State Web site lists Civil War monuments

Posted April 18, 2010, at 6:09 p.m.

I was saying just the other day that I really should put my “Civil War guy” on my “flowers loop” for Memorial Day.

Though I’ve visited the grave of great-great-great-grandparents Alfred and Olive (Nason) Hart many a time on Liberty Street in Dexter, I haven’t made a habit of honoring my Civil War ancestor who was born in England. I think that may change.

A recent press release from Gov. John Baldacci’s office noted that April 12 was the 149th anniversary of the first shot of the Civil War.

Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard and Fort Sumter weren’t really the point of the press release, though Baldacci pointed out, “Maine people should be proud of the role of the State of Maine in the effort to maintain the Union in the Civil War.”

Rather, the date was the occasion to announce a new Maine Civil War Web site at http://www.maine.gov/civilwar/sentinels.html.

Its first collection is “Silent Sentinels: Maine’s Civil War Monuments.” The list enumerates 148 Civil War monuments in the state so far — with photos. I like the site very much.

The list was compiled by Maine state historian Earle Shettleworth, who started with J. Warner’s 1965 publication, “Civil War Memorials Erected in the State of Maine.”

Warner had 74 memorials illustrated there, and Shettleworth’s list is now at 148. If you know of others or have corrections or pictures relating to a monument on the Web site, he asks that you e-mail him at earle.shettleworth@maine.gov or call him at 287-2132.

I’m partial to the soldier monuments erected by Peleg and Sarah Washburn on Routes 15 and 6 in Abbot, and in Monument Square in Foxcroft (now Dover-Foxcroft).

Morse & Bridges of Dexter constructed the granite monuments — Abbot’s in 1892, and Foxcoft’s in 1893. Dexter has a similar one erected in 1890.

The inscription on the first two states: “Presented by Peleg and Sarah Washburn in memory of the soldiers and sailors who died that the country might live 1861-1865.”

Another of my favorites is the 1996 sculpture by Glenn and Diane Hines of Gen. Joshua Chamberlain, located in Brewer’s Freedom Park at Main and State streets.

But there are a variety of styles used to honor those from the Civil War. Bangor has three Civil War monuments, all in Mount Hope Cemetery.

The oldest one, a tall, granite shaft built in 1864 while the Civil War was still going on, is located inside the main entrance on State Street, and to the right. It was built by public subscription at a cost of $3,489.94.

The second is a granite tower built by patriotic donors “to honor veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic” in 1907 on a hill inside the Mount Hope Avenue entrance to the cemetery. It was rebuilt

in 1985 with funds bequeathed by Luther H. Peirce, a member of the Second Maine Regiment in the Civil War.

The third, a granite monument with bronze sculpture by O.V. Shaffer, was erected in 1963 inside the State Street entrance, and to the left, in memory of the Second Maine Regiment. It also was funded by Peirce, though last week the site had a typo listing him as Luther H. Pierce.

I look forward to additions to this Web site, which includes Shettleworth’s remarks at a July 2007 event held at Mount Hope, and will let our readers know what’s new.

There also is Civil War info on the Maine State Archives site at www.maine.gov/sos/arc.

This a great time to give more attention to our Civil War forebears and their families.

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On Wednesday, April 21, the Penobscot County Genealogical Society will present a discussion from Gail Kill on the Bangor Family History Center.

The meeting is set for 6 p.m. in the Lecture Hall, third floor, Bangor Public Library, 145 Harlow St.

The Bangor Family History Center is the library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at Grandview Avenue and Essex Street.

Kill’s talk will include an overview of donated family histories, cemetery records on hand and other state informational books in their library.

She also will explain how “Family Search” works. That is the LDS Web site at www.familysearch.org.

With her information, you’ll have an idea what you might want to prepare before visiting the Family History Center in order to make your visit more efficient.

I have used Family History Centers in Bangor and Farmingdale, and found the volunteers to be immensely helpful.

All are welcome to attend the meeting, and refreshments will be available.

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Genealogy for Kids Day, Gen4Kids for children ages 8-14, will be held 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Friday, April 23, in the children’s Story Room at Bangor Public Library.

A library employee will provide a tour of the Bangor Room to show what is available, how to use the microfilm and the card catalog. Learn to start your Family Tree and preserve memories today for the future.

A pedigree chart and form, “Good Questions For Family Interviews,” will be given out, with Elizabeth Stevens, Pete McClarie and John Nelligan providing assistance.

Register at the Children’s Desk or call 947-8337, ext. 110. Refreshments will be served.

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Dale Mower, the president of the Maine Genealogical Society, is an experienced, researcher, speaker and Web site developer. A program by him is well worth the drive to Greenville.

Learn how to get started on tracing your family tree with “Genealogy 101” at the next meeting of Moosehead Roots at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 24, at the Center for Moosehead History, formerly the Community House, in Greenville.

Topics include family interviews; organizational forms; information to capture; vital records and other sources, including census records and published genealogies; land deeds and organizing.

No fee is charged, but donations will help with expenses. For more information, call Betty Ryder at 695-2287.

Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor, ME 04402; or e-mail queries to familyti@bangordailynews.com.

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