Essex

Essex Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument (Essex County). See below for additional images.

Location: Next to Town Hall, 30 Martin Street, Essex
Coordinates: 42°37’54.3″N 70°46’58.3″W
Date dedicated: May 30, 1905
Sculptor/manufacturer: Ames & Snow of Lynn, contractor; (statue likely supplied by Smith Granite Company)

The Essex Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument was built through the efforts of the O. H. P. Sargent Women’s Relief Corps Post 114 of that town. The WRC was a female auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic (the Civil War veterans’ organization) and its various posts frequently led memorialization efforts in their own towns. It was paid for through various fairs and small donations. The WRC president was Mrs. Mary A. Kimball led the fundraising efforts. It was constructed by Ames & Snow Co. of Lynn, Massachusetts.[1]

Monument and Essex Town Hall

The statue was likely supplied by the Smith Granite Company of Westerly, Rhode Island as it is virtually identical to other known examples of their infantryman statue. Period accounts indicate that the monument was made primarily from Westerly granite, further increasing the likelihood of the Smith Granite Company’s involvement. The lower base is made from Rockport granite.

The monument was dedicated on Memorial Day 1905 by the WRC and Grand Army of the Republic Post 152 of Essex. The primary inscription reads, “To the loyal sons of Essex who fought for the Union 1861-1865, Erected through the efforts of WRC Co. 114.” During the dedication, the oration was given by Rev. Charles H. Puffer of Salem’s First Universalist Church.[2]

A total of 186 Essex men fought in the war and of these, 24 died. The first large group of them to enlist consisted of 48 who answered the June 1861 call for three-years volunteers. Many of these ended up in the 19th Massachusetts and 23rd Massachusetts Infantry Regiments, both of which were predominantly made up of Essex County men. In 1862, a large group of 30 Essex men signed up with 48th Massachusetts, a company of which was eventually commanded by Capt. Charles Howes of Essex. The formation of this regiment was a difficult process as it was created from six companies from Essex company (who originally intended to fill out their own regiment) and four companies of Irish immigrants primarily from Boston (who also had planned to form their own regiment). The first months of service for this organization were contentious but they eventually settled their differences and saw heavy combat during the Siege of Port Hudson, Louisiana.[3]

Spring Street Cemetery Monument

Location: 24 Spring Street, Essex
Coordinates: 42°38’12.8″N 70°46’45.6″W
Date dedicated: 1909
Sculptor/manufacturer: Unknown

The monument in Spring Street Cemetery was placed in 1909 by the Women’s Relief Corps Post 114. It records the names of the 24 men from Essex who died in the war. As their names were not included on the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument by Town Hall, it was evidently seen as a priority that the names of the fallen be memorialized in some public place. Of these, 8 were killed in action or died of wounds received in battle, 16 died of disease (two of these while in Confederate prisons), and 1 died in an accident.[4]

[1] Boston Herald, May 31, 1905, 5; and “Essex Town Hall National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form,” 29-30.
[2] Boston Herald, May 31, 1905, 5.
[3] Albert Plummer, History of the Forty-Eighth Regiment M.V.M. during the Civil War, (Boston: Press of the New England Druggist Publishing Co., 1907), 11 and 17.
[4] Duane Hamilton Hurd, History of Essex County, Massachusetts, (Philadelphia: J. W. Lewis & Co., 1888), vol 2, 1184.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s