JOHNSONVILLE, SC (PRESS RELEASE)- Johnsonville Mayor Steve Dukes and city council members have announced that the long-awaited dedication of the statue of General Francis Marion by Florence artist Alex Palkovich will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, during the City's Heritage Festival. The dedication also coincides with the 100th anniversary of the founding of Johnsonville.
The seven-foot-tall statue of the Revolutionary War hero is ten feet wide and features General Marion's torso and the head of his Marsh Tacky horse. It will be erected on a 12-foot base at the very site in Johnsonville where the General received his commission to lead the militia of patriots from the Johnsonville area.
“We are excited that the statue will finally be placed on the property where General Marion actually served our nation,” said Dukes. “That it falls on the 100th anniversary of our City's founding and during our exceptional Heritage Festival is an even greater plus.”
“This lasting homage to our area's rich history could not have happened without the financial and emotional support of our fine citizens and area friends,” Dukes said. He added that the area where the statue will be placed will be hailed as a Veterans' Park that will feature ongoing ways to honor the area's veterans, of which Francis Marion is among the most notable. The ceremony on May 18 will also honor the Hemingway 1-178th National Guard unit — dubbed “the Swamp Fox Brigade” — who recently served in Afghanistan.
Marion, a French Huguenot from the Berkeley County region of the state, spent lots of time during the war maneuvering the swamps and rivers in what was then referred to as Williamsburg Township which covered most of the Pee Dee region of the state. He was commissioned to lead the Williamsburg Militia on the banks of the Lynches River at the location just outside of Johnsonville then called Witherspoon's Ferry – now Venters Landing, the actual location where the statue bearing his likeness will be placed.
The public is invited to the dedication at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, during the weekend-long Heritage festival. For more information on the Francis Marion Statue and Veterans Park Project, call 843.386.2069.
You can find more info about the festival at www.johnsonvilleheritagefestival.com which includes a schedule of events.