Dedication of the Madonna of the Trail Monument, 1928
- from the Wheeling Daily News, July 7, 1928
5,000 Witness the Dedication of "Madonna of the Trails"
Memorial to Pioneer Women Formally Presented to the City
Local, State and National Officers of D. A. R. Participate
About 5,000 people witnessed the dedication of the "Madonna of the Trails" monument at Wheeling Park Saturday afternoon. Elaborate and impressive ceremonies were carried out in which the statue, "a fitting memorial to the pioneer women," was presented to the city, and accepted as a "worthy gift to be cherished as a zealous treasure."
Local, state and national officers of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the National Old Trails Road association took part in the exercises. Harry F. Truman, president of the National Old Trails Road association, who was in Wheeling Friday evening, expecting to assist in the dedication, was called back to Kansas City, Mo., Saturday morning. He is a judge in an administration court of that place and a call to Wheeling urged his return on an important matter. Frank Davis, secretary of the National Old Trails Road association, who came to Wheeling with Judge Truman, delivered an address in his place.
Rev. John Muyskens, pastor of the First Presbyterian church, pronounced invocation at 2 o'clock. Following the prayer, a salute to the flag was made, led by Mrs. William Henderson Vaught, state regent. Mrs. Charles E. Bates of Wheeling then led the group in singing "The Star Spangled Banner."
Mrs. Brosseau Detained
Mrs. Albert J. Brosseau, president of the National Society D. A. R., was unable to attend the ceremonies, being confined to her home at Washington, D. C., with a sprained ankle. Mrs. John Trigg Moss of St. Louis, Mo., chairman of the National Old Trails Road committee, made a dedicatory address outlining the reasons why the D. A. R. is doing this work and the difficulties encountered and overcome.
Mrs. Moss said, "The Daughters of the American Revolution planned some sort of memorial to be erected on the National highway back in 1911. The plans were slow in progressing and were practically disrupted during the war period.
"It was first planned to erect a marker every mile but the various auto clubs and state road associations put signs on the road and for the Daughters of the American Revolution to erect similar markers would be a foolish act. So the urge to do something in a bigger way was conceived and carried out.
To Erect Others
"Twelve monuments like this one will be put up in each state through which the National highway runs. The memorials will be alike except the base where the four sides will be instcribed [sic] with historical data concerning the state or city in which the monument is erected.
"The D. A. R. in deciding to erect 12 monuments as memorials to pioneer women urged that the statues be erected on sites that will commemorate some historical event or to commemorate some historical happening in that community. The statue is a fitting tribute to the brave pioneer mothers who aided so much in the progress of this country. These brave women backed their men folks through hardships, privations and during hard Indian battles. Without the pioneer women, there would have been no progress in this country.
"The monuments will serve as great national shrines. The beauty of these memorials will add to this country's natural scenic wonders and will remain as lasting memorials."
Miss Moss outlined the program through which the other monuments will be dedicated. The first was dedicated last Wednesday at Springfield, Ohio. The one in Wheeling is the second and the third will not be dedicated until September 17 at Lexington, Mo. Others will be dedicated during the fall and two will be unveiled next April, during the congress of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Mrs. E. F. Hartley was in charge of the unveiling of the monument which was followed by Frank Davis' talk, who substituted for Judge Harry F. Truman.
Davis in Tribute
Mr. Davis said, "While this is a memorial to the pioneer mothers, the project when completed in the 12 states, will also serve as a memorial to the present-day mother typifying the Daughters of the American Revolution."
Mr. Davis pointed out the wonderful work the D. A. R. was doing in erecting twelve beautiful statues in as many states and work required to do such a project. He praised the organization for energy put forth in doing this work. He also related what part the National Old Trails Road association was taking in the project.
"Other roads may branch off the National highway and other roads may be constructed to outrival in size the old trails road, none will have the historic background of the National road. This road was the pathway for the pioneers leading from the east to the west. The historic events that occurred on this road will forever mark it as the most famous road in the country," declared Mr. Davis.
Otto Schenk, president of the Wheeling Park commission, accepted the memorial in behalf of the city, praising the beauty of it and saying it will be a noteworthy addition to historic Wheeling.
Mrs. E. A. Graham accepted the statue for the Wheeling Chapter, D. A. R. Mrs. Charles E. Bates led the group in singing "American the Beautiful," which was followed by benediction by Rev. Paul W. Nesper, pastor of St. James Lutheran church.