Sutton

Sutton Town Hall Memorial Tablets (Worcester County). See gallery below for additional images.

Location: Town Hall, 4 Uxbridge Road, Sutton
Coordinates: 42°08’58.5″N 71°45’44.7″W
Date dedicated: 1885
Architect/designer/manufacturer: Unknown

Sutton’s Town Hall was dedicated on February 27, 1885 with fitting ceremonies and speeches. It was designed by architects E. Boyden & Son of Worcester and built by H. W. Woods of Worcester.[1] It was not originally intended to be a war memorial but, according to the Town Clerk in 1910, “At the first town meeting in the new Town Hall, April 1885, it was moved by the Hon. Jason Waters that the edifice, in honor of the patriotic dead of the War of the Rebellion, be known as Memorial Hall and the motion was unanimously carried.”[2]

Sutton Town Hall, dedicated 1885

Pursuant to this vote, the town installed a set of marble tablets in the vestibule of the town hall. One records the names of the 21 men from Sutton who lost their lives in the war. The other three lists 168 Sutton residents who served in the Civil War. The names of three veterans of the Spanish American War were later added.

According to local historian Chris Sinacola, during a recruitment meeting in Sutton in July 1862, 15 year-old Herbert Kimball walked bare-footed over the backs of church pews to sign up. He was underage, but the crowd nonetheless applauded him and he enlisted with the 36th Massachusetts Infantry with 19 other young men from Sutton. Kimball fought in many of the war’s worst battles, was wounded twice, and met President Lincoln while recovering in hospital. He survived to live [3]

Five of the town’s war dead (about one-quarter) were killed in action during the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862. They were members of the 15th Massachusetts Infantry which, after a bold advance, were nearly surrounded by the enemy and caught in a terrible cross-fire in the West Woods, including friendly fire from the rear. In roughly twenty minutes 330 of the 600 men the unit brought into battle were killed or wounded. They were among 48 Sutton men who served with the 15th Massachusetts (the largest contingent of Sutton men in any regiment).

Click to enlarge images:

[1] Worcester Daily Spy, February 28, 1885, 5.
[2] H. C. Batcheller, Town Clerk, quoted in Alfred S. Roe, Monuments, tablets and other memorials erected in Massachusetts to commemorate the service of her sons in the war of the rebellion, 1861-1865, (Boston: Wright and Potter Printers, 1910), 111.
[3] Chris Sinacola, Sutton, Images of America Series, (Charleston, SC: Arcadia Press, 2003), 26.

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