As part of our fifth anniversary, Emerging Civil War is pleased to inaugurate a new Roundtable of the Year Award. The first recipient of this award is the Mahoning Valley Civil War Roundtable in Boardman, Ohio.
“The folks with the Mahoning Valley Civil War Roundtable have been big supporters of Emerging Civil War since our earliest days,” says ECW Chief Historian Kris White. “They’re really a great bunch of folks.”
The Mahoning Valley Civil War Roundtable is the home roundtable for ECW’s Dan Welch, and a number of ECW historians have spoken to the group over the past several years.
The roundtable was established in September 1984 “by a diverse group of amateur and professional historians from Northeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania.” Founders Tom Kirker, Hugh Earnhart, and Byron Hartzell chose Boardman, Ohio—just outside Youngstown—as a central location. “That’s why we’re called the Mahoning Valley Civil War Round Table and not the Youngstown CWRT or New Castle CWRT,” says the group’s historian and newsletter editor, Gordon Morgan. “We attract people from Trumbull County to the north, Columbiana County to the south, and the New Castle and Sharon areas in western Pennsylvania.”
Morgan offered a taste of some of the area’s Civil War history. “Copperhead Clement Vallandigham grew up just south of us in Lisbon, which is located north and west of where John Hunt Morgan surrendered in 1863,” he said. “Youngstown was the home of David Tod, one of Ohio’s Civil War governors and a close associate of Lincoln’s, and as you might know, William McKinley was born in Niles in Trumbull County, and grew up just west of Boardman in Poland, Ohio. He began his military career with several Mahoning County men in Company E of the 23rd Ohio. Jacob Cox was working in Warren’s education system in Trumbull County when he joined the service, and Emerson Opdyke was doing something or other in Hubbard in Trumbull County when war broke out. I don’t know much about him, but he’s buried in Warren. Salem, Ohio in Columbiana County was a hotbed of abolitionist activity and, I believe, Frederick Douglass attended a meeting there. Two of John Brown’s raiders were also from the Salem area.”