27 May 2010 by Published in: Battlefield preservation 13 comments

“It gets curiouser and curiouser,” Alice said to the Cheshire Cat.

The mystery of Headless and Handless Uncle Billy gets curiouser and curiouser.

Last night, I mentioned that one of the attorneys in my office is a lifelong resident of Pickerington, where the monument is located. So, too, is his father, who is in his 70’s. Rick asked his father about it last night. It turns out that before the shopping center was built in the 1980’s, Rick’s father farmed that precise ground. He has never seen Headless Billy, even to this day. One would think that a farmer on a tractor would notice a white monument on a pedestal in the middle of a farm field, so it’s a reasonable assumption that Headless Billy was moved to his present location after the shopping center was built sometime between 1980 and 1985.

Also, when Mike Peters was investigating Headless Billy yesterday, he found a link on a website that indicates that Headless Billy was auctioned off in 2008 for the sum of $2500.00. I had no idea that things like monuments are auctioned off, but apparently they are.

So, the mysteries now are: who actually owns Headless Billy, and where was he located before he took up residence at the shopping center. Unravelling those two questions may prove to be a real challenge. We remain dedicated to the idea of both restoring Headless Billy’s head and hand, but also to relocating him to a place where he can be seen and appreciated.

And so, it gets curiouser and curiouser.

Scridb filter


  1. Chris Evans
    Thu 27th May 2010 at 9:22 pm

    Very interesting. Looking forward to future posts on this.

  2. Thu 27th May 2010 at 10:42 pm

    My first step would be to find out who owns the land upon which the monument sits.

  3. James F. Epperson
    Fri 28th May 2010 at 7:19 am

    A theory—which does not reflect well on the local powers-that-be— would be that, at some point, the statue was “in the way” of some planned development (another shopping center, apartment complex, office tower), so the town determined they had title and auctioned it off to the people who built the shopping center you are in.

  4. Fri 28th May 2010 at 11:21 am

    Amazing stuff. Have you contacted the Sherman Museum to see if they know anything about it? They might even wish to take it, and possibly help fix it. Then again, they might not even know of its existence either…

  5. Fri 28th May 2010 at 4:03 pm


    This photo of the Sherman statue “at Baughman Park, near State Route 586,
    just North of State Route 16 in Muskingum County, Ohio,” appears to be the same one (or same design) as your Pinkerington statue.


    The Ohio Geology newsletter reports that in 1968, the Sherman and Roosevelt statues at Baughman Park were vandalized, and that Sherman’s head and hand were never recovered.

    Seems like too much of a coincidence. Could the Baughman Park statue have been moved to Pinkerington?


  6. Fri 28th May 2010 at 4:10 pm


    Yep, and you stole my thunder. Mike Peters figured this out last night, and I intend to post about it over the weekend.


  7. Fri 28th May 2010 at 4:15 pm


    A follow up — Geoff Elliott on the Abraham Lincoln Blog reported that some or all of the Baughman Park statues were auctioned off. http://abrahamlincolnblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/buy-your-own-statue-of-lincoln.html

    There’s part of the puzzle. The vandalized Sherman statue from Baughman was sold and moved. The winning bid for the Sherman statue was $2.600. http://tinyurl.com/32k5gvb

    There are lots of articles on line about the statues in that park before they were sold off. Sounds like it was a pretty amazing place with all those monuments out in the woods. I haven’t found anything yet about who purchased the Sherman one.


  8. Fri 28th May 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Ooops. Sorry — I couldn’t help myself. I love a good mystery.


  9. Fri 28th May 2010 at 10:52 pm

    I didn’t read comment number 7 until after I’d posted comment number 8. I hope you’ll still go into some detail in a full blog post. Looks like a pretty interesting story.


  10. Mike Peters
    Sat 29th May 2010 at 10:45 am

    I guess the thing that baffles me is why would someone purchase a headless statue? I’m hoping the buyer bought with plans of refurbishing Sherman to his original condition.

    And why would he/she chose such an obscure location? And if the buyer paid to move it once, will he/she be open to the idea of moving it again?

    Looking forward to your next posting Eric.

    Mike Peters

  11. Mike Peters
    Sat 29th May 2010 at 11:42 am

    The gentlemen named on the side of the monument grew up near “Headless Billy’s” original home, Muskingum County’s Baughman Park.

    G. H. Playford enlisted 17 April 1861 in Company A of the 16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Most of the Company’s recruits hailed from Zanesville, also in Muskingum County.

    B. M. O’Boylan was a member of the clergy, a priest at St. Francis DeSales Church in Newark, Ohio. Newark is in Licking County, which adjoins Muskingum.

    There were many Ohioans with the name “David Davis” who served during the War. My best guess is that the third guy on the statue was from Licking County and fought with Company D of the 76th OVI. After the war, Davis resided in Conesville, OH, a town in Coshocton County on the Musjingum River.

    Mike Peters

  12. Sat 29th May 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Eric: Late to the game but here’s a link to a May, 2008 article from the Toledo Blade regarding history of the park and its several statues. It appears that at the time the auction was to be of the entire property, including all of its statues.


  13. Deb
    Fri 04th Jun 2010 at 12:19 pm

    $2500.00 seams rather an inexpensive price for a statue, at that price, I’d even consider purchasing one…..

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