Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ollie James Monument

Even though we are a small rural community, we have a very impressive city cemetery, which is Mapleview Cemetery.  Many beautiful carved ornate tombstones are located here.  I've used several different ones in past articles. 

The tallest monument is the cemetery belongs to former U.S. Senator Ollie M. James.  How disappointed he would be today if he knew the shape our county has gotten itself into.

Ollie James was a young, dynamic Democrat that was thought to be the most able and logical man to succeed Woodrow Wilson as the chief executive of this country.  He was considered the party's outstanding orator and many thought him to be the favorite for the Democrat's 1920 presidential nomination.  His death in 1918 at the John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, of a kidney disease, cut short a most brilliant career.  He had just turned 47 on July 27th, 1918.

His wife, Ruth Thomas James, purchased the monument for her deceased husband.

The monument is a gigantic structure of granite, weighing 44,300 pounds.  It is eight and one -half square feet at the base and is thirty-five feet high. 

The monument arrived at Marion on flat train cars at the Marion Depot in July 1920. The City Coal and Transfer company had the contract to move the monument to the cemetery.  The largest of the four sections weighs twelve tons and there was only one chance of obtaining a convey-carrier large enough to handle the enormous load.  This was a log wagon which had been used for moving large boilers.

Part of a speech delivered by Senator James is engraved on the base of the stone:
I shall go forth to take my stand in that great arena and vote the sentiments of Kentuckians; to defend them as I would my honor; to protect their money as I would my own; to reflect their will and do their service; and when I shall come to lay off that great toga, dearer to me than anything Republic, the words, "Well done thou good and faithful servant."

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