Friday, May 31, 2019

Memorial Day, Westboro, MA, 1879

I was going to follow up the last post with more about Austin Stearns, but seeing we just celebrated another Memorial Day, I thought it might be appropriate to re-visit a previous Memorial Day. The following comes from the Digital Archives of the Westboro Library, where they have digitized their historical newspapers.

Transcribed by Bradley M. Forbush, 2019. NOTE: I have tried to be totally accurate in this transcription by proofreading the names at least twice. Several typos & formatting errors were corrected. When transcribing these long articles, and proofing them invariably mistakes still slip in. I have done my best to fix them. — B.F. April 8, 2019.


Memorial Day.

Memorial day was observed in Westboro by exercises at the Town hall, a procession, and the decorating of soldiers graves. Flags were also floating from the Town Hall, National Straw Works, and at other points, and the stores were closed during the early afternoon hours.

The exercises began at the hall at 2 o’clock P.M. On the platform was the President of the Day and Marshal, J. W. Fairbanks, Esq.; the Orator of the Day, Rev. H. P. DeForest; [DeForest authored the soldiers’ war records for the book “History of Westboro, MA” — B.F.] the Chaplain, Rev. J. P. Forbes; and the Selectmen, Dr. Wm. Curtis, and Messrs. William M. Blake and Israel H. Bullard. Prayer was offered by the chaplain, after which there was singing by a quartette — Mrs. E. B. Harvey, Miss Sadie Arnold, and Messrs. Elijah Eddy and D. P. Brigham — with Miss S. E. Burnap as organist.

The Oration was next in order. The speaker’s theme was patriotism and the political lessons of the war.

Mr. DeForest began by saying he would he were able to speak just the words fit for this hour. The sad and exacting duties of the past week had interfered, but knew that his audience would appreciate the circumstances. He referred to the fact that some would leave the decoration of soldiers’ graves to rain and sunshine, and deprecated such counsel, pleading an observance of the day that the heroic deeds of the fallen might not be forgotten and the lessons they taught lost. After speaking of the attack on the nation’s life and the uprising of the people in defense of the government, he alluded to the suffering of the four years of that terrible war and the suffering that followed, the full measure of which none but the recording angel could tell. He then dwelt at length on patriotism and the duty of American citizens. Never before had the world seen such an army as we had, because it was an army that thought and felt. The main spring of its great uprising was patriotism, and we to-day believe it more than when we witnessed it. It is patriotism that we honor; patriotism which the soldier helped us to see — for patriotism is sacrifice. Having seen the genuine patriotism we are not deceived by the counterfeit. Patriotism is an unselfish love of country. It begins in youth as a sentiment, but does not obtain its growth without education. Patriotism does not say my country right or wrong, but patriotism says my country must be right as far as I can make her right. The true love of patriotism, like all true love, seeks the highest things for her beloved and will not be satisfied with anything else.

Our weapons to-day are ballots and not bullets. The schools and the pulpits and the press are our weapons. The soldiers went forth for need of country and who dare say that the country does not to-day need the services of her loyal sons as when the guns of the rebellion opened fire upon her flag. While there is hope for a united country, with no North, no South, no East, no West, there are extremists in all sections who seek only personal ends. The call for pure patriotism to-day is incessant. The call comes to us from the graves we are about to decorate. “See that we have not died in vain.” The prize they sought may be lost unless we do our duty. The same enemy is seeking to make the ballot a farce, and Congress a political machine. They favor lessing the appropriations for schools, knowing that ignorance among the people is to the advantage of demogogues. The power is in the hands of the people by education and the ballot. The danger is that the people shall fail to exercise their privileges. The country demands education and the purity of the ballot. We should class place hunters and those who will not act as something of the same genus as the copperheads that existed during the war. Many doubt whether a republic like ours can be permanently successful, but it will succeed if the people are intelligent, upright and patriotic. The world looks on us with skeptical unbelief. It is not for us to be skeptical but to believe in our country; else we are not worthy of our brothers — the heroic dead who were not afraid to die for the republic. Days like this arouse latent patriotism and cause people to realize that the claims of patriotism and country are incessant. The same voice that called for troops to suppress the rebellion is calling for us to defend the country’s interests constantly and to the end. We owe it to our country to educate the people, prize righteousness, espouse only the true and honorable, and put no faith in dishonest measures to promote honest ends. By the carelessness and neglect of true citizens, more than from ignorance and corruption is our country in danger.

These are no dead issues which call us here to-day. Let it not pass by unobserved. It is a day sacred to the memory of the patriot dead and the patriot living.

 For want of space and time we give but the above imperfect sketch of Mr. DeForest’s excellent address. It held the undivided attention of the gratified audience during its delivery, and was frequently applauded by sympathizing hearers.

More singing by the quartette was then followed by the closing prayer.

The procession was then formed by the marshal. It consisted of 27 men in line, bearing flowers and wreaths, and two hacks, one occupied by disabled soldiers and the other by officers of the day. Preceded by fife and drum — O. Kimball playing the former and Festus Faulkner beating the latter — and with the national colors waving over its ranks, the procession moved to the several cemeteries, where, with appropriate exercises, they deposited their floral tributes and planted miniature flags. Returning to the soldiers monument, flowers were deposited in memory of the unreturned, after which all united in singing”America” previous to the pronouncement of the benediction by the chaplain.

The entire programme was impressively rendered and successfully carried out. J. W. Fairbanks, Chas. E. Long, M. H. Walker, S. O. Staples and D. S. Witherbee were the committee of arrangements.

The graves of the following persons were then decorated, those marked with an * having died since the war:

Lower Cemetery.
*J. W. Miller, *Samuel Wright, *Henry Ward, *F. A. Wiswall, W. H. Blake, John S. Burnap, *J. F. Robinson, *Alvah Kittredge, *J. H. Holland, D. B. Miller, Capt. G. Orne, Minot C. Adams, *Joseph Cushing, *N. B. Dodge, W. Ferguson, (1812), *S. N. Brigham (navy), *A. E. Harlow, (navy), *W. A. Smith (navy), *Henry H. Hall, *Charles Brigham, *Samuel Brown, *Isaac Gould.

Cemetery between South and School streets.
*Chas. H. Hardy, *J. H. Fairbanks, *Henry A. Harris, *John Harriden, Geo. C. Harriden.

Catholic Cemetery
*P. McCarty, * Wm. Dee, *Michael McCoy, *Martin Stinson.

The Unreturned.
H. W. Bond, John Copeland, Thomas Copeland, George Chickering, Chas. S. Carter, *Patrick Crowe, W. H. Denney, T. Driscoll, James Doherty, *Geo. R. Douglas, H. H. Fairbanks, John Flye, W. H. H. Greenwood, John A. Hart, A. W. Haskell, F. E. Hanley, Frank E. Kempt, *C. W. Kidder, Wm. C. Loker, J. W. Marsh, *H. C. Ross, J. H. Sullivan, H. O. Smith, *A. L. Sanborn, I. E. Walker, P. Casey.

The following is the list of those who died or were killed in the service:

Minot C. Adams, died at Florence, S. C., starvation and neglect, Nov. 1, 1864. William H. Blake, died at Harrisburg, Va., June 6, 1864, while prisoner of war, of wounds received in battle. John S. Burnap, died at Williamsport, Md., of exposure, Dec. 10, 1861. Herbert W. Bond, killed at the battle of the Wilderness, Va., May 6, 1864. Charles S. Carter, died Oct. 22, 1864, of starvation and neglect, at Florence, S. C., while prisoner of war. George S. Chickering, died Nov. 1, 1864, at Florence, S.C., while prisoner of war. John Copeland, died of starvation in Georgia, while prisoner of war. Thomas Copeland, killed at the battle of Centerville, [2nd Bull Run — B.F.] Va., Aug. 30, 1862. Abner W. Haskell, wounded in battle of Deep Run, Aug. 16, 1864, and died soon after. Francis E. Kempt, died at Andersonville, Ga., Oct. 24, 1864, of chronic diarrhoea. William C. Loker, died a Falls Church, Va., Jan. 9, 1865, of typhoid pneumonia. Jeremiah W. Marsh, died of wounds received May 6, 1864. Daniel B. Miller, killed June 15, 1861, at Groton, Ct., by being thrown under the cars while the regiment was on its way to Washington, D.C. Herbert O. Smith, died in Andersonville prison, Aug. 28, 1864, of chronic diarrhoea. James H. Sullivan, killed at the battle of Newborn, N.C., March 14, 1862. Irving E. Walker, died at Florence, S.C., Nov. 1, 1864, of starvation and exposure. William Denny, died in the hospital of typhoid fever. Timothy Driscoll, died of an accident which occurred on the field of battle. Hollis Fairbanks, killed at second battle of Bull Run, Aug. 30, 1862. John Flye, died July 27, 1863, from wounds received in battle of Gettysburg, after lying on the field three days after the battle. William H. H. Greenwood, instantly killed in the battle of the Wilderness, by a bullet through the head, May 6, 1864. Francis E. Hanley, died July 5, 1862, of wounds received in battle. George C. Harriden, died of heart disease at Williamsport, Md., Dec. 22, 1861. John A. Hart, wounded in the battle of the Wilderness from the effects of which he died at Heywood [Harewood? — B.F.] Hospital, Washington, D. C., May 26, 1864.

The following is a complete list of the solders and sailors in the naval service of the United States from the town of Westboro during the rebellion begun in 1861. Adams, Minot C.
Adams, John Q.
Aldrich, Wm. M.
Adrich, Geo. S.
Allen, Augustus
Arnold Abert A.
Bacon, Charles W.
Bailey, David M.
Bailey, Walter
Ballou, Geo. S.
Barker, Ira*
Barstow Sidney
Bartlett, Warren
Beals, Isaiah H.
Bellows, Geo. N.
Bemis, Hiram C.
Bennett, Dexter W.
Berryhill, William ***
Black, Robert
Blackmer, Wm. P.
Blake, William M.
Blake, William F.
Blake, Wm. H.
Blanchard, Chas. W.
Bond, John S.
Bond, Herbert W.
Boulie, Peter
Boutelle, Lewis H.
Bowman, John W.
Boynton, Alden L.
Braley, Ellison L.
Braley, Frank G.
Brigham, Charles E.
Brigham, Calvin L.
Brigham, Dexter P.
Brigham, Albert
Brigham, Charles R.
Brigham, Sam’l N.*
Brigham, Geo. C.
Brigham, Harrison M.
Brigham, Silas H.
Brigham, Francis A.
Brigham, Warren L.
Brown, William
Bullard, Emery
Bullard, Israel H.
Bullard, Martin
Bullard, Francis W.
Burgess, Charles B.
Burnap, John S.
Burnap, Henry A.
Burns, John
Burns, James
Burns, Patrick
Burns, Patrick (2 entries-BF)
Call, G. L. ***
Calverly, John
Card, William J.
Carter, Andrew P.
Carter, Chas. S.
Carter, James D.
Cary, Thomas
Casey, Patrick
Cavey, Michael
Chamberlain, Spencer
Chapin, David N. ++
Chapman, Lorenzo A.
Chase, Frederick D.
Chevalier, Napoleon
Chickering, Geo. S.
Child, Wm. M.
Churchill, Ezra
Clark,Charles E.
Clements, Edward
Clemons, Walter
Cole, Jefferson K.
Conroy, James
Coolidge, Victor
Copeland, John
Copeland, Thomas
Cross, Allan W.
Crowe, Patrick
Crowe, Patrick ++ (2 entries-BF)
Crowe, Michael
Crowe, James
Crowe, John
Crowley, John H.
Cummings, Gilbert, Jr.
Cushman, Wm. H.
Davis, Theodore L.
Davis, Geo. L.
Dee, William
Dee, John
Delano, Reuben
Delevenne, Godfried
Denny, William
Doherty, James
Dolan, Michael
Donovan, Ira L.
Donovan, Jackson
Donovan, Byron
Douglass, George R.
Drayton, Charles
Driscoll, Timothy
Drummond, William H.
Dudley, Edward A.
Dunn, Patrick
Durgin, James F.
Dyer, Thomas B.
Edwards, William H.
Emery, Geo. F.
Estey, Edward S.
Fairbanks, Joseph, H.
Fairbanks, John W.
Fairbanks, Freeman
Fairbanks, Hollis H.
Fairbanks, Henry A.
Fairbanks, Geo. W.
Fairbanks, Willard W.
Fairbanks, Almer A.
Fairbanks, Charles A.
Fairbanks, Benj. N.
Fanin, James
Fannon, Bernard
Fay, William W.
Fay, Charles M.
Fay, Waldo L.
Fayerweather, Geo. T.
Fayerweather, Geo. J.
Fayerweather, Henry E.
Faulkner, David B.
Faulkner, Festus, Jr.
Ferguson, Geo. A.
Ferguson, Henry C.
Fisher, Charles P.
Fisher, William
Flagg, Henry C.
Fletcher, William C.
Fletcher, Geo. W.
Flinn, Patrick
Fly, John
Forbes, Willis A.
Forbush, Alonzo G.
Forbush, William H.
Foster, Henry S.
Foster, John A.
Freeman, Henry A.
Gilmore, John A.
Glidden, John
Goss, Chas. A.
Graham, Roland ***
Green, Myron D.
Greenwood, Charles
Greenwood, Charles O.
Greenwood, Wm. H. H. ++
Greenwood, Abner R.
Hale, Geo. F.
Hanley, Francis E.
Hannon, Michael C.
Haraden, John W.
Haraden, Geo. C.
Hardy, Charles H.
Harlow, Albert E*
Harrenslayer, Fred’k
Harrington, Chas. A.
Harrington, Francis
Harrington Frank A.
Harrington, Edwin F.
Harrington, Charles L.
Harris, Henry A.

Harrison, John K.
Hart, John A.
Hartwell, Geo. E.
Haskell, Lyman
Haskell, Charles B.
Haskell, Abner W.
Hathaway, Bowers C.
Hayward, James
Hazzard, Thomas R.
Heaphy, Patrick
Heath, Carlos T.
Henry, Chas. L.
Hill, John M.
Hodgkins, Hiram G.
Holland, Jas. H.
Howe, Charles M.
Howe, Charles S.
Howe, John W.
Horton, Myron J.
Hudson, Edward
Janes, Elijah C. (not James-BF)

Joan, Antonio
Johnson, John W.
Johnson, William H.
Jones, John
Jones, Samuel R.
Keevan, Edward
Keevan, Thomas
Kelley, John
Kemp, Francis E.
Kidder, Chas. W.
Killkenny, Patrick
Kimball, William B.
Kimball, Frederick W.
Kinders, Samuel B*
Kirkup, Charles A.
Kittredge, Alvah B.
Lackey, Geo. A.
Lackey, Robert S.
Lackey, Charles T.
Lackey, John
Lakin, Geo. B.
Lamson, Charles H.
Laughlin, John
Lebean, Joseph
Lee, Edward
Lincoln, Erastus M.
Little, John
Loker, WIlliam C.
Long, Charles E.

Longley, Joseph G.
Longley, Charles O.
Longley, Geo. A.
Loughlin, Richard
Lovell, Alden
Lowd, Charles 2d
Loud, Albert L.*
Lowell, Edward
Lowheed, Robert H.***
Lucas, Elisha S.
Lynch Michael
Magner, William
Mahoney, James
Mann, Samuel W.
Marsh, Jeremiah W.
Martin, Thomas
McCarthy, Patrick
McCarthy, Daniel ++
McCarthy, John ***
McCoy, William
McCoy, Michael
McCue, Timothy
McHough, Thomas
McKendry, Geo. A.
McNulty, Richard ***
Miller, Josiah W.
Miller, Daniel B.
Miller, William A.
Mitchell, Lowell P.
Mockley, John
Moody, John W.
Morin, John
Morrissey, Andrew
Morse, Geo. B.
Mortimer, Wm. ***
Murphy, Thomas
Murphy, John
Newton, Frank A.
Nichols, Charles O.
Nichols, Augustus F.
Nourse, S. Whitney
O’Dea, Michael
Parker, Chas. O.
Pierce, Chas. H.
Pike, Marshall S.
Powers, Michael
Priest, Edmund H.
Quinn, Martin
Rice, Charles A.
Rice, John
Rice, Henry G.
Rice, Amos
Richards, Henry V.
Robbins, Chandler
Robbins, Arthur W.
Roberts, Edward
Roberts, John ***
Robinson, James F.
Robinson, John T.
Rogers, William E.
Ross, Harvey C.
Russell, Thomas
Sanborn, Alfred L.
Sanderson, John W.
Sandra, Francis H.
Sanger, John W.
Sargent, John G.
Searles, George B.
Searles, George W.
Shambeau, Foster
Shehan, Patrick J.
Sibley, WIlliam H.
Sibley, Prescott
Slattery, James
Slattery, Thomas
Smith, WIlliam A*
Smith, Herbert O.
Squier, Silas P.
Staples, Jeremiah
Staples, Samuel O.
Stevens, William H. ***
Stone, J. Henry
Stone, Frank L.
Stone, Geo. H.
Stone, Frank A.
Stone, Frank S.
Stone, Edgar V.
Sullivan, James H.
Sullivan, Timothy G.
Sullivan, Andrew
Sweeney, J. Frank
Taft, Solomon J.
Tarr, Caleb*
Tidd, Squier S.

Trowbridge, Alfred L.
Turner, Melzar G.
Walker, Lyman S.
Walker, Cephas W.
Walker, Irvin E.
Walker, Melvin H.
Walker, Geo. A.
Wallace, Austin
Ware, Charles A.
Warner, William R.
Warren, Stephen
Warren, Geo. W.
Warren, Harris C.
Weld, Salem T.

Wheeler, John C.
Williams, Charles H.
Winslow, Charles P.
Wiswall, Frederick A.
Witherbee, Daniel T.
WItherbee, Harlan F.
Wood, Edwin D.
Woodman, Robert
Woodside, Samuel
Wright, Joseph W.

Names marked with an * served in the navy; ++ both army and navy; *** secured from other towns for quota by Selectmen.

 Whole number 338 — a patriotic exhibit for a town which had a population of 2,913 souls in 1860, and 3,141 in 1865.

Transcribed by Bradley M. Forbush, 2018. Reviewed and corrected April 8, 2019. Names were double checked each review. Errors were found and corrected. — BF

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Westboro Town Records & Sgt. Austin Stearns Friends

Austin Stearns memoirs begin, “My native town failing to raise a company and hearing that Westboro wanted a few more men to make her company full, six of us Bear Hill boys came over and offered ourselves.   We were voted in and commenced to drill immediately.

…The Company was known as the “Westboro Company,” but men from Shrewsbury, Southboro, Hopkinton, and Upton were in its ranks.”

Sergeant Stearns does not go into more detail than that, about his hometown friends, but the town of Westboro kept impeccable records, and the Westboro Library has been digitizing many of their archival documents from the town’s 300 year history.  Among them are a few papers documenting the Westboro Rifle Company.

From these, we can learn Stearns companions from Bear Hill, were William H. Gassett, his brother Thomas R. Gassett, Jonathan Stearns, Austin’s brother, Willard Wheeler, & Daniel S. Warren.  This is because, the town of Westboro billed the town of Hopkinton for $128.27 to pay for the uniforms and equipments issued to these men, plus another recruit from that town.

Here’s what the men got:

7 Uniforms Coat, Pants, Caps  14.63      102.41
7 Fatigue Suits         2.25        15.75
  7 Haversacks     33 1/3         2.33
7 Bass? Sewing Materials &c      34 2.38
14 Towels       10              1.40
    Bill rendered June 20, 1861        $124.27

2.25     33 1/3     44
1 Fatigue Coat, Havelock. &c  for Remit               3.77
        $ 128.14
Rect Pay 128.14

The Town Selectmen of Westboro had voted at a meeting April 25, 1861, “that the Town appropriate Five Thousand Dollars, to be expended in the purchase of Uniforms — pay of men while Drilling — and for pay in addition to the amount paid by government.

The town of Southboro was billed $319.17 for 19 men on June 20.  The town of Upton was billed $189.02 for 6 men on June 20.  The Southboro bill included 5 weeks pay for drilling the men.   A tally shows the total monies furnished by Westboro and the surrounding towns for outfitting and training the men.

Southboro furnished 18 men and paid their proportion for Uniforms, $327.17

Upton furnished 9 men and paid for Uniforming and board while drilling $189.

Shrewsbury furnished 9 men and paid for Uniforming with fatigue dress $34.58

Total = $550.75


Much of this is documented in the wonderful book, “History of Westborough Massachusetts” by H.P. DeForest and E.C. Bates, 1891.  But the town history leaves out the names of the individual recruits and the amount of money paid from neighboring towns.

Getting back to Austin Stearns friends, they didn’t fare too well.  William [Henry] Gassett, age 18 was wounded at Antietam and was discharged for disability.  Austin Stearns carried his wounded friend off the battlefield.   His brother Thomas age 21, was killed in action at the same battle.  Jonathan Stearns, age 19,  made it through the 3 years service and mustered out August 1, 1864 with his brother. Jonathan settled in Philadelphia. He is rarely mentioned in Austin’s memoir.   Willard Wheeler, age 25, was killed at Gettysburg, July 1, 1863.  Dan Warren did okay.  He made it through the 3 year term of enlistment, then re-enlisted into the 39th Regiment, and then the 32nd Regiment.  He mustered out of Federal service June 2, 1865.

Pictured are Dan Warren, left and John Flye, Company K Cooks,  in camp at Williamsport, MD; 1861-62.

The Westboro Library Digital Collections contain some remarkable documents going back to Colonial Days.  Local History Librarian Anthony Vaver has also done a great thing by digitizing the Ebenezer Parkman Diaries.  Parkman was the town’s minister 1724 - Dec. 1792 and he kept a faithful diary for most of the 79 years of his life.

I'll post more about Sergeant Stearns next.