By Ryan Berry
GREENVILLE – After reading about the return of Tecumseh to Shawnee Prairie, Congressman Warren Davidson said he had to see it for himself. The statue was unveiled in June, but Davidson had a scheduling conflict and was unable to make it to the event.
“I just wanted to stop in and see it,” said the congressman. Davidson had an American history major in college and understands the fascinating history this part of Ohio has. Tecumseh, the leader of the Shawnee, was a big part of that history.
Welcoming Congressman Davidson to view the statue were Roger Van Frank, director of the Darke County Parks (DCP), Andrea Jordan, executive director of the Darke County Center for the Arts (DCCA), Mike Henderson, DCP board member, David Warner, artistic director for DCCA, statue sculptor and artist Joshua Shepherd and his sons, and Darryl Mehaffie, chairman of DCCA who donated to the project in his late wife’s name, MaryAnn Mehaffie, and made the project possible.
Van Frank also presented a beautiful framed artist’s rendition of Tecumseh with a quote from the Shawnee warrior. The quote was featured in the 2012 film Act of Valor and was quoted by a character portraying a Navy Seal, “So live your life so the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their views, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and of service to your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting or passing a stranger if in a lonely place. Show respect to all people, but grovel to none. When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies in yourself. Touch not the poisonous firewater that makes wise ones turn to fools and robs them of their visions. When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.”
The Tecumseh statue is the first stop on the DCCA and DCP Darke County Art Trail. Additional stops include St. Clair Memorial Hall & Anna Bier Gallery, Greenville Public Library, Annie Oakley statue, Maid-Rite Gum Wall, Little Turtle Statue, Wayne HealthCare, Versailles statues, Annie Oakley Barn Mural and the Union City Mural. There are multiple pieces of artwork at St. Clair Memorial Hall, Greenville Public Library and Wayne HealthCare.
According to Jordan, the art trail will continue to expand as new projects are completed. The organizations received $40,000 in 2020 from the state budget for the art trail project and $180,000 in 2021 for future projects on the trail. Jordan is encouraged by the funding and even hinted there was a partnership blooming with Bear’s Mill.
To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected]