UT Martin professor to restore Jackson war monument
Contact 1: Erin Chesnut
MARTIN, Tenn. – Dr. Alice Catherine Carls, professor of history at the University of Tennessee at Martin, has begun research to restore the World War I Memorial Fountain located on the courthouse square in Jackson, originally erected by the Surgical Dressings Workers of Jackson shortly after the end of World War I.
Carls received a grant through the 100 Cities/100 Memorials program to restore the fountain, and the monument has been designated an official World War I Centennial Memorial by the World War I Centennial Commission.
According to Carls, the restoration project will include stripping and repainting the fountain, adding the original top back to the pillar, resetting the monument in its original location and adding a plaque to explain its historical significance. The current plaque lists many names of Madison County soldiers who died in World War I and some of the more prominent women who served as surgical dressings workers, but does not include the names of the many African American individuals who served the cause as well. This will be corrected in the new plaque.
“The purpose of this restoration to is remember all parts of that story and to honor every one of whom we are aware and who deserve to be named or mentioned,” said Carls.
The women who served in the Surgical Dressings Workers of Jackson were members of the American Red Cross who were specially trained to sew surgical dressings and other medical bandages. According to Carls’ research, the Jackson chapter may have been the only chapter in the United States to train an entire class of African American women in the technique of surgical dressings. The chapter sent almost 13,000 surgical dressings to various hospitals during the war.
Carls is a member of the Tennessee Great War Commission, which was created in 2014 by an act of the Tennessee State Legislature to memorialize the centennial anniversary of World War I and the sacrifices of the many Tennesseans who served their country. Carls was appointed to the commission by Gov. Bill Haslam.
Tennessee received three of the 100 Cities/100 Memorials grants distributed nationwide. The other two grants will be used to restore the tomb of Sgt. Alvin C. York in Pall Mall and the Tennessee War Memorial Building in Nashville.
For more information on the fountain restoration project, contact Carls at 731-881-7472 or firstname.lastname@example.org.