Franklin

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Franklin Soldiers and Sailors Monument (Norfolk County)

Location: Town Common, 45 Union Street
Coordinates: 42°05’16.3″N 71°24’05.4″W
Date dedicated: May 30, 1903
Architect/contractor/sculptor: John B. Sullivan and Son, contractor; New England Granite Works, manufacturer; Carl Conrads, sculptor

The Franklin monument, located on the town common, was dedicated on Memorial Day, 1903. It was produced by New England Granite Works of Hartford Connecticut, a company which manufactured many Civil War monuments throughout the region. The statue (though not the pedestal) is identical to one in Taunton and nearly identical (with the addition of a mustache) to one in Easton. The original sculpture here replicated was rendered by Carl Conrads. Conrads is best known for having sculpted the massive “American Volunteer” which stands in Antietam National Cemetery as well as sculptures in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol.

The monument was a gift of Frederick Atwood Newell, born in Franklin but a resident of Attleboro for most of his life. He and his twin brother, Frank Newell, both 19 year-old farmers, enlisted in the 5th Massachusetts Infantry in July 1864 during that regiment’s third and final tour of duty. The call for regiments to serve a brief term of 100 days in the summer of 1864 was primarily intended to free up more experienced troops to serve in Grant’s ongoing Overland Campaign. The fresh units relieved veteran units on guard duty in and around Washington. The 5th Massachusetts served an uneventful term in Baltimore.

IMG_3605 (2)After the war, Frederick Newell became very successful in the jewel industry in Attleboro. He gave back to his native town not only through the donation of this monument but although through a school, a Grand Army of the Republic Hall, and other buildings. He also paid for the the re-landscaping of the common, which had been a “cause of mortification” to the town, in time for the dedication.[1]

On day of the dedication the Rev. G. Harry Holden of Meriden, Connecticut gave the oration. The primary inscription reads, “In Grateful Memory of the Men of Franklin Who Fought to Save the Union.” There are no names on the monument but it features the names of four major battles in which men from Franklin fought and died: Antietam, Petersburg, Spotsylvania and Gettysburg.

[1] Boston Herald, May 25, 1903, 1.