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Did you know the man DeKalb County is named for never once set foot here?
Baron deKalb—born Johann Kalb—was an officer in the French military during the 1700s. He fought in the Seven Years War, and was made a baron in 1763, after he won the Order of Military Merit, a French military award for its country’s non-Catholic officers. If you’ve ever wondered the reason behind the DeKalb Baron mascot, Johann Kalb is your answer.
You may have noticed this mural inside the DeKalb County Courthouse. Entitled “The Spirit of Progress,” this piece was painted by Conrad Arthur Thomas, and depicts Baron deKalb being crowned by the Goddess of Victory as a hero of the Revolutionary War. DeKalb both commanded and fought for the Continental Army during the war, up until he died due to wounds received at the Battle of Camden.
A note on Baron deKalb from our county’s sesquicentennial calendar reads, “His aim in life was fighting for the rights of man, for which he died, August 19, 1780 at age 59, while aiding our colonies in their fight for freedom. The right of all mankind. Time has eroded the memory of his achievements but the name DeKalb survives.”
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