.
The reader who submitted the question said he had been to many Civil War battlefields, and the Ashland cannon is the only one he’d seen that had a caisson.
As for whether or not the cannon and caisson is still there, the short answer is yes.
The cannon and the statue that sits on the courthouse lawn was gifted to Ashland by Mary Freer, wife of businessman Jonas Freer.
It was dedicated on Nov. 15, 1888. Former U.S. president Rutherford B. Hayes gave the principal address at the dedication, according to the “Ashland Postcard History Series” by Christine Hickman.
The inscription on the statue reads: “Erected by Mr. and Mrs. Jonas Freer to the memory of our dead soldiers-1888.” Freer wished to honor the Union soldiers who gave their lives during the Civil War, Hickman wrote.
Ashland’s Freer Field, home of the annual Ashland BalloonFest, is named after the Freer family.