Sherman slept here: Spending time in Uncle Billy’s boyhood home

LANCASTER, Ohio — It’s hard to imagine a young William Tecumseh Sherman spending time in this room 180 years ago.

The room — and the entire house for that matter — is simple and relatively unassuming, but it was here that the famous Civil War general, his brother — John Sherman, a Republican senator remembered for the Sherman Anti-Trust Act — and their nine brothers and sisters spent their formative years.

Sherman’s father, Charles, built the four-room, wood-frame house in 1811. Within five years, four more rooms were added to the structure to make room for the 11 children and four adults who lived here. The brick front and associated rooms were built onto the house in 1870.

“I have no doubt that he was in the first instance attracted to Lancaster by the natural beauty of its scenery, and the charms of its already established society,” the General later wrote in his memoirs about his father.

The house — now The Sherman House Museum — sits along what is today East Main Street — a bustling thoroughfare through the seat of Fairfield County, roughly 30 miles southeast of Columbus.

The younger Sherman only lived in the house for nine years. After his father died in 1829, he moved in with the family of Thomas Ewing, a prominent member of the Whig Party, senator from Ohio and first Secretary of the Interior. Sherman — affectionately called Uncle Billy by the troops who served under him — went on to become one of the Civil War’s most famous figures.

Today, the house’s original rooms have been restored to how they appeared during Gen. Sherman’s time in the house. The rooms feature a number of exhibits and memorabilia, including furniture Sherman owned when he lived in New York after he retired, a bust of the general sculpted in 1888 by Augustus Saint-Gauden and a re-creation of Sherman’s Civil War field tent.

Perhaps the most compelling piece in the museum is a 150-year-old painting that was stolen from the museum in 1982 and recovered in 2007. The painting is said to depict Sherman as he appeared during his time as the first superintendent of the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning & Military Academy — known today as Louisiana State University (LSU).

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About Todd DeFeo 1474 Articles
Todd DeFeo loves to travel anywhere, anytime, taking pictures and notes. An award-winning reporter, Todd revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He is the owner of The DeFeo Groupe and also edits Express Telegraph and