Clement Vallandigham was a prominent Ohio lawyer back in the day. And that day was Civil War era eastern Ohio. But in the great tradition upheld by so many in the legal profession, he courted controversy. “Vallandigham was arrested and imprisoned in 1863 for publicly making derogatory comments about Lincoln and his war policies. He favored peace with Confederacy, even if it meant preserving slavery. Lincoln later commuted Vallandigham’s sentence and instead banished him to the Confederacy.” And the city of Lisbon has been wrestling with his legacy ever since. Why just this week, Lisbon’s elders voted down a proposal to erect a statue in his honor . . .
Bowing to public opposition, Village Council rescinded its previous decision to allow a proposed statue of the controversial Lisbon native and Civil War-era figure to be placed in the town square.
The vote at Tuesday’s meeting was 4-1, with council members Roger Gallo, Jeff Snyder, Steve Defilippo and Mary Ann Gray in favor, and Joe Morenz casting the lone dissenting vote.
The newest councilman, Tom Darcy, who was sworn in prior to the meeting, abstained from the vote since he was not involved in the original decision granting the Lisbon Landmark Foundation permission to place the bronze statue in the town square near the Civil War cannon.
But even more than for his exile, Vallandigham is perhaps better known for his gun-handling, um, prowess. After the war, he returned to Ohio and resumed his law practice. As As morningjouralnews.com tells it,
Vallandigham’s death came in 1871 after he accidentally shot himself while handling a pistol he believed to be unloaded during a trial in which he was serving as defense attorney.
urbantitan.com goes into a little more detail:
Vallandigham wanted to prove to the jury that there was a possibility that the deceased had actually accidentally shot himself. To do this he put a pistol in his pocket and recreated the man’s movements in the fight. He proved his point a bit too well, as the gun went off and killed him. His client was acquitted.
Another one of those guns that just “went off.” In any case, even after 142 years, Valladingham’s mad pistol skillz are more than worthy of a posthumous IGOTD award. Some of the more churlish among our Armed Intelligentsia would probably thank the Ohioan for making his exit, calling any attorney offing himself in open court a good start. We couldn’t possibly comment, other than to remind them to be sure to except a few of our own like Chris, Ralph and Joe Grine. Case closed.