Marion Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument (Plymouth County). See gallery below for additional images.

Location: In front of Marion Music Hall, 164 Front Street, Marion, MA
Coordinates: 41°42’14.9″N 70°45’47.0″W
Date dedicated: August 16, 1894
Architect/design: Monumental Bronze Company

The monument was produced by the Monumental Bronze Company and was cast in “white bronze” or zinc. The material, and the fact that they are hollow, made them an affordable option for smaller towns or out-of-the way cemetery monuments. The company produced many of this design (15 in Massachusetts) which they called, simply, “The Infantryman.” The owners of the company extolled the enduring nature of the medium which would last, they claimed in advertisements, long after granite monuments had crumbled away. Unfortunately, time has shown that white bronze monuments have a tendency to buckle and crack and several in Massachusetts have undergone restoration (see Belchertown, for example).

Marion’s monument was made possible mostly through the efforts of Charlton H. Wing who led a committee of veterans that raised more than half of the necessary funds from community members.[1] Wing then coordinated the task of securing the remaining funds through town meeting. He had served as an Ordinary Seaman in the U.S. Navy during the war. Enlisting at age 18 in New Bedford, Wing served on several different vessels during his three-year term.[2] His daughter, Florence Wing, pulled the cord that unveiled the monument during the dedication.

The primary inscription on the monument reads, “Marion erects this monument to the brave defenders of the Union in grateful remembrance of their valor and devotion.” While this was intended to be primarily a Civil War monument (and the form is made up of representations and symbols entirely related to the Civil War), it also includes the names of Marion men who lost their lives in the Revolution and the War of 1812.

Maj. Thomas W. Cook of New Bedford

During the dedication ceremony, Major Thomas Washburn Cook of New Bedford gave the oration of the day. He was a veteran of both the Navy and the Army, a former state senator and Grand Army of the Republic post commander. Any record of his remarks are unfortunately not in evidence. Marion veterans did not have a GAR post of their own and many belonged to the William Logan Rodman Post No. 1 in New Bedford. Local veterans were therefore closely associated with those from “the Whaling City.” In keeping with these ties members of the New Bedford post generously supported Marion’s monument.[3]

Perhaps it will not be surprising that in this seaside town, a very large percentage of those who served enlisted with the Navy. It is worth noting, however, that the proportion in Marion was unusually large. Nearly half (42 out of 99) of Marion’s servicemen were in the Navy.

Click images to enlarge:

[1] 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), 75-76.

[2] Adjutant General’s Office, Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the Civil War (Brookline, MA: Riverdale Press, 1935), v. 8, 870.

[3] “In Memoriam. A Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument Dedication at Marion,” Boston Morning Journal, August 17, 1894, 3.

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