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February 26, 2010

Three from Madison on state Civil War panel

Three Madison County men and the pastor of a Berea church have been appointed to the state’s Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission.

The 25-member panel will plan Kentucky’s commemoration of the Civil War’s 150 anniversary.

The four are:

• Robert C. Moody, a retired attorney who was instrumental in purchasing the initial 62 acres that are now part of Battlefield Park

• Dr. Marshall D. Myers, president of the Madison County Civil War Round Table. Myers teaches English at Eastern Kentucky University, where he directs the writing program.

• Phillip Seyfrit, Madison County historic properties director

• Dr. Gerald L. Smith, a University of Kentucky history professor who pastors the Farristown Baptist Church. Smith is one of two members who will represent the Kentucky Historical Society on the commission.

The appointments were made by Gov. Steve Beshear, who came to Battlefield Park in early September to announce creation of the commission by executive order. He also announced a $1 million grant of initial funding for the panel.

The commission will probably conduct its first meeting in March, the governor said then.

“As Gov. Beshear said in September, Kentucky was more divided by the Civil War than any other state,” Seyfrit said. “Members of numerous families in every section of Kentucky chose opposing sides in the war. That included brothers as well as fathers and sons.

“Madison County was a microcosm of the state in the way families, such as the Clays, were divided,” he said. “That division also was evident in the sympathies of citizens in Richmond, the county seat, and in the fledgling community of Berea, founded by abolitionist John G. Fee and his associates.”

Beshear said the sesquicentennial will be a “commemoration and not a celebration, because war is not something we should celebrate.”

The state and nation this month concluded a two-year celebration the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. Seyfrit said the Civil War sesquicentennial likely will start by commemorating the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s election as president in 1860.

Bill Robinson can be reached at or at 624-6622.

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