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Descendant of J.E.B. Stuart wants statue at his birthplace

Crews attach straps to the statue Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart on Monument Avenue, Tuesday, July 7, 2020, in Richmond, Va. The statue is one of several that will be removed by the city as part of the Black Lives Matter reaction. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Crews attach straps to the statue Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart on Monument Avenue, Tuesday, July 7, 2020, in Richmond, Va. The statue is one of several that will be removed by the city as part of the Black Lives Matter reaction. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

A direct descendant of Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart says he wants to bring his ancestor's statue from Richmond to the cavalryman's birthplace in Patrick County in southwest Virginia.

Dr. James E.B. Stuart V, a Richmond orthopedic surgeon, formally asked Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and the City Council on Monday to allow the transfer of the statue to the J.E.B. Stuart Birthplace Preservation Trust Inc., the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

The trust is a 29-year-old nonprofit organization that operates Laurel Hill on a portion of the farm where the Confederate grew up in Ararat near the North Carolina border.

The trust wrote to Richmond leaders last Tuesday, the day the city removed the statue from its Monument Avenue pedestal at Stuart Circle, to "express our fervent desire" to acquire the statue and move it to Laurel Hill at its expense. The trust had not received a reply as of Monday morning.

Stuart made clear this week that he has no interest in the statue returning to the perch it had held on Monument Avenue since 1907.

"I think the horse has left the barn about putting the statues back up," he said in an email Sunday. "Our focus is on returning the statue to his home."

Stuart has no involvement in a lawsuit two Richmond residents filed last week challenging Stoney's decision to remove the statues using powers granted to him under the public emergency Gov. Ralph Northam declared.

The lawsuit seeks to reverse the mayor's decision and require the city to return the statues to their previous sites on Monument Avenue. Another suit, filed by an anonymous plaintiff, challenges Stoney's authority to remove the statues without following procedures specified by a state law that took effect July 1.

Richmond Circuit Judge Bradley Cavedo imposed a 60-day injunction last week on removal of any other Confederate memorials on property owned by the city.

The trust was established in 1991 to manage Laurel Hill on 75 acres of what had been a 1,500-farm at Ararat, near Mount Airy, North Carolina. In 1998, the property was listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.