MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (5/13/14) — Lt. Ephraim Brank of the Kentucky Militia will take aim one more time, Saturday, May 17, 2014, as the City of Greenville and Muhlenberg County unveil a statue of him and, thereby, celebrate his legendary feat during the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812.
His rifle has been oriented to aim over the battlefield in Louisiana. He was noted in several history books and newspaper articles, dating back to the late 1800’s and the early 1900’s… due to his marksmanship with his long rifle and his influence on the outcome of the battle. Of particular note is the reference to him as the “Kentucky Long Rifleman” from Greenville, Ky., in the famous “Durrett Collection” housed in the Chicago Library’s Rare Collections Department. He was credited with shooting several British officers off their horses behind the line of soldiers approaching the Americans, creating chaos among the British and, thereby, aiding in their defeat. It is believed by some that his success in making rifle shots well out of rifle range and the effect it had on the battlefield, resulted in his being promoted to lieutenant the next day.
This towering life-size bronze statue has been placed at the entrance of the beautiful brick plaza known as the Veterans Mall located between the Muhlenberg County Courthouse and the Judicial Center. The statue was designed and sculpted by renowned sculptor, Raymond Graf, of Louisville. Over the years, Mr. Graf has been commissioned to do at least 12 life-size bronze statues across the commonwealth, most of which are famous Kentucky citizens.
This project began in the fall of 2010 with the formation of the 12-member “Ephraim Brank Monument Committee” made up of a cross-section of community leaders and professional people, who had a passion and interest in seeing this historical figure finally honored in the county. Some of these individuals have expertise in art, while others are well versed in the history and military hardware of the era.
Their first order of business was to conduct a thorough two-year long research of his feat. With their confidence bolstered by the results, the committee proceeded with the arduous task of raising the necessary funds, followed by the commissioning of a skilled sculptor. Four sculptors submitted bids with Raymond Graf being selected by the committee.
The most recent estimated cost of the project is $90,000 not including the brick patio on which the statue stands. Fortunately, the cost of the patio was covered by the Muhlenberg County Fiscal Court. It appears that at least half of the project will be covered by private donations (both large and small) from individuals and corporations. In addition, a significant amount was secured through allocated coal severance funds. To date, the committee is within $5,000 of its goal and is still accepting “tax deductible” donations from the public. Checks should be made to City of Greenville, P.O. Box 289, Greenville, Ky. 42345 and designated to the Ephraim Brank Monument Project.
Greenville City Administrator Van Hooser said, “By erecting this monument, we will be honoring not only this one soldier of the War of 1812… but also all the veterans of that war.” Committee Chairman Jeff Dickinson added, “Kentucky lost more soldiers in the war than any other state in the union of 18 at that time.” It is believed that this will be the first life-size statue honoring the state’s veterans of the War of 1812. Greenville Mayor Ed DeArmond concluded, “I can think of no more appropriate place to erect this statue than in the county’s Veterans Mall, honoring one of our own military heroes of the past!”
The 45 minute “Unveiling Ceremony” will take place on the Veterans Mall Saturday, May 17, 2014, 11 a.m. central daylight time, followed by a reception at Thistle Cottage (formerly the Duncan Cultural Center) located at 122 South Cherry Street. In case of rain, the ceremony will be relocated to the Judicial Center adjacent to the Veterans Mall.The public is cordially invited to attend and be a part of history in the making.
Information provided by Ben Van Hooser
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