Merci Train - West Virginia
A collection of perhaps two dozen items from the West Virginia Merci car is located in "Mansion House", a hewn log structure built as a tavern in 1796, but now maintained as a museum by the Colonel Charles Lewis Chapter, N.S. Daughters of the American Revolution. The museum itself is in a small state park called Tu-Endie-Wei within the city of Point Pleasant, WV. The name is Wyandotte Indian for "Point Between Two Waters". Also in the park are four French Oak trees, which came in the Merci boxcar as saplings from France. Russell Burge (see above) started some saplings with acorns gathered from the trees in the park and has planted two saplings near the present site of the boxcar in Welch.
Another French Oak tree grown from acorns that came in the Merci Train is growing in the front yard of the late Andy Dolak's home in Lamar, S.C. I believe I have been told that there are more of the trees at the War Memorial Museum in Newport News, Virginia.
I, Earl Bennett, first visited beautiful Endu Tu Wei State Park on the W. VA. Bank of the Ohio river in 1997, but was not able to get any photos of the collection of Merci gifts at that time; In the Fall of 2009, I made a second visit to the park and took the photos shown below of at least some of the collection of West Virginia's Merci Train gifts the museum holds. There are also several notes from the French donors of the gifts on display with the artifacts. The collection is displayed in what appears to be an early 20th century retail store display case, which might have been used in a bakery to display cakes, etc. The glass of the case, which is located way up in the attic (3rd floor), has yellowed over many years of time, thus the yellow appearance of the pictures that I took.
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Photos by Earl Bennett
I have not as yet been able to determine the title, the name of the creator, or the person who is the subject of this sculpture which is one of the museum's displays at the West Virginia Historical Center in Charleston, WV.