Shelburne Soldiers’ Monument (Franklin County). See gallery below for additional images.

Location: In Arms Cemetery, Mechanic Street, Shelburne
Coordinates: 42°36’59.2″N 72°43’59.5″W
Date dedicated: Installation began October 1868, dedication date unknown
Architect/design: Mitchell Granite Company of Quincy, MA

When the town of Shelburne considered where to place their monument in 1868, there was, as in many towns, disagreement as to the appropriate location. This debate often centered on whether a monument should be in a central location such as town square or common and thus in the heart of business and recreational activities as a prominent, every-day reminder…or, located in a more secluded spot more conducive quiet memorialization. Different towns came down of different sides of this argument and it could at times become quiet contentious.

Initially, Shelburne chose a central location on the town green next to the Baptist Church (no longer standing). Arrangements moved forward and the monument was hauled to that location. However, those favoring a more sacrosanct location eventually won out and the monument was erected in Arms Cemetery, a quiet spot well north of town.[1] Installation began in October 1868. The date of completion and dedication are presently unclear. The primary inscription reads, “In honor of the fallen soldiers of Shelburne.” The front of the monument also lists the numbers lost, “Killed or died of wounds 14/Died in Rebel prisons 5/Total 26 from all causes”

Overall, roughly 180 men from Shelburne served in the war. Approximately 40 men from Shelburne belonged to Company H of the 10th Massachusetts, a peacetime militia unit formed in 1857. It was the largest group of Shelburne men in any regiment (the second largest being 33 men who served with the 52nd Massachusetts Infantry, another unit recruited in western Massachusetts).[2]

Before the conflict erupted, Company H prepared for what seemed an inevitable war in response to the Governor’s general order to militia units to get organized and be in a state of readiness. They drilled and conducted marches through Shelburne, Buckland and Conway. By the time company was mustered in to federal service, it was considered well drilled and was assigned as a flank company of their regiment.[3] The saw their first serious combat during the spring of 1862 at the Battle of Fair Oaks. Henry C. Severance (a descendent of one of the first families to settle the town) was the first Shelburne soldier killed in action and died during this engagement.

Click photos to enlarge:

[1] History and Tradition of Shelburne Committee, History and Tradition of Shelburne, Massachusetts, (Springfield: Pond-Ekberg Co., 1958), 119.

[2] Massachusetts Adjutant General’s Office, Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the Civil War, (Boston: Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1931), vol 1 and 4.

[3] History and Tradition of Shelburne, 116.