WAVERLY- In its 200-plus years of history, Pike County is home to a governor, millionaires, and war heroes. On Thursday, the latter of which made its way to the county government center in the form of a new oil painting.
Brigadier Gen. Wells S. Jones, Pike County’s only known Civil War general, is the man depicted in the piece where he’s seen leading the charge against the Confederate forces in Atlanta.
Pike County Juvenile Probate Judge Paul Price stopped by varying county offices to demonstrate the piece created by local artist Brad Evans.
“This celebrates the history of one Pike County’s greatest citizens,” he said after giving the Pike County Commissioners a first glance. “He represents our strength and resilience.”
These characteristics were essential for Jones, a practing physician from Jasper, as he participated in the battles of Shiloh, Corinth, Vicksburg, Jackson, Mission Ridge, Resaca, Dallas, Kenesaw Mountain, and Jonesboro.
Jones moved steadily up the ranks after leading his unit in Shiloh, going from a Colonel to General by the end of the war. In Atlanta, he joined Gen. William T. Sherman as they began the 1864 “March to Sea” campaign.
The new installment from Evans could become the third piece featured in Price’s courtroom. Already, the Juvenile Probate court has pieces depicting the former Pike County Courthouse and the Emmitt House.
Still, the artwork could find its way to either the Commissioners’ office or the front lobby of the government center.
On first glance, the viewer sees Jones presented prominently on horseback with his sword pointed forwards towards the Rebels. However, Price said there is more to this piece than meets that first impression.
In front of Jones is a wall that has partially fallen. This is believed to represent the divisions of a war-torn country, where brothers fought against brothers, beginning to be toppled.
The wall’s symbolism does not stop there, where a collection of the stones comes together to form the shape of Pike County. This can be seen in the bottom left of the work, below Jones’ horse and between two Union soldiers.
All of these Union soldiers are part of the 53rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, as depicted by the diamond symbol on their uniform. Pike County soldiers, including Jones, fought in this regiment which included troops from Athens, Gallia, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Ross, Scioto, Washington, and Hamilton, and Preble counties.
“The burning sky is a lot like the beautiful skies we see here in Pike County,” said Price.
According to Wikipedia, Jones attended and graduated from Starling Medical College in Columbus following the war in 1866.
He also married Mary Frances Molineaux Wetmore, and the couple had at least one child together, Mary Kathleen born in 1886. Jones passed away in 1914 and his gravestone can be found at the Evergreen Union Cemetery in Waverly.
Contact Patrick Keck at email@example.com or by phone at 740-947-2149, ext. 300431 and follow him on Twitter @pkeckreporter.