North Texas City Has Relatively New Memorial to Its Confederate Namesake

If you drive near the Johnson County Courthouse in the city of Cleburne, you can see the statue of Gen. Patrick Cleburne looking out from his pedestal.

"I think when people think about Cleburne they think about small town, close-knit community," said Mayor Scott Cain. "I don't think they think about a general from the Civil War years ago."

The city of Cleburne is named after an Irish immigrant who went on to become a Confederate general in the Civil War.

"He was an interesting character, for sure," Cain said. "He actually stood up for slave rights and called for the abolition of slavery, and he lost his rank for that."

The memorial statue of Cleburne isn't decades old, as some of its counterparts across the country are. It was put up and dedicated in April 2015. Cain said there were no protests, just a bagpipe-led dedication.

"We've got to remember we're Americans first and foremost, and our history is just that. It doesn't define who we are," Cain said. "We need to remember and learn from that history, but we need to move forward. I think we've evolved into much more than just a namesake."

Gen. Cleburne never set foot in the place that would become his namesake. He was killed in the Battle of Franklin, Tenn., in November 1864.

Texans who fought under Cleburne during the Civil War named the city after him when they returned home.

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