Salem

IMG_3920
Salem monument (Essex County)

Location: Greenlawn Cemetery, 57 Orne Street
Coordinates: 42°31’55.1″N 70°54’17.2″W
Date dedicated: November 5, 1886
Architect/Sculptor/Manufacturer: Monumental Bronze Company (manufacturer)

Salem’s monument in Greenlawn Cemetery was dedicated on November 5, 1886. General William Cogswell, a lawyer and politician from Salem, gave the keynote remarks. The primary inscription on the monument reads, “For what he was and what he dared, remember him today.”

The monument was cast of white bronze (zinc) by the Monumental Bronze Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut. The color-bearer figure was one of their popular designs and can be found on monuments across the country, including one in Carver and another in Douglas, Massachusetts. The company was founded by M.A. Richardson, a former cemetery superintendent of Chautauqua County, New York. He perfected the process of casting white bronze in 1868 and established his company in Bridgeport in 1879. Monumental Bronze also produced a zinc design of an infantryman at rest which can be found in many Massachusetts towns. Zinc was a less expensive alternative to bronze and was believed to more durable than granite. Over time, however, many zinc monuments have slightly buckled under their own weight.

IMG_3922Also located on the site is a new marker, dedicated on Memorial Day 2016, in memory of Yeoman Thomas Atkinson, a Medal of Honor recipient from Salem. Atkinson joined the Navy in 1842 at age 18 and first served as a petty officer on the USS Congress. In September 1860 he was transferred to the USS Richmond, a vessel which would be involved in some of the most pivotal Naval actions of the war, including the bombardment of Vicksburg and Port Hudson on the Mississippi and the Battle of Mobile Bay.

His Medal of Honor citation reads, in part, “Commended for coolness and energy in supplying the rifle ammunition which was under his sole charge, in the action in Mobile Bay on the morning of 5 August 1864.”

Atkinson remained in the Navy after the war. He died at sea in 1868 at age 44 and was buried, according to the Medal of Honor Historical Society of the United States, in an unmarked grave on the island of San Lorenzo off the coast of Peru.

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