Oliver Perry Morton
Hello. My name is Oliver Hazard Perry Throck Morton. I was born on August 4, 1823 and died on November 1, 1877. I remember April 12, 1861, the day business in the city came to a standstill as word spread that Fort Sumter had surrendered and the nation was at war. I telegraphed President Lincoln, "On behalf of the State of Indiana, I tender to you for the defense of the nation, and to uphold the honor of the government, ten thousand men" and signed, Oliver P. Morton, "Governor of Indiana." By the end of the war, seventy-five percent of our eligible men, nearly two hundred thousand in all enlisted to serve. Of these, twenty five thousand and twenty-eight died.
I am honored to be memorialized in the United States Capitol along with Lewis Wallace in the National Statuary Hall Collection; in front of the Indiana Statehouse; and as part of the Indiana Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument on Monument Circle in Indianapolis. I have no greater honor, however, than to be thought of as "The Soldiers' Friend" and to stand by my men in the little National Cemetery near the Gothic Chapel at Crown Hill Cemetery.
This is the site where in 1868 we celebrated the first Memorial Day, then called Decoration Day, with 10,000 citizens in attendance. This is the site where in 1877 I both spoke to those decorating the graves of our war dead and where I was later laid to rest myself. This is the site where in the mid 1900s the Daughters of the American Revolution commissioned a sculpture to commemorate my work of supplying Indiana soldiers on the Civil War battlefields and slashing red tape to make Indiana troops among the best furnished during the war. (Some think me vigilant and filled with a passion of patriotism; some find me powerful and dictatorial.)
I stand here with my men as an artist sculpted me with receding hair, a moustache, and full beard. I am wearing my nineteenth century attire with a jacket and a bow tie. My white marble bust is mounted on a light grey unpolished granite pedestal with scrolled sides. I fear my raised lettering is fading, however, and I have become disfigured from erosion and surface cracking. Conservationists suggest I require stone consolidation with Silicone resin treatment, cleaning, crack repairs, and caulking. Such restoration could cost $15,000 and the Crown Hill Heritage Foundation might not be able to restore me as they have so many to save.
To this day, we celebrate Memorial Day at this site to honor those who make the ultimate sacrifice for country and I would, therefore, like to shine for our veterans. If you can help restore me, please Donate On-line Now or Print This Page. Thank you. I look forward to seeing you on Memorial Day at Crown Hill Cemetery.