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Mena Arkansas News covering Polk County and the surrounding area

Civil War historical marker damaged

A record of history was removed from its pillar according to a police report filed last week.

Patrick Costello, who belongs to an organization that assisted with placing the historical marker, saw it down on the way from work and filed a report with the Mena Police Department.

At this time, there is no suspect, but officers said the marker was intentionally removed from the pole to which it was attached.

“It was a metal marker and it was welded to stand, and someone managed to break monument off the stand,” Officer Dalton Myers said. “It was definitely vandalized. “

Shirley Manning, with the Polk County Genealogical Society, said she is bewildered by the situation.

“I can’t understand why people want to destroy things.  This marker honored the men on both sides of the war,” she said. “Our Genealogical Society sponsored this and was responsible for raising the money and placing it. We also held a dedication ceremony. “

The marker resided on the north side of the Mena Depot, visible to travelers.

Manning said that during the war, three-quarters of the population were Confederates and the rest were Union. She said that many Union soldiers from the county have yet to be documented because they enlisted in other areas to keep their neighbors and family from knowing they had signed on with the Union, making tracking them down difficult for historians.

Polk County was the last county in Arkansas to received a marker for the Civil War and was encouraged by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, who began a project several years ago when the state recognized the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Since then, they have put several projects in place, including markers in each county commemorating their place in the Civil War.

The two-sided marker documents events that happened in Polk County from 1861-1864. Other key points include: being the gateway to the Texas & Trans-Mississippi regions; supplying three Confederate units and 73 Union soldiers; the hanging of a Confederate soldier by a mob; the courthouse being burned during the war; foraging by soldiers and Choctaw Indians.

The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program paid for half of the $2,600 marker and the rest was funded by the Polk County Genealogical Society and donations from individuals. Those serving on the committee to secure the marker were Shirley Manning, Harold Coogan, Kathy Adams, Becky Horton, Margo Kimp, Janet Walker, Cortez Copher, Linda Johnson, Paul Berry and Patrick Costello.

Pulse file photo
A historical marker honoring the events that occurred in Polk County during the Civil War was unveiled in April 2016.
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