Spencer Co. group working to restore home of Civil War hero

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Taylorsville man credited with helping the union win the Civil War has no memorials in the city to honor his service, but that will soon change.

Felix Grundy Stidger was born in a now dilapidated home near the corner of Garrard Street and W. Main Street on Aug. 5, 1836.

“What he did is worth remembering in our history,” said Arnie Mueller, president of the Spencer County Historical and Genealogical Society and vice president of the Felix Grundy Stidger Historic Preservation Trust.

Stidger is credited with infiltrating the Order of the Cross, an Indiana-based group trying to overthrow the government in some northern states.

“No one had a clue that he was a spy,” said Mueller.

Because of that, Stidger was able to thwart a plan that would've released an estimated 75,000 rebel prisoners. 

“There are all kinds of things that could've happened had they succeeded,” Mueller said.

After the war ended, Stidger returned to Taylorsville where he hoped to settle down, but soon discovered there was a $10,000 bounty on his head. He fled north to Chicago where he stayed for the rest of his life.

Forty years after the war, Stidger wrote a book, believing it was time to tell his side of the story. In it he describes “the most gigantic treasonable conspiracy the world has ever known.”

Mueller and others want to keep Stidger's memory alive by preserving his home. The idea has been around for years, but things finally got rolling last month when the trust secured the deed to the property.

Mueller hopes to first restore the home before working on a memorial and museum. He is still trying to determine how much the renovation will cost. Eventually, the trust will count on donations and grants to fund the project.

“We need to save this history,” he said. “It’s very, very important to save it so people know what happened and how it happened.”

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