Due to some singular historical circumstances, Ware is home to war memorials of several different towns (including her own, of course). Three of these qualify as Civil War monuments (belonging to Ware, Enfield, and Dana). The latter two monuments are located in Quabbin Park Cemetery and were moved there when those towns were disincorporated due to the flooding of the Swift River Valley to create the Quabbin Reservoir, supplying the City of Boston with fresh drinking water.

First, Ware’s own monument…

Location: Aspen Grove Cemetery, Pleasant Street, Ware
Coordinates: 42°15’49.1″N 72°14’39.9″W
Date dedicated: 1867
Architect/designer/manufacturer: Unknown

Local historian Arthur Chase recorded some brief observances of Ware’s history during the war. He noted that there were sporadic enlistments during the spring and summer of 1861 but “war fever” reached its pitch in Ware in the fall. In October 1861, a war meeting was organized in connection with the county agricultural fair that took place in Ware that year. This resulted in about 60 enlistments—the bulk of a company which reported to Camp Seward in Pittsfield for training. They spent a very cold winter in camp doing little and trying not to freeze to death, according to the diary of Private Luther Fairbanks. They eventually became Company D of the 31st Massachusetts Infantry and in February 1862 were shipped to Louisiana, becoming part of General Benjamin Butler’s expedition to take New Orleans. Capt. William S. B. Hopkins of Ware commanded the company (and was eventually promoted to command of the entire regiment). According to Chase, the Ware Company was the first to land at New Orleans.[1]

In March 1863, the town appointed a committee to begin planning for a soldiers’ monument. This puts Ware among the earlier towns in Massachusetts to take steps in formally memorializing their losses in the war. As with most towns that established committees during the war, Ware’s committee waited until the end of hostilities before taking action. In 1866, they were authorized by a vote of the town to proceed with work. The monument, standing on a hill overlooking the entrance to Aspen Grove Cemetery, was completed in 1867. It lists the names of 45 men from the town who died in service.

Enfield Civil War Monument
Location: Quabbin Park Cemetery, Ware
Coordinates: 42°16’49.8″N 72°18’29.3″W
Date dedicated: July 3, 1916 (completed December 1907)
Architect/designer/manufacturer: A. W. Gray and C. F. Perry, Greenfield Marble and Granite Works, contractors; A. W. Gray, design; statue by W. H. Mullins Co. of Salem

Enfield’s Civil War monument has seen more than its share of troubles. It was built in 1907 on Enfield’s town common (a spot that now lies beneath the waters of the Quabbin Reservoir). The contractor was the Greenfield Marble and Granite Works and the design A. W. Gray, manager of that company along with C. F. Perry. The fine statue was produced by W. H. Mullins Co. of Salem.[2]

Dedication was postponed as controversy sprang up almost immediately about its placement. Mrs. Caroline Woods alleged that part of the town common actually belonged to her and that the monument had been placed on her property. She demanded its removal. Over the ensuing five years, this matter went all the way to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court which ruled in 1912 that the property belonged to the town and prohibited any removal of the monument.[3] It was finally dedicated on July 3, 1916 as part of the town’s 100th anniversary celebration. Alfred S. Roe of Worcester, former commander of the Massachusetts Department of the Grand Army of the Republic, and a popular public speaker who spoke at many monument dedications gave the oration.

The court’s 1912 ruling that the monument should not be removed is certainly ironic as Enfield eventually fell within the area slated for flooding in the 1930s to create the Quabbin Reservoir. An April 1938 Boston Globe article describes the desolation in the Swift River Valley as the demolition or removal of every structure and the felling of every tree was then ongoing. According to this article, Enfield’s Civil War monument still stood on what used to be the town common awaiting removal, but no one seemed to know where it would end up.[4]

Enfield Civil War monument on Enfield Town Common, July 30, 1937. (Image from Massachusetts Archives)

In fact—unbeknownst to the journalist and apparently many former Enfield residents—state officials had already selected a site in Quabbin Park Cemetery for the monument. The cemetery was created in 1931 to receive the remains from 6,601 graves removed from 34 different cemeteries in the Swift River Valley before it was flooded.[5] The new cemetery was carved out of 82 acres of farmland and woodland in Ware. The site chosen for war memorials from the discontinued towns Enfield, Dana, Prescott, and Greenwich (the only Civil War monuments are from Enfield and Dana) is located on a prominent knoll at the main entrance of the cemetery.

Memorial Day observances were held for the final time at Enfield’s Civil War monument on May 30, 1938. A reporter observed that “an unusual quiet prevailed” during the ceremony which was attended by just 60 individuals in the midst of a desolate scene that had once been a town center.[6] Precisely when the monument was moved to Quabbin Park Cemetery is not presently clear, but it was likely before the end of 1938.

Dana War Memorial
Location: Quabbin Park Cemetery, Ware
Coordinates: 42°16’49.6″N 72°18’29.1″W
Date dedicated: Unknown
Architect/designer/manufacturer: Unknown

Residents of the small town of Dana placed a monument of the honor roll variety on the common sometime after World War I. As it includes the names of those from the town who served in the Civil War, it will be included here as it serves, in part, as a Civil War monument.

Dana War Memorial in original location, Dana Town Common, July 30, 1937 (Image from Massachusetts Archives)

Information is scarce on this memorial. It was probably placed during the 1920s. Like Enfield’s Civil War monument, Dana’s smaller memorial remained on its original town common until the bitter end in 1938, after virtually all of the town’s structures had been demolished or removed. Again, like Enfield’s monument, the Dana memorial also saw its final Memorial Day ceremony in its original location on May 30, 1938. It was moved to Quabbin Park Cemetery at some point later that year.

[1] Arthur Chase, History of Ware, Massachusetts (Cambridge: The University Press, 1911), 198-199.

[2] Springfield Republican, December 14, 1907.

[3] Boston Evening Transcript, September 14, 1912, 3. The Sunday Union (Springfield), September 15, 1912, 12.

[4] Boston Globe, April 11, 1938, 3.

[5] Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, “About the Cemetery

[6] Springfield Republican, May 31, 1938, 2.

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