Spanish-American War era cannon on display at the Riverside Cemetery in Montgomery is in serous disrepair. Photo taken Wednesday, February 13, 2013. | Steven Buyansky~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 16, 2013 6:16AM
MONTGOMERY —If you drive by Riverside Cemetery in Montgomery, you may have noticed a very old artifact of days gone by in the form of a military cannon.
Many believed that was a remnant of the Civil War but a U.S. Navy veteran decided to find out exactly where it come from.
Herschel Luckinbill went to look at the reported cannon just a few months ago. “I almost got sick to my stomach...(at the) decay,” he said.
After getting partial numbers off the structure he was able to trace it to the Spanish-American War, fought 115 years ago.
Luckinbill said Watervliet Arsenal in New York built the cannon wagon in 1889. The Rock Island Arsenal built the carriage in 1887.
“We just don’t know,” he replied as to how a cannon used to fight in a battle so many years ago and so far away turned up in Montgomery. “Everyone says it has always been there,” he said as to his research to find the origin of the cannon.
The Navy veteran said he decided he had to do something about it. It was at that time that he began his project, simply called “Save the Cannon,” with a fundraising event scheduled for this weekend.
Taking donations from various sources, about $4,160 has already been received for the restoration. The proposed price tag is around $9,000 and Luckinbill says he wants it done by Memorial Day.
A concert is slated for Saturday at the Montgomery VFW Post at 121 River St. Nashville recording artist Ricky Lee and “That Violynist” Carrie Lyn Infusion will perform at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30 a person or $50 for couples. Several raffles will be held, including a chance to win a TV.
“We plan to have the cannon removed on Friday,” he said earlier this week, and hopes to be able to view the entire set of numbers so he can trace the exact origin of the artifact.
Luckinbill is not one to waste time. He has already scheduled a dedication ceremony along with a family picnic in the cemetery this Memorial Day. Joe Wigland, a Teddy Roosevelt impersonator, will be on hand that day.