Sherman House Museum (Lancaster, OH)
The Sherman House Museum was the birthplace of General William Tecumseh Sherman and his younger brother U.S. Senator John Sherman. The original home was built in 1811 and consists of a parlor and dining room, kitchen, master bedroom and children’s bedroom. In 1816 the Sherman family expanded the home to include a second parlor and study for the father of the household, Ohio Judge Charles Sherman. Most of these rooms have been restored to resemble what they would have looked like when the Sherman’s were there. The parlor includes furniture from General Sherman and his wife Ellen, and also includes pieces from their friend Ulysses S. Grant and his wife Julia. The brick front you see today was actually added in the 1870’s.
Judge Sherman passed away in 1829, leaving his wife with a huge debt and eleven children. With such a great financial burden, several of the children were sent to live with relatives. An affluent and politically powerful neighbor, Thomas Ewing, offered to take in one of the children but only under the condition that he wanted the “most intelligent one.” Cump (short for Tecumseh as none of the children could pronounce the name) was thought by his siblings to be the most intelligent, so at the age of nine Cump became part of the Ewing family. It was when he went to live with the Ewings that he was baptised and given the Christian first name of William. Because Cump only spent nine years at this home, the historical value is probably a little lower. While Cump did come back and visit his mom and siblings often, it was not a home he returned to or lived in as an adult.
When you visit the house you will first go through the main rooms, followed by three rooms that have been created as a museum: The Sherman brothers room, the “tent” room with a replica of General Sherman’s field tent, and a Civil War room with many Union and Confederate artifacts, photos and paintings in view. The unique thing about this tour is that visitors will also get to hold real items from the Civil War time period, including case shots, hardtack, a “housewife” (sewing kit), a Spencer Carbine bullet from Fredericksburg, Union playing cards and a double shot revolver. TCWP was also surprised to see a lapdesk and spectacles from U.S. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton as part of the museum display.
It is advised that you check the home’s website for hours and tour information. There is a cost of admission for adults and students under 18. The tour lasts one hour (and in some cases longer), and includes an inside tour of the home and a walk-through of the Civil War museum on the second floor. The Fairfield Heritage Association often hosts monthly meetings and at least once a year usually holds a weekend-long Civil War Symposium.
Photography is not allowed inside the home. A gift shop is located on the property.
The birthplace of General William Tecumseh Sherman and his brother, U.S. Senator John Sherman. Half of the home focuses on period pieces and the Sherman story; the other half focuses on the Civil War, including a room with a replica of Sherman’s tent used in the field.
578 West Main Street
Lexington, KY 40507
Photography: The Civil War Project (May 2011)