In the year 2002, I helped raise funds to preserve the Major General William Shepard Monument and the Soldiers Monument in Westfield. In 2005, I helped raise funds to preserve the Soldier’s monument in Southampton. Please see the following articles from The Republican Newspaper, Daily Hampshire Gazette, and The Westfield Evening News. They were all instrumental in helping to raise the needed funds to preserve these treasured monuments. Thank you.
|The Soldiers Monument in 2002||Preserved Soldier’s Monument in 2003|
Three Hundred Years
Overlooking the Green, a bronze sentinel stands on his granite pedestal
and silently watches the busy flow of life around him. This “Soldiers’
Monument,” erected as a memorial to the citizens who gave their services
during the Civil War, was dedicated on Wednesday, May 31, 1871.
Four years after the close of the Civil War, the Grand Army of the
Republic started a movement to raise funds for a soldiers’ monument and the
entire community was immediately fired with enthusiasm for the project. A
Soldiers’ Fair was held and this turned out to be one of the most successful
money-raising projects of the times netting approximately $1,500.00. The wealthy
citizens of the town gave generously; many organizations held special
fund-raising activities…for every man, woman and child wanted to have a part
in this inspiring project.
Good Templars put on a pleasing drama, the High School contributed of its
talent, and an exhibition by the St. Mary’s Sunday school was very
The design of the memorial was drawn by artist, M. H. Mosman of the Ames
Works, Chicopee, and it was his company that built the memorial.
The first base of the monument is seven feet square; the second, four
feet; and the die, four feet eight inches, and six feet high. The front face of
the shaft has a tablet with the names of the soldiers who feel in the Civil War
inscribed upon it; crowned with an alto-relief of a soldier in the act of
falling on the battle field.
Assembled by the
Edited by Roscoe Scott and
General William Shepard in 2002
Preserved General William Shepard in 2003
Three Hundred Years
William Shepard Memorial: One of
the highlights of our 250th Anniversary Celebration was the
dedication of the General William Shepard Monument on September 3, 1919. This
imposing statue stands in a small triangular park, just south of the Green, and
looks down Broad Street. Henry
Fuller, one of Westfield’s leading attorneys, died in 1913 and left a bequest
of $1,000 in his will for the purpose of erecting a memorial to Westfield’s
Revolutionary hero, General William Shepard.
Westfield citizens had long felt that a suitable memorial should be erected and
this bequest of Mr. Fuller’s gave the necessary impetus to start the movement.
A committee of J. C. Greenough, Henry W.Ely, and A.D. Robinson was appointed to
investigate and report on the matter.
Some of the town citizens felt there were other pressing needs for the
town funds so action was deferred on several occasions.
However, the committee by its own initiative secured pledges to the
amount of $4000 from descendants of General Shepard, both here and elsewhere,
and from other interested citizens. When
the town voted an appropriation of $3,500 in 1917, the original committee,
together with Arthur S. Kneil and William T. Smith, was empowered to erect and
dedicate the monument. Mr. Augustus Lukeman, a student under Daniel French, and
one of America’s most distinguished sculptors, was selected to design the
the statue of General Shepard, Westfield possesses not only a dignified and
worthy memorial to her distinguished son, but a valuable and enduring work of
art which she may always regard with pride and satisfaction.
is placed on our beautiful town green; co-eval with our earliest life, where he
gathered and drilled his minutemen and whence he led them out to Dorchester
Heights and the great Revolution. It stands
upon a spot
interwoven with all our history and tradition.” Thus spoke Arthur S. Kneil at
the years, the question has been asked a thousand times:
Why does General Shepard stand with his back to the Green…looking up
Broad Street? He was so placed
because the town fathers anticipated that Westfield would expand along the Broad
Street area. At various times,
there has been agitation to have the General turned around but at this writing
he stands with his back to the Green.
the late Forties, much concern was expressed because of the condition of the
monument—it had oxidized. After
extensive investigation by the Park Commission, it was found that the copper
content in the statue was very low. It had been made during World War I, when
copper was extremely short. In 1951, a special acid was
applied to the bronze
and gradually; General Shepard was wearing his proper shade of green.
Assembled by the
by Roscoe Scott and
the monuments were successfully preserved they will need maintenance in the
future. The Westfield Parks Department has prints of the General Shepard
monument for sale. Please help keep this monument and the Soldiers monument
standing tall for generations to come. Thank you!
General William Shepard
Dedicated in 1738
$10.00 plus shipping for
Print of General Shepard
will benefit the Soldier’s Monument, which is also located on the Green.
Contact the Westfield Parks and Recreation Department at 413-572-6263 or click
on the following website cityofwestfield.org to make a purchase.
Here is an article that was published in The Republican on Friday, April 12, 2002.
Statues to be restored
By George Graham
Project officials hope to have
the work done by this fall
WESTFIELD-The statue of Gen. William Shepard is deteriorating, and a Southampton artist is leading the charge for its restoration.
Jacqueline M. Sears noticed last fall that the bronze statue on one of the city’s most famous sons and the nearby Civil War Monument were showing signs of environmental degradation.
A closer look at the statues, both of which adorn the outskirts of Park Square Green, shows patches of black encroaching on the statues’ green patina.
The problem, Sears said, should be corrected before it worsens and causes permanent damage to the statues. If it is left like this, things could chip off easier,” Sears said yesterday.
Sears has joined forces with the Westfield Parks and Recreation Department and the Historical Commission to raise money for a conservation fund that will be used to restore the statues. Anne Marie Heiser, recreation, parks and youth director for the city, said yesterday that it will probably cost $10,000 to $15,000 to have the statues restored.
Sears agreed to serve as fundraising coordinator, and she hopes to raise the needed monies this spring and summer so the restoration can be done by the fall. Heiser and Mayor Richard K. Sullivan Jr. said yesterday they were grateful that Sears has taken on the task. “She is very ambitious,” Heiser said.
Westfield resident John W. Shepard, great-great-great-grandson to the general, said yesterday he was glad that someone has taken an interest in preserving the statue. Shepard, 67, said he enjoyed growing up in the city and having a statue of a famous relative on the green. “It gave me some grief, too,” Shepard said, laughing, recalling the teasing of some of his classmates. “I was called the general.”
Heiser said the restoration project will go out to bid and the work itself should only take about two day to complete. Restorationists will remove the black corrosion without disturbing the statues’ green patina, which provides a natural measure of protection. Afterward, the statues will be given a protective coating of wax and leftover money from the fundraising will go toward yearly maintenance, Heiser said.
Sears, a Holyoke native, has no close ties to the city other than the fact that she and children belong to the Greater Westfield YMCA. She says, however, that as an artist she appreciates the beauty of the downtown area. “This is a beautiful city,” Sears said.
Shepard, a friend and confidante of George Washington, fought in 22 battles over the course of the Revolutionary War. He is perhaps best known for his repulse of the attack on the Springfield arsenal during Shays Rebellion in 1787.
The General Shepard was erected in 1919 and the Civil War Memorial, which features a Union soldier, was erected in 1871.
Checks should be made payable to: Westfield Memorial Conservation Fund, c/o Westfield Parks and Recreation Department, 4 Holcomb St., Westfield, MA 01085.
City schools are also getting involved. Middle school students are being asked to write essays on the monuments and high school students are being asked to draw them, Sears said.
Here is an article published in the Westfield Evening News that caught the attention of Jim Hagan, Vice President of the Westfield Savings Bank in the spring of 2003. Thank you!
work planned for city’s historic monuments
Westfield- Organizers are racing against time and the elements in order to save and preserve two of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. However, fund-raising efforts started about a year ago to refurbish the General William Shepard Soldier’s Memorial which stand on the city green, have been slowed by the downturn in the economy, fundraising official said, and more money is needed to make sure the monuments survive for generations to come.
Jacqueline M. Sears, Westfield Memorial Conservation Fund organizer, said only about $1, 300 has been collected through donations over the past year. Pricing estimates given last year for repair and preservation work needed for both statues averaged from $10, 000 and $15, 000, which included repairs to the base of the soldier’s statue, as some of the names of Westfield Civil War veterans have eroded away, and the addition of protective coating to both structures.
“It’s a tough time right now,” Sears said. “Donations are down because of the economy and the war.” Sears said a new addition to the campaign has been unveiled which will hopefully bring in much-needed funding. A professional-quality print of the General Shepard monument is being sold to help defray the costs of the much-needed work. The prints are $20 each and are available at Connors store on Elm Street and the park and Recreation Department offices at 4 Holcomb Street.
“All the money collected will go straight to the fund,” she said. Helping to create the prints was Westfield resident Alan Rising, who was a direct descendant of Shepard. Before he passed away recently Rising provided the actual printing of the photo through his city printing business, Sears said, and printed flyers last year when the initial fund-raising campaign began.
Also assisting in the project are the city’s eighth grade students, who have been asked to write an essay based on the question, “In light of world events today, what is the importance to us of previous military veterans and heroes-citizens soldiers from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War to the present.”
High school students are being asked to draw the monuments, and once completed, the essays and drawings will be displayed at the Westfield Athenaeum. Prints of the monuments will be given the winners of the art and writing contest and the top choices will be a part of the unveiling ceremonies on rededication day.
Both statues are falling victim to decades of exposure to the elements of New England. The monuments are developing black spots, which signify progressed corrosion. Once cleaned, they will remain green with a layer of patina, which will protect them from the weather. The Shepard statue’s sword attachment will also be repaired, and the Civil War memorial’s bayonet and steel clamps, which are eating away at the statue, will be removed and replaced.
The Civil War memorial, the older of the two statues, was erected on May 31, 1871. Created from New Hampshire granite, the statue was funded mostly from a fair held the previous year, which at the time was the largest to be held in New England since the end of the war.
The Shepard Memorial was dedicated on September 3, 1919, during the city’s 250th celebration. Shepard served in the Continental forces, often with George Washington, which won our nation’s independence in the Revolutionary War.
“I feel the people of Westfield will come together for this, because I think the statues are important to them,” Sears said. “They’re a standing history lesson for all of us.”
“This is not something we want to put on the back burner,” said Ann Marie Heiser, director of the Westfield Park and Recreation Department. “These are important memorial to the city.”
The Park and Recreation Department is involved in the maintenance of these statues as well as other city memorials.
Anyone wishing to make a donation for the restoration work can send a check payable to the Westfield Memorial Preservation Fund, c/o the Westfield Parks and Recreation Dept. 4 Holcomb St. Westfield, MA 01085.
Here is an article published in Westfield and Southwick Plus section of The Republican on Thursday, September 18, 2003.
statues given a renewed lease on life
Westfield-Southampton artist Jacqueline M. Sears believes people should appreciate the memorials established for veterans. Sears, who led the charge to raise money to restore the statue of Revolutionary War Gen. William Shepard at Park Square Green and the nearby Civil War soldier’s monument, “couldn’t wait for the day when the work would be done.”
Now the two pieces of the city’s history stand cleaned and restored in all their glory. “And nobody is moving the statues,” Sears laughs. “They are going to stay exactly where they are.”
She said the rumor is still going around that one day the general, now standing with his back to the Green, will be turned around. “People asked me “Are they gonna turn him around?” Sears said, recalling her fund-raising effort.
Sears joined with the Westfield Parks and Recreation Department and Historical Commission last year to raise $10,000 for removing the black corrosion from the statues and some restoration work, including fixing of the lettering on the pedestal of Civil War monument. The statues kept their green patina and were given a protective coating of wax.
“The general was cleaned last time about 50 years ago,” Sears said. “As for the soldier’s monument, I have no records. According to what I saw in the library, it was never cleaned.”
Among those who donated money for the restoration work are Westfield Bank, $8,100.00, Wal-Mart, $500, the Westfield Rotary Club, $500, the Historical Society, $300, and “a lot of other people in the community who donated smaller amounts.”
The restorations, Modern Art Foundry of Astoria, N.Y., will continue similar efforts in Southampton, Holyoke and Springfield, Sears said.
She recalled the last January when Jeffrey Spring, project manager and grandson of the founder of Modern Art Foundry, came to Westfield to look at the monuments. “The winter was awful, but it was a…warmer day. It was maybe 35(degrees) or something, and it was partly cloudy. We went to each monument and every time we got to see a monument, every time we were taking a picture, the sun came out. I thought `Wow!’ That’s really neat. We must be doing something right.”
Justin Tomasz Sadowski reads his winning essay.
a beautiful day! The General Shepard and Soldier’s monuments looked stunning.
No longer would we have to imagine what they looked like when they were first
dedicated. Their newly preserved exteriors shimmered in the brilliant morning
sun. It was a day, I shall not soon
is an article published by the Westfield
Evening News on September 8, 2003.
Here is an article published by the Westfield Evening News on September 8, 2003.
marks rededication of monuments
By Teri Breguet
Westfield-The sun glistened on the dignified statue of General William Shepard Saturday morning as city residents and dignitaries gathered at the city Green to commemorate a man who was instrumental in shaping the country and reforming the government during the American Revolution. With the Color Guards at attention, those in attendance enjoyed a lesson in Westfield’s history while celebrating the preservation and refurbishment of the monument that stands proudly at the end of Broad Street.
“This turnout is great,” said Mayor Richard Sullivan. “I think this does a lot to rekindle interest in the history of General Shepard and his life during that time in the city.”
Dozens turned out at the mid-morning ceremony to thank sponsors of the project as well as pay homage to veterans everywhere. Jacqueline Sears, a local artist and historic preservationist, created prints of the memorial and sold them to benefit the restoration project, which will cost about $10,000 when it is completed, and will include the restoration of the Civil War memorial, also on the town green.
“Working on this whole project has been an honor,” said Sears. “People have rallied around this, and the community spirit I’ve seen is really incredible.” In addition to Sears’ fund raising, the Westfield Rotary and Wal-Mart donated $500 each. The fund’s goal was met when official from Westfield Bank donated $8,100 to the cause, allowing Modern Art Foundry of Astoria, New York, to begin the restoration work in August.
“We’re grateful for all of the donations,” said Westfield Park and Recreation Director Ann Marie Heiser whose department oversees the park and the statuary there.
James Hagan, vice president of the Westfield Bank, was on hand to express his pride in the project. “We’re very happy to provide the funds for the statues. We want the statues to remain a part of Westfield’s history for generations to come.” Hagan noted that his company’s donation is an appropriate tie-in for this year’s big celebration as the bank marks 175 years doing business in the city.
Both monuments have been suffering from the effects of New England’s harsh extremes of weather since being erected. The Civil War memorial has been in the city since 1871, while the General Shepard statue was placed on the green in 1919. Black spots, the results of corrosion, have been developing on both, and some of the fixtures, such as the steel clamps on the Civil War monument, have been eating away at the statues.
Some of the repairs were extensive. For example, many names of the Westfield Civil War veterans on the bottom of the Civil War monument are damaged or gone and will be replaced. General Shepard’s sword attachment was repaired as well as the other memorial’s bayonet. Once cleaned, a green layer of protective patina will remain to protect these landmarks from the elements.
During the weekend ceremony, Mayor Sullivan pointed out the hard work of the United Methodist Church as they are currently performing their own renovating by purchasing and renovating the Healy Pease Funeral Home “We’re working very hard to make downtown
beautiful again,” said Reverend Harvester. “We want downtown to be historic, not just commercial. And it is happening because of merchants, private entrepreneurs, churches and citizens. I am glad to be a Westfield resident.”
Virginia Ahart, a retired history teacher from Hampshire Regional High School, spoke about Shay’s Rebellion and the significance of General Shepard. “The textbooks say General Shepard was a gentle, kind man,” Ahart explained. “His role in the Revolution is important. It is important to note that his rank was raised, not because he was appointed, but because his militia voted him general.”
As part of Saturday’s ceremony, Sullivan awarded Justin Tomasz Sadowski, a freshman at Westfield High School, a gift certificate and boom box donated by Wal-Mart as prizes in an essay contest. Sadowki read his poignant essay full of patriotic images of soldier’s past and present. He urged Americans to support troops by respecting the flag, hanging yellow ribbons and visiting veterans.
“Our soldiers have kept our glorious country shinning over the rest and deep in our hearts,” he said. His essay is on display at the Westfield Athenaeum.
Crystal Lee-Flynn, also a student at Westfield High School displayed her art work which earned her the same award. “It’s great to see the Westfield kids participating,” said Sullivan.
Please see a plaque in the
Westfield Athenaeum with Justin’s quote and Crystal’s beautiful oil pastel
painting hanging in the children’s section.
Soldier’s Monument in Center Cemetery in Southampton, Massachusetts
“In 1738, the first stone was erected, a memorial to a lad of nineteen
years who died from drinking too much cold water,” according to Southampton Town
records in the Edwards Public Library.
In March of 1865, an article was voted on to provide a monument to the
memory of deceased soldiers in the “recent rebellion”. In 1866, the town
fathers “voted to instruct the committee to procure a monument---not exceeding
$600.” They “voted that the
thanks of this town be presented to How. Samuel C. Pomeroy for his generous gift
of $100 toward the erection of a monument to perpetuate the memory of our
deceased soldiers engaged in the late war,” records show.
The monument was dedicated on 1866.
Here is an article published in the Hampshire & Franklin Plus section of The Republican on December 26, 2004.
plans to restore war memorial
SOUTHAMPTON-Jacqueline M. Sears is on a mission to raise money to restore the town’s Civil War monument. It honors the 127 Southampton residents who fought in the bloody conflict, particularly the 22 who died and whose names are listed on it.
The sandstone monument, erected in 1866 at the Center Cemetery on College Highway, has not had any restoration work since it was erected, officials believe.
“I believe it’s a treasure here for the people in Southampton,” said Sears, 41. She is an artist who lives in Southampton, and who has worked on similar monument restoration efforts in Westfield and Holyoke.
“In all the towns I’ve worked (on such projects), these monuments are standing history lesson,” Sears said. “They’ve put these monuments up to honor their soldiers, many of whom gave their lives.”
Southampton’s Civil War monument, topped by an eagle, includes the names of the residents who died in the war-and where they died, whenever such information was known.
As part of the rededication ceremony to be conducted after the restoration is completed next year, Sears and town officials are organizing a reading by one or more descendants of Civil War soldiers who wrote home to their families. The letters are help by the Southampton Historical Society.
Judith Miller Conlin, chairwomen of the town’s Cemetery Commission, has read some the letters. “It really brings forth what it was like to be in the war, absolutely (incredible) carnage,” she said. “I was moved to tears.”
Sears is working with the commission on the restoration effort, for which she is hoping to raise at least $10,000. Within several weeks, she expects to start contacting local businesses and civic organizations for donations. “The town is pretty strapped financially,” said Selectman Chairman Jean Pierre Crevier. “They just kind of started this campaign to get it done, which is kind of nice they did.”
The plan is to have Monument Conservation Collaborative, a foundry in Colebrook, Conn., undertake the restoration.
Regarding the monument’s sandstone, Conlin said, “it’s easy to carve, but it eroded more easily.” Related activities planned to coincide with the restoration effort include art and essay contest among pupils at the William E. Norris Elementary School. The art contest will feature children’s renditions of the monument and the essay will focus “on how do we show appreciation and respect to our veterans?”
Restoring the monument will show some of that respect, officials said. It’s very exciting,” conlin said. “It’s really a focal point of the community. Whenever the Memorial Day parade comes, or the town gathers there, it’s the first thing they see.”
Wreaths are places at the monument each Memorial Day. It’s a good-looking monument,” said Historical Society member Maxine Hendrick. “It’s not elaborate or anything; it’s substantial.”
is an article that Cynthia Simison, managing editor of special projects for The
Republican and its Plus
Papers kindly allowed me to publish prior to the rededication day on
September 4, 2005. Thank you!
the memory of those who served
Jacqueline M. Sears
residents will come together in September to honor their ancestors, as well as
their modern day champions. At
least two of those are Elisha Clark, who in 1748 was killed by Indians while
threshing grain in his barn on Cold Spring Road, and Noah Pixley, who was shot
by Indians, tomahawked and scalped while returning from taking his cows to
pasture. “After this, the whole settlement withdrew in fear to Northampton
until July 1748 when seven to 10 families returned, followed by others in the
fall of the same year,” according to records at the Edwards Public Library. As
far back as 250 years ago, Southampton residents were tenacious and determined
to stand together. In the French and Indian War, two Southampton men were among
the victors. Ten men joined one of the four great expeditions against the
French. They served in the Revolutionary War and Civil War. Southampton men also
served in World Wars I and II, the Korean War and the Vietnam and Gulf Wars. And
of course currently, we have brave men and women serving in Iraq. We owe them
all a great debt of gratitude.
Here I was on a beautiful spring morning standing in front of the Soldier’s Monument in the Center Cemetery in Southampton, Massachusetts, far, far away from a battlefield. All I could hear were the birds chirping and the motor of a passing car. I started reading the letters that Maxine Hendrick, one of our treasured town historians, resurrected from the Clark Chapman house as I was waiting for Judith Miller Conlin, Chair of the Southampton Cemetery Commission, and John Suchocki, a photographer from the The Republican. We were kicking off a campaign to raise funds for the Soldier’s Monument, which was in need of a serious cleaning before it crumbled to pieces, as sandstone is known to do. As with every preservation effort with which I’ve been involved, a picture tells a thousand words.
In March 1865, the city voted to build a monument to the memory of deceased soldiers in the “recent rebellion,” not exceeding $600. In 1866, the Soldier’s Monument, sculpted by A. Clapp, and was erected in the Center Cemetery. Twenty-two names are inscribed on the monument, with an inscription that reads “Died for Their Country” on a coat of arms. The monument also has a beautiful bird perched on top.
As I stood reading one of the many letters that Civil War soldier, Rubin Searle wrote to his mother, my eyes filled with tears. “Dear Mother, there has been a dreadful fight, and it is not near ended. I have news that is painful to write, but you must know it. John Hyde and George Wolcott are killed.” At that moment, I looked up at the monument and saw their names. I can’t imagine how awful it must have been for these young men. Day after day, seeing each other suffer and die. One day they were on a beautiful farm in Southampton, the next in a bloody battle in a strange and dangerous place.
After composing myself, I continued, “They were all good boys and will be greatly missed,” Searle said. They were indeed boys, some not even 18 years old. In another passage, Searle went on to say, “I tell you mother, a man don’t know how much he can go through till he tries. I thought I could not go in and help but when I saw our poor fellows suffering, I did not hesitate. I got so I could help do the worst such as amputating limbs, arms feet, etc.”
In 2002, when I originally began raising funds for war memorial monuments, I did it because they were beautiful pieces of artwork. As I delved deeper, however, by reading veteran’s letters and watching programs on the History Channel and PBS, my reasons completely changed. I realized that our veterans suffered a great deal and needed our appreciation.
The men in my family who have served in the military during wartime never spoke of the terrible things they had witnessed. What man would tell a little girl about the gory details of battle? I had to learn by myself. Hopefully, by preserving and paying homage to these monuments, I have reminded everyone how important it is to remember and celebrate the people who have done us the honor of serving their country.
This September 10th at 10 Am., the citizens of Southampton will dedicate the newly preserved Soldier’s Monument. We will honor students from the William E. Norris School. English teacher Joseph Moynihan inspired the entire 5th grade to write an essay on “how we can show our respect and appreciation for our veterans.” Art teacher Leslie DeCursio did the same for her 4th graders by having the children render the Soldier’s Monument in watercolor. Barry Searle, a descendent of Rubin Searle, will read his touching letters.
Most importantly, the children will stand with our veterans in a ceremony that will honor a monument that reminds us that our veterans courageously gave of themselves and even died for their country. Let the citizens of Southampton once again proudly stand together.
pictures were taken by the Daily
Hampshire Gazette on the rededication day September 6, 2005. Standing on
the lower right is at left, the Rev. Dee Ledger, of the First Congregational
Church of Southampton, Jacqueline Sears and Judith Miller Conlin, of the
Cemetery Commission, listen as Barbara Ripa, superintendent of schools,
speaks. Please note how wonderful the
Southampton Soldiers Monument
Dedicated in 1866
Holyoke Soldier’s Monument
is some history about this magnificent piece of art.
in Veteran’s Park within a square block bounded by Dwight, Hampden, Maple and
Chestnut Streets in downtown Holyoke. Prior to 1962, this park was known as
Soldier’s Monument located in the center of the square was erected July 4,
1876 at the cost of $10,000, honoring
the soldier’s from Holyoke who died
during the Civil War.
The granite base is 10ft. sq. and the
diam. is 3ft.sq. A bronze figure of
Miss Liberty is 9ft. high and the overall height is 16ft. Emblazed on the stone
is the following inscription, “In
Memory of our Volunteers who Died for the Union 1861-1865.”
Designed and sculpted by ELLICOTT, HENRY JACKSON; 1847-1901, a graduate of Rock Hill College, Ellicott city, Md.; at Gonzaga College, Washington; at Georgetown Medical College and at the New York Academy of Design, 1867-70.
Among his more notable works are the Soldier’s monument at Holyoke, Mass., 1874; the group “Commerce, Protection and Mechanism” on the New England life insurance building at Boston, 1875; the portrait statue of Colonel Cameron at Sunbury, Pa., 1879; the statue of recording angel surmounting the Duncan monument at Pittsburgh, Pa., 1880; the bronze statues erected by the 1st and 2nd Pennsylvania cavalry of the battlefield of Gettysburg, one in 1887, the other in 1889; the equestrian statue of Gen. George B. McClellan erected on the city hall plaza, Philadelphia, Pa., 1894, and the equestrian statue of Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock, erected by the U.S. government at Washington, D.C., and unveiled May 12, 1896. He was chief modeler and sculptor for the government under President Harrison’s administration.
There are four bas-relief bronze plates around the base of the monument.
The first shows a newly enlisted cavalryman leaving home. He is about to mount his horse while his wife embraces him and his son stands playing with the sabre scabbard.
The second is a battle scene with cavalrymen charging upon the infantry.
The third scene shows a rebel standing guard over a wounded prisoner and two others, one evidently a surgeon binding up the wounds.
The fourth shows a widow and her child at the gravesite of the husband and father in the south, where a loyal black guide has found the gravesite for them.
An incident that took place during the dedication on July 4th 1876 claimed the life of one, and injured two others, when upon the 14th shot from the saluting cannon caused the cannon to explode. The parade took 2 hours to pass a given point and included 38 “beautiful young ladies” representing the 38 states of the Union.
is an article that Cynthia Simison, managing editor of special projects for The Republican and its Plus
Papers allowed me to
publish in the Holyoke Plus section 2005 to familiarize the citizens of Holyoke
with their beloved monument. Thank you!
They amaze me! Who you may be asking? The people of Holyoke who lived one hundred and twenty-nine years ago. The high-spirited fathers, as they were called by the Holyoke Daily Transcript at the time, held a grand 4th of July parade that lasted two hours that culminated in the dedication of a stunning piece of art work we now call the Soldiers monument.
The Soldiers monument located in Veterans Park is one of the most beautiful monuments in Western Massachusetts. Designed by Henry Jackson Ellicott who was the chief modeler and sculptor for the government under President Harrison’s Administration. He was an exceptional and talented artist, who designed and sculpted monuments through out the east coast, including Gettysburg. It’s obvious that Holyoke’s forefathers hired the very best.
According to the 1926 Holyoke Daily Transcript, Holyoke celebrated the dedication of the beautiful Soldier’s Monument at Hamden Park, now known as Veterans Parks and the laying of the corner stone of the St. Jerome Church at their Centennial on July 4, 1876. They illuminated the downtown area with thousands of Japanese lanterns lit by candles on trees and in gardens. Maple Street, then the court of the town, was transformed into fairyland. At precisely twelve o’clock a company of gunners fired the first salute from a six-pound cannon on Depot Hill when it exploded, killing one man and severely injuring two others.
The day was hot. The parade was in the afternoon, and ice water drinks all along the line of the march were pronounced the greatest blessing of the day. Two and one half tons of ice was used and over twenty-five hogsheads of water. The attendants stood at their task from 5am to 8pm. The police made and gave away 125 gallons of lemonade, and were proud that they had only eight drunks to care for at the close of the day. Food was also provided by the people with the leftovers given to the poor. The parade included Veterans of the war of 1812, a car containing twenty-one young ladies dressed in white and representing forty-eight states of the Union at the time. Next came three cars, beautifully decorated to represent Faith, Hope and Charity: Hope must have been a charming young lady leaning on a moss covered anchor. Education had a big exhibit. There was an ox-drawn cart representing domestic education in 1776-a cart representing the school-house of “76, and the various schools with their teachers representing Young America and the Fairy Queen of Holyoke. Four carts represented the seasons.
A company of thirteen boys represented Continentals. Another car represented Liberty. A car filled with young ladies dressed in Shaker costume personified “Canterbury Belles.” A number of women with their babies in one car represented Industrial Pursuits. There was yellow literature in those days. A young lady loafing on a lounge with her yellow-covered book told the story. There were five companies in the Second Regiment. It was made up mostly of Irish societies, the St. Jerome Temperance Society, The Ancient Order of Hibernians and Catholic Mutual Benevolent Society. It took four cars filled with lovely girls dressed in white tulle with green sashes to represent the counties of Ireland.
The German, French and Scottish societies made up the fourth division. The whole fire department was out in the fifth division. The Lyman Mills had a large number of girls from their various departments in line. The merchants of the new town showed their wares on cars. The only music mentioned is the Chicopee Brass Bands. In all, the paper records 38 entries, many of them very ornate and worked out with quite as much care and elegance as will be shown in our 1926 parade.
After the parade ended, all participants surrounded the Soldiers monument to partake in the dedication ceremony. Rev. L.R. Trask offered the dedication prayer. Mayor Pearsons accepted the monument for the city.
Rev. J. F. Marrs of Greenfield, the
chaplain of the 53d Regt., said at the time, “It all seems long ago to us but
the Civil War was a vivid present memory then.” Fifteen years ago, the 100th
birthday of the Republic was a doubtful event to anticipate. Two mighty armies
were marshaled, one to destroy, one to save.
The earth has drunk their blood and it springs up again from the soil in
the sweet blossoms of peace. Our dead soldiers are yearly commemorated by
speeches and wreath and garlands, but it was left to this late day to honor them
by a more substantial and enduring monument, that will stand to tell other
generation its own thrilling and inspiring story. Our city has at last done
this, and redeemed itself from the reproach of forgetfulness of its heroes and
defender. There is no grave so deep
and dark as the grave of forgetfulness and oblivion.
While this beautiful memorial figure stands in the midst of our busy
city, the figure of Liberty holding a wreath of immorality over the names of our
honored volunteers, Holyoke cannot forget the boys who fought and bled and died
that our country might be prosperous and free. No longer will we have the rude
wooden cross in the Forestdale cemetery to honor our fallen sons.
Obviously, it was truly a memorable day for the people of Holyoke.
The proud people of Holyoke bestowed upon us this grand and memorable monument. Now in 2005, the monument needs to be preserved. The bronze on Miss Liberty needs to be evened out, cleaned, buffed and waxed. The granite also needs to be cleaned. On one of the bronze plates located on the pedestal of the monument, a soldier’s hand is broken off and his horse’s ear is chipped. The city school children are writing essays to show their respect and appreciation to our veterans and are drawing the monument. Let us rally around this incredible monument as they did one hundred twenty-nine years ago.
is an article published in the Holyoke
Plus section of The
Republican on Wednesday, October 6, 2004.
Artist seeks to restore Veterans Park statue
Holyoke – For 128 years, the beautiful statue of Lady Liberty honoring the city’s Civil War dead has held a central place in downtown’s oldest and largest public park. Designed by noted sculptor Henry Jackson Ellicott and executed in bronze and granite, the memorial has graced the center of Veterans Park since 1876, when it was formally dedicated. Displayed on four panels sculpted in bas relief, the scenes depict a Union soldier leaving his family for the war, fighting and dying on the field of battle, and the grieving of family members.
The names of more than four dozen city dead from the country’s bloodiest war were carved in the stone, as an imposing Lady Liberty-her original brown tomes streaked in green from oxidation-looms above holding a wreath and shield. But the elements from 128 winters and summers have taken their toll on the statue itself, on the once sharply carved names, on the iron fence that surrounds the sculpture, and on the landscaping within. And it is hard to see the effects on an earlier restoration project in 1962.
Enter Jacqueline M. Grenier Sears. A former city resident who graduated from Holyoke High School and Holyoke Community College, Sears, a Southampton artist, has a passion for restoring historic monuments for soldiers.
Sears has organized an ad hoc group of city boosters who hope to raise $15,000 or more to clear, restore and preserve the statue, its fence and grounds.
Those already on board the campaign are veteran Henry B. Jennings, chairman of the Soldiers’ Memorial Commission, Parks and Recreation Director Carolyn L. Porter, Historical Commission Chairwoman Olivia Mausel and a coterie of local businesspeople and historic preservationists.
In 2002, she and other volunteers in Westfield raised $10,000 to restore a statue of Revolutionary War Gen. William Shepard and a Civil War soldier’s monument downtown. A confidant of George Washington who fought in 22 battles against the British, Shepard is best known for repulsing the 1787 attack on the Springfield arsenal during Shays’ Rebellion.
Currently, Sears also has her sights set on two other military statue restoration projects in Springfield and Southampton.
In Westfield, she lined up a professional restoration business people to contribute to the project. Best of all, she also got the school system involved, mobilizing dozens of students to write essays or create artwork focusing on Shepard and his statue. The entries were hung in the children’s museum downtown.
Although she has no strong military ties and took little notice of military history in her youth, Sears said a health issue four years ago forced changes in her life. As a result, she concentrated on her drawing and found much of beauty to appreciate in her life, including military statuary. “I realized these monuments are standing history lesson,” she said in an interview last week.
Before completing the Westfield project last year, Sears followed the cues of local veterans and examined the Soldiers’ Memorial in Veterans Park. Having passed by the statue hundreds of times but never seeing it before, Sears said she was shocked to see its beautiful details. “I didn’t even know that statue was there,” she said. “Teachers didn’t even talk about it in school.”
Sears has talked to school officials here about her plans for a “Holyoke Memorial Preservation Essay and Art Contest.” Exactly which age groups will be eligible is still being discussed, although a spring deadline is likely.
Meanwhile, Sears is already approaching businesspeople organizations and the city for financial help, contest prizes or restoration services. And a bank account has been set up for donations: The Holyoke Memorial Preservation Fund, c/o PeoplesBank, 314 High Street, Holyoke, MA 01040. For information, call Porter’s office at (413)322-5620.
Sears said that most youngsters today know little about local history from the Civil War era. The project, she hopes, will bring public attention to “what our Civil War Soldiers have done for us and how we can show our appreciation…I want the whole community to walk around the monument and pay tribute.”
Mayor Michael J. Sullivan said efforts like those of Sears mean a lot to prideful but poor communities such as Holyoke. It’s important to the city and we’re excited about it,” he said last week. “And it really needs a citizens group to step up to the plate.”
Here is an article published in the Holyoke Plus section of The Republican on March 9, 2005.
fund tops halfway
Holyoke-Fundraising for the restoration and cleaning of the Soldiers Monument at Veterans Park has reached about $7,000, more that half of the estimated $12,000 that consultants estimate the job will cost. Artist and chief fund raiser Jacqueline M. Sears, a city native who lives in Southampton, said the list of contributors is growing and that corporate donations are still being actively pursued.
The memorial features a bronze Lady Liberty atop a granite base that features four bronze panels sculpted in bas relief depicting various scenes of solder and their families. The memorial also lists the names of about 50 city soldiers who died during the 1861-65 conflict.
But the memorial, which was spruced up in the 1960’s, is sorely in need of maintenance and repair. The bronze on Miss Liberty needs to be evened out, cleaned, buffed and waxed, Sears said. The granite also needs to be cleaned. And on one of the bronze plates on the pedestal of the monument, a soldier’s hand is broken off and his horse’s ear is chipped.
Sears has obtained technical information from outside consultants who have helped the city assemble a formal bid package. And David A. Martins, the city’s procurement officer, said last week bid requests will be sent out and advertised on the state’s Central Register as early as this week. The bids must contain two sealed envelopes, one addressing technical aspects of the work, and the other addressing costs.
Martins said the bids will be due in mid-March, with qualified proposal reviewed over two weeks and a low bidder selected by May 1. Sears, who began her fundraising efforts here last year, has enlisted official city support from Mayor Michael J. Sullivan, Soldier’s Memorial Commission Chairman Henry Jennings, and Recreation Director Carolyn L. Porter.
Harry Craven, owner of the Highland Hardware and Bike Shop, who owns historic photographs of the memorial, has also been instrumental in the fundraising effort.
The memorial, created by noted Civil War sculptor Henry Jackson Ellicott, was dedicated during a huge July 4 parade in 1876 that featured hundreds of soldiers and attracted thousand of onlookers. A 2005 calendar depicting the memorial and other city scenes is available for $3. as part of the fund-raising effort.
The calendar, printed by David Bryson at Mansir-Holden, can be purchased at Highland Hardware, Finely Davids, Highland Rose flower shop, R&R Variety and Manny’s Pizza.
Sears has also helped Westfield restore a statue of Revolutionary War Gen. William Shepard and a Civil War soldier’s monument downtown. She is also fund raising to help Southampton restore a sandstone Civil War memorial.
In Holyoke, public school teachers are participating in a “Holyoke Memorial Preservation Essay and Art Contest” that is expected to gather momentum this spring.
A list of major contributors for the Soldier’s memorial includes:
Harry Craven and David Bryson; Douglas A. Bowen, PeoplesBank; Rick Whiting, Whiting Energy Fuels; Kevin O’Hare, Holyoke Medical Center’ Amy Star, Wal-Mart; Lisa Ray, Holyoke Mall; E. Denis Walsh’ Vin’s Car Wash & Detail Shop; Coler & Colantonio, Inc.; Mr. and Mrs. William Lyons: Barbara & Paul Graves; Holyoke Soldiers Home, 3-11 shift; N. Kent LeFebvre, Signs Plus; Ken Segal, South Street Plaza Association; Anderson Exterminating; Sonoco Products Company; Ross Insurance Agency, Inc.; American Legion Post 325; American Legion Post 351; American Legion Post 23; American Legion 41; Yankee Division 104; and the United Veterans of Holyoke.
Here is an article published in the Holyoke
Plus section of The
Republican on September 02, 2005
Erected in 1876, the bronze and granite monument features Miss Liberty, bronze plaques listing the names of the 50 city soldiers who died in that war and a series of four bas-relief bronze panels depicting scenes of soldiers before, during and after battles.
A private-sector effort to raise the estimated $15,000 needed to restore the city monument, embraced by the city last year, topped $8,000 before the city issued bids earlier this summer.
The bid, submitted June 15 by ConcerArt LLC of Hampden, Conn., reported there were numerous broken and missing pieces of the panel sculptures, and deteriorated elements in both the granite and bronze. The bid was picked by a city selection committee.
The monument was created by noted sculptor Henry Jackson Ellicott and dedicated in a formal ceremony July 4, 1876. Ellicott’s works grace various national battlefield memorials including Gettysburg, PA., as well as the U. S. Capitol Building and the U.S. Library of Congress.
“With all this money we have to raise, it will take another year,” said artist Jacqueline M. Sears of Southampton, a city native who has spearheaded the fund-raising effort here. “I’m never going to be done fund raising. But somehow it’s got to keep rolling.”
Sears has done similar military restoration fund raising in Westfield and Southampton.
On the Miss Liberty statue, Sears has worked with members of the city’s Soldiers Memorial Commission, which oversees military monuments here.
To kick off the renewed fund-raising effort, the group has scheduled a concert for Saturday, Sept. 17, at the War Memorial Building on Appleton Street.
The 7p.m. event will feature the Holyoke High School Madrigal Choir, the Pioneer Valley Chordsmen and the Pioneer Valley Senior Concert Band.
“We’ve taken an important step,” said Parks Director Carolyn L. Porter, who is helping oversee the restoration project. “We have to regroup and realize the amount of work that needs to be done.”
Soldiers Monument in Veterans Park
$10.00 plus shipping
monument has serious erosion problems. It would be a shame to let it get any
worse. Would you please send a donation or buy a print?
I am working with the Director of the Holyoke Parks Department, Terry
Shepard and the Chairman, Henry Jennings of the War Memorial Commission.
Please see the following pictures that illustrate the damage:
Miss Liberty on the Holyoke Soldier’s Monument
The Bas Relief’s need repair. These plaques
are pulling away from the granite pedestal.
On May 30, 2011, we rededicated the Holyoke Soldier’s monument in the Holyoke War Memorial Building due to torrential rain. The ceremony was intertwined with the annual Memorial Day festivities.
One person I want to especially thank for the preservation of the Holyoke Soldier's Monument is Holyoke resident Cesar Lopez. He is a Program Analyst on the massive C-5 air transport planes at Westover Air base in Chicopee. This kind and resourceful Marine is the father of five and a member of the school committee.
He has worked extremely hard with Holyoke resident Manuel Colon to preserve the Holyoke Soldier’s Monument since April 2010. They completed their work in May of 2011.
Cesar has even found time to be the Executive director of Fundacion de La Famitia Nuevos Horizontes in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. The foundation helps children in the Dominican Republic go to school by asking people to donate their gently used shoes so that the children can get an education. It’s a law in the country that you must have a pair of shoes to attend school. You can help Cesar's kids by contributing to his non-profit organization at New Horizons Family Committee Center, 189 Pine Street, Holyoke, MA 01040. Thank you.
Cesar Lopez was the Master of Arms at the Holyoke War Memorial Building at the Memorial Day ceremony. He looked so dignified and smart in his uniform as he called the veterans to arms as they marched up to the stage to start the ceremony. He had aslo assembled his youth group so they could say the names of the 55 soldiers’ who perished during the Civil War that are inscribed on the granite pedestal of the monument. Each and every one of these kids is special. They looked so neat and sounded so articulate, thanks to Cesar’s fine tutelage. I am so proud of them. I shook their hands and thanked them for doing such a great job.
When I spoke about the history of the monument and thanked all of the contributors I was very nervous. I think I lost my place twice, but I was determined to make people understand how important the monument is to our proud veterans.
It was a beautiful ceremony; our brave Veterans were honored and appreciated by the community. I only wish we could have had the rededication of the Holyoke Soldier’s Monument in front of the preserved monument. I wanted to pay our respects to the men and women who have suffered so dearly from serving our country. Sadly, some of our veteran’s did not survive the wars they so valiantly fought in; others have sustained permanent injuries, while others have emotional scares called Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, PTSD. I was going to play a poignant song that Josh Groban, an American International tenor has on his CD, Illuminations called War at Home at the rededication ceremony.
After the Memorial Day ceremony, my husband Tommie and I went to the monument in Veterans Park to see how it looked; we couldn’t believe our eyes; the monument looks absolutely gorgeous!
Cesar had made every thing look perfect. He has applied a beautiful deep rich brown color to the bronze on Miss Liberty, the medallions and the bas-reliefs on the granite pedestal. The bas-reliefs depict scenes in the Civil War that are heart wrenching. The first bas-relief shows a newly enlisted cavalryman leaving home. He is about to mount his horse while his wife embraces him and his son stands next to him playing with his sabre scabbard. The second bas-relief is a battle scene with cavalrymen charging upon the infantry. The third bas-relief shows a rebel standing guard over a wounded prisoner and two others, one evidently a surgeon binding up the wounds. The fourth bas-relief shows a widow and her child at the gravesite of the husband and father in the south, where a loyal black guide has found the gravesite for them.
Sadly an accident happened that took the life of one solder and injured two others, when after they fired 14 shouts from the saluting cannon, it exploded. There were 38 “beautiful young ladies” in the parade that represented the 38 states of the Union at that time. It was an incredible day. It cost $10,000 in 1876 to erect this beautiful tribute to our brave sons, according to records in the history room at Holyoke Community College.
Through Cesar’s dedication and hard work the monument has been preserved for future generations. He is also instrumental in acquiring a professional landscaper, and preserving the fence that surrounds the monument. It’s a unique fence that is no longer manufactured today. The entire monument looks magnificent, all shiny and clean. It was so wonderful to see the monument brought back to its original glory.
2011 Holyoke Soldier's Monument Preserved
2011 Holyoke Soldier's Monument Preserved
Cesar Lopez is the kind of person that makes you realize how important each and every one of us is. He came to the United States in 1977 from the Dominican Republic. He lived in New York City and attended George Washington High School before coming to Holyoke in 1988. He is proud of being an immigrant and of being a citizen of the United States of America.
Holyoke is lucky to have such a good and wholesome person take on this project; I hope he runs for Mayor some day. He would definitely win with his no-nonsense; get the job done attitude. By the way, he never took a dime for all the stupendous work he did on the monument.
I asked him why he preserved the monument and he said, "The Holyoke Soldier's monument is an important symbol for city veterans and that we should preserve our heritage for future generations."
Together we raised $11,274.29 by having a concert, selling calendars and calling on local residents and businesses. There are countless contributors and advocates to numerous to mention here. You can go to the Republican Newspaper archives to retrieve all of their names.
It is uplifting to see so many citizens in Holyoke who have shown their respect to our brave veterans by contributing their time, talents and funds for the preservation of this grand monument that Holyoke is so fortunate to have in Veterans Park
I would like to thank Ann Marie Heiser, Recreation, Parks and Youth
Director for the city of Westfield, Judith Miller Conlin, Chair of the
Southampton Center Cemetery and Carolyn Porter, former Director of the Holyoke
Parks and Recreation Department and Terry Shepard, acting Director for all their support in helping me raise the
funds to preserve these magnificent monuments. A special thanks to two
incredable veterans, Henry
Jennings the chair of the Holyoke War Memorial Building and Cesar Lopez.. I would also like to thank David
Reid, a former reporter for the Republican newspaper for his outstanding research on
the artist who designed and sculpted the Holyoke Soldiers Monument. Most
importantly, I would like to thank my husband Tommie Sears for his unyielding love and devotion.
You can still donate to the monument for the restoration of the wrought iron
fence that surrounds the monument by calling the Holyoke Parks and Recreation
Department at 322-5620. Thank you.
You can still donate to the monument for the restoration of the wrought iron fence that surrounds the monument by calling the Holyoke Parks and Recreation Department at 322-5620. Thank you.
If you would
like to see the monument stay in good shape, you can purchase a print at the Holyoke Parks and Recreation
Department at 322-5620.