New Matamoras community proud of its history

I was pleased to see the Throwback Thursday of July 11 in the Marietta Times concerning the Matamoras dedication of our World War I statue. This monument is an iconic image for the town and is the symbol of our Matamoras Area Historical Society of which I am the president. I would like to share additional information on this centerpiece of our local involvement in World War I.

The monument was funded by school children collecting penny donations throughout the area. Minutes of a town council meeting record approval of the placement of the statue. Thus on Decoration Day (as Memorial Day was known earlier) in 1920 its dedication was held. A Memorial Day tribute is still held each year at the monument.

The statue’s doughboy is said to be modeled after one of the soldiers who gave their all and because of this are listed on the stone. That one being Raymond Jones who died on the day the Armistice was declared. The date was Nov. 11, 1918. The only woman on the plaque is Alice Young, a Red Cross nurse, who is now buried in the old section of the Matamoras Cemetery.

A brief history of the schoolhouse in the picture’s background reveals the building was built in 1890-91 by P.Q. Shrave. He was a local contractor who also owned a brick factory in town. At that time the construction price of $7,000 was a gigantic sum, which greatly impressed the public. Plus an additional $3,000 was paid for the property. At the time, it was as modern a school as possible. In 1926, Stover High School in Matamoras opened and received the upper classes. But the “old” building continued to educate the early elementary students until 1960. The Peoples Savings Bank now stands on its site.

John Miller

New Matamoras