The Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution spearheaded the statue in 2007 as a way “to preserve our county’s historical heritage.”
Enough funds have now been raised to initiate the statue construction, according to Phil Newman, SAR project chairman.
The formal contract to start the statue was signed between the SAR and Josh Coleman in June.
The initial phases of the statue construction is under way, with the framework being prepared for firing.
The statue design has evolved since it was first proposed. A small prototype clay model was used during the early fundraising.
Cleveland fought at the Battle of Kings Mountain during the Revolutionary War.
Research on the colonel found no known portraits, etchings or sketches. However, there were some renderings of close relatives and photos of current descendants that were used to generate a composite simulation of his appearance.
During the design phase, Allan Jones, a member of the local SAR chapter, initiated a parallel effort. He commissioned the painting of Col. Cleveland by renowned Revolutionary War/Civil War artist Don Troiani.
As part of the process, Henry Cook, who is primary maker of period dress clothing for Colonial Williamsburg, was commissioned to make historically correct clothing to be modeled for the painting.
Jones involved Coleman in the portrait process. This gave Coleman the opportunity to work with Troiani and Cook, who are renowned for their historially accurate works.
This gave Coleman access to review both original and historically accurate period clothing and weapons, resulting in a more period accurate statue design.
The fundraising committee, originally under the chairmanship of Brain Webb, has pursued various avenues of funding.
The effort has included tickets on a quilt and Brown Bess musket, which raised more than $2,700, contributions from chapter members, residents of the community, and local businesses and organizations. There have been more than 17 sponsor-level donors. The local chapter also received $2,000 from the National Society, Sons of the American Revolution.
Contributions are still being taken to finish the statue and have it put up in Cleveland.
To contribute, make checks out to the Col. Cleveland Statue Fund and deposit it at Bank of Cleveland, or contact Newman or any member of the SAR chapter.