Rededication of Easton Soldiers’ Monument (Bristol County). See gallery below for additional images.

EastonLocation: Intersection of Depot and Center Streets, Easton
Coordinates: 42°02’09.3″N 71°05’53.3″W
Date dedicated: May 30, 1882
Architect/Sculptor: James G. Batterson’s New England Granite Works, design and manufacturer; Carl Conrads, sculptor
Number of names: 47 lost in the war

Easton’s Civil War monument was rededicated on June 19, 2023 after the culmination of a long project to move the monument from the center of a busy intersection. The ceremony not only honored those from Easton who died in the war but also celebrated Juneteenth, or “Emancipation Day,” which marks the anniversary of the day in 1865 when Union troops finally brought news of Emancipation to enslaved people in Texas. Speakers during Easton’s ceremony reflected on the sacrifices made by Union soldiers, the meaning of Juneteenth both to formerly enslaved people after the war and to the black community today, and the unfinished work that still lies ahead to dismantle systemic racism. 

The location of the Civil War monument might seem an out of the way place today, however, as shown in the historical photo below, the location once held more civic importance as it was then the site of the Town Hall. The building has since been razed and the town offices relocated. The monument, of course, remained, and for decades sat isolated on a traffic island in a dangerous intersection where few ventured to get a better look at it. The monument was moved in the summer of 2022 with the 2000 pound statue being moved first on July 11, 2022. The intersection has been reconfigured and monument is now located in small, accessible and attractive park. Of the 334 men from Easton served in the Civil War, 47 died. Their names are inscribed on the pedestal of the granite memorial.

The statue was produced by James G. Batterson, founder and owner of the New England Granite Works of Hartford, one of the largest monument producers in the country. Batterson was an interesting figure–a true renaissance man, successful as a businessman, inventor, sculptor, scientist, and Egyptologist among other things. He had several sculptors working for him on contract over the years. Perhaps the best was Carl Conrads who sculpted Easton’s monument. He also sculpted the colossal “American Volunteer” for the Antietam National Cemetery. Smaller versions of the “American Volunteer” were made for various towns including Braintree and a fine marble version in Lexington. Easton’s is not an exact copy but one can see stylistic similarities to the “American Volunteer.” Copies of Easton’s statue (but clean-shaven) can be found in Taunton and Franklin among other places.

The Town Hall has since been removed

For the original dedication in 1882, Charles R. Ballard, the town librarian, composed a lengthy poem. One verse read, “Safe may it stand, where three ways meet, To catch the traveler’s peering eye, To check betimes his hurrying feet, And prompt him meekly to draw nigh. And read the names recorded here, Of those who once War’s havoc braved. And offer thanks and praise sincere for home and friends and Nation saved.” Now that the monument has been relocated, travelers can once again “draw nigh.”

Click to enlarge images:

Leave a Reply