published Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Statue of Cleveland's namesake, American Revolutionary War hero Col. Cleveland, to be unveiled on April 19

Phil Newman, left, a member of the Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, helps sculptor Joshua Coleman align a veiled bronze statue of the city's namesake while Danny Coleman lowers the 500-pound creation onto its pedestal in First Street Park in Cleveland, Tenn. The statue will be unveiled on April 19, Patriot's Day.
Phil Newman, left, a member of the Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, helps sculptor Joshua Coleman align a veiled bronze statue of the city's namesake while Danny Coleman lowers the 500-pound creation onto its pedestal in First Street Park in Cleveland, Tenn. The statue will be unveiled on April 19, Patriot's Day.
Photo by Paul Leach.

STATUE UNVEILING

What: Statue of Col. Benjamin Cleveland

Where: First Street Square, Cleveland, Tenn.

When: 10 a.m. April 19

What else: Reception to follow at Museum Center at Five Points, 200 E. Inman St.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — A 500-pound bronze statue of Cleveland's namesake, American Revolutionary War hero Col. Benjamin Cleveland, will be unveiled on Patriot's Day, April 19.

Earlier this week, the covered statue of Cleveland, also known as "Old Round About," was mounted on its pedestal in First Street Square, with his veiled gaze facing toward the Bradley County Courthouse.

"We realized that most people -- children and adults -- didn't know anything about the city's namesake, so we decided to embark on a major program to create a statue of him," said Claude Hardison Jr., president-elect of the Colonel Benjamin Cleveland Chapter of the Tennessee Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.

The statue was cast from a work sculpted by Cleveland artist Joshua Coleman and is the only statue of a Revolutionary War hero erected by a Tennessee SAR chapter.

Cleveland, leading a North Carolinian contingent of patriot militia, gained fame for his victorious role at the Battle of King's Mountain, S.C., on Oct. 7, 1780. The city of Cleveland, Tenn., commemorated the war hero by taking his name in 1838, more than 30 years after his death.

A challenge facing the Colonel Benjamin Chapter was that no known contemporary images of Cleveland exist, said Phil Newman, chairman of the statue committee.

This was overcome through "forensic methods," he said. The statue's face is a composite based on portraits of Cleveland's siblings and pictures of his descendants. The statue's body takes inspiration from physical descriptions of Cleveland, who was a large man by most accounts.

"Described as 6 foot tall and at least 300 pounds, he was an exceptionally large man for his time," Newman said.

Pains were taken to ensure a historically accurate uniform, according to SAR members. The statue points a sword, which represents leadership, and a fox horn, which the colonel reportedly used to signal his men in battle.

Hardison said the Colonel Benjamin Chapter also faced a significant financial hurdle to fund the project. When they embarked on the program in 2008, the group members knew that a good bronze statue probably would cost $50,000. Funding was collected by chapter members, he said. The largest donation received was $5,000.

The Patriot's Day ceremony will dovetail with a Museum Center at Five Points exhibit on Cleveland's life and the founding of the city.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Contact him at paul.leach.press.gmail.com.

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