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As It Was: Vandals Fire Civil War Cannon Downtown

During the Civil War, the Army sent four cannons to Oregon, one of them to Jacksonville.  It never fired in a war, but figured often at Fourth of July celebrations in Jacksonville, Ore., and the Grand Army of the Republic, a fraternal organization of Civil War Veterans, took it to their annual encampments.

In 1904, the veterans held a meeting in Jacksonville. When in the middle of the night residents heard the firing of a cannon, no one thought it anything more than over-boisterous Grand Army of the Republic members.

The next morning, the veterans awoke to a missing canon, and the U.S. Hotel and other downtown buildings had shattered windows. The cannon sat in the middle of the street.  It turned out that jokesters under the unlikely supervision of the Town Marshal had dragged the cannon to the street and fired it, after loading it with six or eight pounds of powder stuffed in socks.

Business people in town were not amused, so one of the cannon vandals paid the hundreds of dollars in damages to door frames, plaster and windows.

Source: "Jacksonville Sensation." Ashland Tidings, 26 Sept. 1904, p. 3.

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Alice Mullaly is a graduate of Oregon State and Stanford University, and taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York; Mill Valley, California; and Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. Alice has been an Southern Oregon Historical Society volunteer for nearly 30 years, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.