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Great Men of Gwangmyeong
  • Ori Yi Wonik(1547-1634)

    An Illustrious retainer in the middle of the Joseon Dynasty writing under the name Ori, he garnered strong respect through an honest and simple personality and upright living. He focused on practical policy to stabilize public life including that of farmers, such as Daedongbeop (Uniform Land Tax Act).

    He was promoted to Yeonguijeong (Chief State Councilor) and was appointed to Yeonguijeong five times due to his distinguished ability and strong respect felt for him. During the Japanese Invasion of 1592, he bolstered national power through the holding of various positions, Yijopanseo (Minister of Personnel), Jwauijeong (High State Councilor) and Yeonguijeong, to defeat the invaders.

    Ori led the war efforts to defeat the Japanese invaders at Pyeongyangseong Fortress by guarding King Seonjo, who was fleeing from the royal palace to Uiju. He also tried to maintain diplomatic relations with China’s Ming Dynasty, which sent reinforcements with excellent linguistic ability in Chinese.

    Ori poured all his strength into promoting the desires of the Joseon Dynasty in Ming Dynasty Beijing during diplomatic friction caused by a conflict with the generals of the Ming Dynasty in the latter stage of war.

    As the provincial Gamchalsa (inspector) in 1595, Ori played a pivotal role in winning the war by a close relationship with General Chungmugong Yi Sunshin, Gwak Jaewu and Jeong Gyeongse, leaders of the Righteous Armies. When Gwanghaegun came to the throne after the war, Ori strongly insisted on the implementation of Daedongbeop (Uniform Land Tax Act) and so made a substantial contribution to the stabilization of the life of the public, as this became the foundation for tax reform in the late Joseon Dynasty.

    He was banished to Hongcheon due to the conflict with Gwanghaegun caused by the issues surrounding the dethronement of Inmok Daebi (the king’s mother), but he was promoted to Yeonguijeong after the Injobanjeong (King Injo’s restoration). There are many artifacts from the life of Ori in Soha-dong including the tomb, sindobi (stele), shrine and Gwangamdang.

    Ori lived an upright life while serving as a government officer over a span of 60 years. He did not pile up private assets, but emphasized a habit of thrift and savings to his descendants. He was a perfect example of a man and his attitude as a government employee was emphasized while his writings to his descendants became a must-read from generation to generation.

    Ori was enshrined in Injomyojeong and religious rites for him were held in Chunghyeon Shrine in Gwangmyeong, Gicheon

  • Muuigong Yi Sunshin (1554-1611)

    As the descendant of Yangnyeong Daegun (‘great prince’), Yi learned from Hakbong Kim Seongil. He passed the military examination and entered life as a military officer.

    While working as Bangdapjincheomjeoljesa (a kind of governor) in 1592, the Japanese invaded Korea. Yi exemplified bravery during the naval battle in Danghangpo as the Jungwijang of Chungmugong Yi Sunshin.

    Thereafter, he took part in battles in Hansando, Busanpo and Jangmunpo and took the initiative to defeat the Japanese invaders. His skill in archery was well known and he was a favorite of Chungmugong Yi Sunshin.

    Through his meritorious service in defeating the Japanese invaders, Yi was invested with the 3rd Level Seonmugongsin in 1604 and appointed as Wancheongun. He died while working as Jeollabyeongmasa in 1611. The Republic of Korea Navy named one of its submarines, the 7th submarine made by Korean technology in 1998, the “Yi Sunshin Ham (warship)” in memoriam.

    The pen name “Muui” was given to him after his death. His tomb is on the hill of Mt. Seodoksan, the entrance to the Jeolgol

  • Crown Princess Minhoe (1611-1646)

    She was born to the Geumcheon Gang clan from Gwangmyeong as a second daughter of Woldang Gang Seok-gi. She became the wife of Crown Prince Sohyeon in 1627 but was taken as a hostage at Shenyang, the capital of the Qing Dynasty due to the War in 1636. The Crown Prince and Princess with tens of thousands of people from Joseon were suffering as war prisoners. Unlike ordinary ladies, she contacted with high officials of Qing and sought ways to save Joseon people in Shenyang to secure living for 8 years. She could have wide perspectives and sense of reality from the experience and contributed a lot as a diplomatic mediator between Joseon and Qing.

    She returned to Joseon in 1645 but soon faced difficulties from the sudden death of her husband and founder of her son’s crowning. She was executed with her brothers for treason in 1646 due to the conflict with King Injo and political conspiracy. The Prince couple’s pro-Qing attitude inflamed the anti-Qing sentiment among the leadership after War in1636. The tragedy was the result of misunderstandings and conflicts. She was buried at the foot of Mt.Gureumsan in Noonsa-dong, her home town and about to disappear from history. Her wrongful death was known in 1718 and reinstated as Crown Princess Minhoe. The tomb was called Minhoemyo at first and renamed it as Yeongheowon in 1903.

    Crown Princess Minhoe was a proactive woman changing the crisis into an opportunity. She was a woman with misfortune at that time. Her works are revalued nowadays as the society recognizes the importance of female role.

  • Jeong Won-yong (1783-1873)

    Jeong Won-yong was a politician and scholar with pen name Gyeongsan. He was passed the exam at age 20 in 1802 and reached saheonbu, daesaheon, the Minister of Interior became prime minister. After the death of King Heonjong, he insisted enthroning of Deokwangun(Cheoljong) to keep the royal family line. He had tried to stabilize local politics and life of public in the late Joseon Dynasty.

    He became the head of Samjeongyijeongcheong (financial administration)in 1862 tried to correct disorders of Samjeong(the backbone of national finance in the late Joseon)

    Especially, he put efforts to control the redemption of grain for the people.

    He administered the affairs of nation when the King Cheoljong passed away until the King Gojong came to the throne He became the great leader in the late Joseon history through72 years of political life with frugality and integrity.

    He was good at handwriting and composition. He left voluminous works such as 40 Gyeongsangip, 21Hwanggakjangju, 10 Bukjeongnok, 3 Suhyangpyeon, 5 Munheonchwalyo, etc. The gravesite is Sadeulmaeul, Hakon-dong designated as the 2nd rural cultural heritage. The relics were donated to the folk museum being used as valuable resource for garment research and 80 years of his life Diary (Gyeongsanilgi) is an important material in the late Joseon gentry politics and life studies.

  • Choi Ho Cheon / Yoon Ui Byeong(1899-? / 1900-1960)
    High school students from Seo-myeon Soha-ri became the leaders of independence demonstration (Mansae movement) and extrication of Lee Jung Suk in Gwangmyeong area occurred late night on 28th March, 1919. They gathered more than 200 people from Soha-ri and Garidae at night and lead them to protest at a police substation in Noonsa-dong Neungmal.
    The independent movement at that time was even violent and had significant meaning of fighting against Japanese administrative organization. As the aftermath, 7 were captured and Choi Ho Cheon and Yoon Ui Byeong were sentenced 2 years in prison. Yoon Ui Byeong joined the independence movement in Manchu and Choi Ho Cheon involved in education movement such as night schools.