The creation of the WHL Wallace Memorial Committee was the result of three active Ottawa, IL groups coming together with common interests. These goals are to; Honor the memory of a local hero, General WHL Wallace,Raise money for a WHL Wallace memorial, Raise money for the restoration of the Dickey Cemetery where Wallace and his family are laid to rest, Provide Civil War era living history opportunities for local citizens and visitors.
The participating groups are the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery Association, owner of the Dickey Cemetery; the Reddick Mansion Association, sponsors of tours through the historic Reddick Mansion and programs regarding local and State of Illinois history; and the Starved Rock Area Civil War Round Table, contributing members, docents and financial support. Others having interests in these common goals are invited to participate with the Committee. Fund raising includes an annual solicitation letter writing effort, the annual Civil War living history weekend event, souvenir sales such as the authentic brick with plaque & certificate from the home of General & Mrs. Wallace (the Oaks), and the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery Civil War Soldiers Walking Tour booklet. All net proceeds go to the WHL Wallace Memorial Fund, administered by the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery Association, a not for profit 501c(13) corporation.
By July 2012 the WHL Wallace Memorial Committee saw that they had enough cash and pledges to afford the 10 ft. tall obelisk honoring General WHL Wallace and which would be placed in the recently dedicated ground at the edge of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) Section of the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery. The time for dedication of the monument was then set for October 28, 2012.The ceremony for dedication was very well attended and the 104th, 64th, and 21st Volunteer Infantry Civil War re-enactor units provided an impressive honor guard and salute. Civil War re-enactors were on stage representing Ann Wallace, General Wallace’s wife; General U.S. Grant, Wallace’s commander; Col. T. Lyle Dickey, 4th IL Cavalry, Wallace’s law partner and father-in-law; Col. Daniel Hitt, 53rd IL Infantry, Wallace’s uncle. In addition, Edmund Thornton, local historian and very active supporter of the monument and restoration project spoke.
The placement of this significant memorial to General WHL Wallace provides a space for the public to pay homage to him away from his land locked burial plot in the Dickey Cemetery. Someday it is hoped that with continued fund raising efforts his burial site will also become available to the public. Many local citizens as well as some outside have contributed to the reality of this memorial which has the concluding inscription of “From the grateful citizens of Ottawa. “