South Hadley

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South Hadley Soldiers’ Monument (Hampshire County)

Location: Town Green, 20 College Street, South Hadley
Coordinates: 42°15’31.7″N 72°34’31.5″W
Date dedicated: September 23, 1896
Architect/sculptor/manufacturer: McGregory & Casman, contractor/construction; statue by Jerome Connor
Number of names: 11 men who died in the war

The monument was donated to the town by William H. Gaylord who owned a window blinds factory in town. A reporter for the Springfield Republican described him as not especially rich but nonetheless generous to the town. “Though not in the war himself,” the correspondent wrote, “and without having had any near relatives in it, he has yet always been interested in Grand Army matters…”[1]

The primary inscription reads, “This Monument is Erected to Commemorate the Loyalty and Patriotism of our Citizen Soldiers who Fought for Liberty and the Union in the Great Rebellion of 1861-1865.” On the west side is engraved an excerpt from Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address.” On the north side is a new plaque bearing the names of the 11 men from South Hadley who died in service. Originally, the monument did not included any names.

Connor, Jerome
Jerome Connor

It was constructed by McGregory & Casman, contractors of South Hadley. The pedestal is Quincy granite. The Westerly granite statue, which appears to be one-of-kind, was sculpted by Ireland native Jerome Connor (1874-1943). His family emigrated to Holyoke, Massachusetts where his father set up business as a stone cutter and bronze founder. Young Connor was self-taught, stealing his father’s tools from time to time to carve figures in rocks.[2] He eventually established his own studio in New York which, according to the Springfield Republican, is where this statue was carved. It was one of his first works from his own studio. Connor created many civic monuments during his career including the “Court of Neptune” fountains at the Library of Congress.

The dedication exercises began with a procession up College Street to the Common where several individuals made remarks. The young women of Mount Holyoke College, who had been given the day off, gave an impromptu rendition the “Star Spangled Banner” from the balcony of the old college building as the procession passed by, followed by the college yell. The crowd adjourned to the new Congregational Church for an oration given by veteran, former state senator, and historian Alfred S. Roe of Worcester. He spoke mainly of the Bay State’s exemplary record of service during the war.[3]

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[1] “South Hadley’s Memorial, Soldiers’ Monument Unveiled in Presence of Many Veterans,” Springfield Republican, September 24, 1896, 12.
[2] Jacqueline M. Sears, Legendary Local of Holyoke, Massachusetts, (Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2015), 80.
[3] “South Hadley’s Memorial”