Falmouth

IMG_4967

Falmouth Memorial Library
Location: 300 Main Street, Falmouth
Coordinates: 41°33’10.2″N 70°36’50.8″W
Date dedicated: 1901
Architect/sculptor/manufacturer: Bacon & Mears, architects
Number of names: 65 who served

Approximately 150 volunteers were credited to Falmouth during the Civil War, though not all of them were Falmouth residents. This is typical for all towns, however in Falmouth’s case a much larger proportion than usual were from elsewhere. A whaling town at that time, Falmouth had difficulty filling its quota of soldiers due to the fact that many of its able-bodied men were off on long voyages to the Pacific. The town recruited a substantial number of volunteers–about half of the total–from outside Falmouth to meet its required numbers. Nineteen of them died of wounds or disease.[1]

Falmouth Memorial Library
As originally constructed (courtesy of the Falmouth Memorial Library, Robert Hunt Postcard Collection)

In 1901, the town built a Memorial Library, replacing the quarters that the library had occupied in the old wooden Town Hall since 1878. The structure still stands at the core of the existing library which has seen several additions. A significant portion of the funds came from a bequest by Mrs. Esther E. Beebe, widow of James M. Beebe, a millionaire who made his fortune in the dry goods business. Her bequest spurred the construction of the 1901 memorial building.[2]

The library, according to a plaque which once hung in the main entry foyer, was “erected by the citizens as a memorial to the soldiers and sailors of the Town of Falmouth who during the War of the Rebellion helped to make this a free and united country.” Below this inscription are the names, listed by regiment, of the 65 residents of Falmouth who served in the war. Being a seafaring town, it is perhaps no surprise that an unusually large portion of them, 20 in all, served in the Navy. The largest group, 28 of them, served in Company H of the 38th Massachusetts Infantry. The 38th Massachusetts was organized in August 1862 and served until July 1865. They were assigned to the Department of the Gulf, taking part in numerous engagements in Lousiana–most notably the costly assaults on Port Hudson, the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi.

According to Christine M. Lynch in “A History of the Falmouth Public Library,” the memorial plaque was moved from the main foyer to a less prominent location “and rarely catches the eyes of those passing through.”[3] Nonetheless, the original memorialization of those who served from Falmouth remains intact and on display.

Falmouth plaque
Image courtesy of the Falmouth Memorial Library

IMG_4971Oak Grove Cemetery GAR Monument
Location: 46 Jones Road, Falmouth
Coordinates: 41°33’55.9″N 70°37’01.3″W
Date dedicated: Unknown
Architect/sculptor/manufacturer: Unknown
Number of names: None

The B. F. Jones Post No. 206 Grand Army of the Republic was established in Falmouth in 1901. It was named after Benjamin Franklin Jones, a Falmouth whaling captain who served in the U.S. Navy during the war. The post placed this monument in Oak Grove Cemetery. At least 26 Civil War veterans were buried in Oak Grove Cemetery.[4]

[1] Wicked Local Falmouth, “Falmouth museum marks anniversary of Lincoln assassination,” April 24, 2015; and Ann Sears and Nancy Kougeas for the Falmouth Historical Society, Falmouth, (Charleton: Arcadia Publishing, 2002), 36.
[2] Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System, “Falmouth Memorial Library,” FAL.711
[3] Christine M. Lynch, “A History of the Falmouth Public Library,” (Falmouth: C. M. Lynch, 2006), 15.
[4] Nathan S. Ellis, “The Oak Grove Cemetery of Falmouth: People That
Made America Great From the Revolution to Today
,” 12.

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