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Civil War Monument At Grove Cemetery

A meeting was held on October 24, 1861, which presented the first reference to the Civil War. A motion was made to set apart "Lot 24, Section A", and the grounds adjoining thereto, to be used for burials, free of charge, for the volunteers from Beaver County, who may die or be killed in the service of the present war.

Also in 1861, Edward Dempster Merrick, through the proceeds of the Philharmonic Society, presented $50 for the purchase and installation of a soldier's monument. After the passing of a several years, the monument was finally erected in 1883.

On Decoration Day, May 30, 1883, the whole town of New Brighton closed its doors to business, and the merchants and citizens of the vicinity focused their attention to the veterans of their community with the unveiling and dedication of the Soldiers Monument at Grove Cemetery. The high level of local post-war patriotism during this era made possible the collection of funds for the erection and dedication of this monument on that so befitting holiday.

The soldiers, whose names are engraved on the monument, are not buried in Grove Cemetery, even though they are local soldiers. These men didn't come home. Some sleep where they fell on the battlefield. Others rest in National cemeteries, southern prison graveyards or may be buried as unknown southern trench burials. These local soldiers, also, did not necessarily fight or die in the battles that are engraved on the four sides of the monument, being: Gettysburg, Antietam, Chancellorsville and Appomattox. To etch the names of significant battles into the sides of Civil War memorials was the trend of the era, even though the local soldiers may have not participated.

The granite portion of the Civil War monument at Grove Cemetery was manufactured by R.F. Carter of South Ryegate, Vermont, and is made of Ryegate granite. The column is 21 feet tall, and weighs over 5 tons. A representative from R.F. Carter came to Grove Cemetery to assist in the erection of the granite column. Grove Cemetery furnished the stone for the base of the monument, which is 7 feet square, and at one time was surrounded by a nice concrete walkway. The cemetery also made the
excavation and built the foundation for the monument. While transporting a portion of the column to the cemetery, Dixon and Molter, the haulers, broke through the bridge on the cemetery road, but no serious damage was done.

The soldier statue was 7 feet high and was manufactured by J.W. Fiske, of 21823 Barclay St., New York. It was made of zinc, as were many memorial statues of the day. Zinc soldier statues were cast in many pieces, and then attached to a metal sub-frame underneath, resulting in a
finished statue when all the pieces were joined together. Different finishes were available for zinc statues, a couple of them being a faux bronze or a faux granite finish.

Zinc has a tendency to "creep upon itself" and as a result, the
soldier statue had become so unstable that he was deemed unsafe.
Therefore, sometime between the 1970's and 80's, he was taken down. The Civil War monument still has no soldier statue on top to this day.

 

 

 

 

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