A Useful Citizen and Honest Man

J. T. Weybrecht

January 27 1829 – January 31, 1895

The elaborate Victorian unpolished granite monument for John Theobold Weybrecht in the Alliance City Cemetery, in Alliance, Ohio, is one of the tallest in the cemetery and speaks to the success of the businessman.  An immigrant from Alsace-Lorraine, France, Weybrecht opened and operated the first lumberyard in Alliance with his sons, Benjamin and Charles. 

The monument, topped with a draped urn, features a bronze medallion with a likeness of Weybrecht as its centerpiece, commissioned in 1896.  The bas-relief or low-relief of Weybrecht was sculpted by Ohio artist Ora Coltman (December 3, 1858 – July 2, 1940).  The difficulty in creating a flattened sculpture of a face is giving it a three-dimensional look and feel and capturing the visual qualities of the man.  Coltman’s talent is clear.

Coltman was a painter, as well as a sculptor.  His painting, “The Dominance of the City”, is his most famous work, which is a sweeping triptych of Cleveland was commissioned by the Public Works Art Program in 1933.  The painting was the first New Deal mural in the city and can be seen on the third floor of the Cleveland Public Library. 

Written on the medallion is the following inscription, “Born in Alsace, France, January 27th, 1829.  Died at Alliance, Ohio, January 31, 1895, known to this community for forty years as a useful citizen and honest man.”

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2 Responses to A Useful Citizen and Honest Man

  1. Fanny Melian Behrens says:

    I’m interested in the usage of “useful citizen” as an honorary descriptor. I’ve seen it with naturalists and scientists with their memorial plaques.
    At first it felt a little odd turn of a phrase but it must have been a thing. The highest aspirations of becoming a useful person. Now I very much like that.

  2. Jake Russell says:

    Those particular words, do indeed, provide for quite a bit of food for thought. Interesting. It reminds me of conceptualizing having to be judged one day by a higher power or God. Most people would not look forward being judged in such a manner. However, when one closely examines exactly what that would mean,…. It becomes quite obvious that you do want to be judged. I think it’s important to have the opportunity to be judged, much like the opportunity to be a good person(or in this case, ‘citizen’). Imagine not having the chance to be able to make a meaningful difference, or positive impact on this planet. Anyway,…. Just my take on that.

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