A Centennial History from Contemporaneous Sources
Copyright 2010 by the Westford Historical Society
2-4 Boston Road
Westford, Massachusetts 01886
Memorial Day 2010 marks the centennial anniversary of the dedication of Westford’s Civil War monument. That Memorial Day in 1910 was a very significant and moving event in Westford’s history. Town buildings and houses were festooned with bunting, flags were flown all over town, yards were freshly mowed, streets were cleaned and groomed, and flowers were in bloom everywhere. The Nashua Military Band was on hand to provide music and a concert. A large tent was erected on the Common to house a catered dinner. People came from all over Westford, indeed from all over eastern Massachusetts, to attend the momentous event. Orators included town officials, former Governor and Secretary of the Navy John D. Long, and the generous benefactor of the monument, Col. Edwin D. Metcalf, a former Westford resident then living in Auburn, N.Y., who gave the monument in memory of his father and of all those who served from Westford. Most significantly, many veterans of the Civil War, now in their sixties and seventies, were in attendance, proudly wearing their Grand Army of the Republic medal and ribbon. It was a day long remembered by all who were there.
The events of the day were summarized in some detail in the 1911 Westford Town Reports. The local newspapers, The Westford Wardsman (a section of Ayer’s Turner’s Public Spirit) and The Lowell Sun, also carried a number of articles leading up to the big day and describing the event itself. Photographs of the monument and of the event were prepared as souvenir postcards. In this booklet we have quoted those papers and the town’s report of the “Dedication of Soldiers’ Monument and Memorial Exercises, May 30, 1910” in their entirety, along with several photographs, believing the contemporaneous reports provide the most poignant history of the event. Col. Metcalf was also the benefactor in 1910 of several gifts to the First Parish Church in memory of his mother, including the beautiful stained glass window behind the altar representing St. Elizabeth leading a child through the path of life, and contemporaneous reports of those gifts and their dedication are also provided.
Westford’s Civil War Monument
The Westford Wardsman, July 3, 1909
Center. Capt. S. H. Fletcher has received a letter promising a monument to Civil war veterans for the town from Col. Edwin D. Metcalf of Auburn, N.Y. He is son of William Metcalf, formerly of this town, who served in the Civil war in Co. C, 16th Massachusetts Regiment as first lieutenant, the only commissioned officer from this town. The proposed monument is a fine and striking figure of a soldier.
The Westford Wardsman, July 10, 1909
About Town. Col. Edwin D. Metcalf of Auburn, N.Y., was in town Tuesday in consultation with friends regarding the proposed soldiers’ monument. According to present plans the monument will be dedicated next Memorial day. The design has not been fully determined on, but will probably be of the “minute man” style of design. It is proposed to call an early meeting of interested citizens to discuss the matter of a suitable site and other particulars. Room permitting, the apex of the common would be the real showy situation.
The Westford Wardsman, July 17, 1909
Soldiers’ Monument. There was a small but specially interested gathering of citizens at the town hall last week Friday evening, to give a free expression of sentiment in regard to the proposed soldiers’ monument. Capt. S. H. Fletcher called the meeting to order and presided, and stated the object of the meeting; a few important considerations have been settled. First, there will be a monument; second, it will be placed in position in the late autumn; third, it will be dedicated on Memorial day, 1910; fourth, Ex-Gov. John D. Long will deliver the address. All this, of course, is subject to changes in the event of unforeseen contingencies. The two vital questions for the gathering on Friday evening to express sentiment on were location and inscription. On the question of location, the sentiment of the meeting was unanimous, with one exception, in favor of the land seized by the county commissioners for highway purposes southwesterly of the common. The writer expresses the unsolicited opinion of many, that for public view and harmony of surroundings, the intersection of Lincoln and Main sts., rear of the Spanish cannon, the gift of Gov. Long, near to the library and town hall, close view from the electric cars, is the ideal place that can be defended against all other sites. The reply is not room. How is this—the common contains over an acre of land, the triangular roadside site less than an eighth; remove three trees at the apex of the common, lay out the plot for the monument with two curved gravel walks each side of the monument, that center into one, then next year when the common is improved with grading, walks and shrubbery, it will be an ideal blending of the sacredness of the beautiful as well as the sacredness of the monument. To place the monument on the highway is giving the impression that there is an impractical sacredness about the common. Howsoever, the writer is not going to harbor a sulky disagreement on the question of location, and this is the final expression private or public.
The Westford Wardsman, July 24, 1909
The Soldiers’ Monument. Col. Edwin D. Metcalf has written a patriotic letter to the selectmen, informing them of his intention to present to the town a soldiers’ monument in memory of those who left their homes from 1861 to 1865 at the call of Abraham Lincoln; also in memory of the pleasant school days passed by Col. Metcalf in Westford. It is his desire to curb and grade the triangular lot suggested by Capt. Fletcher. The monument is to be of Barre, N.H. [Vt.], granite and the figure of a marching soldier to be of United States standard bronze. It is expected to be completed and in position this fall, and dedicated next Memorial day. He appoints Capt. S. H. Fletcher to act as his representative in consultation with the selectmen as representing the town.
The selectmen in reply to Col. Metcalf’s generous and patriotic offer, express the usual abundant thanks and courtesies, and add, “It is most appropriate that your native town should accept from so successful a son a soldiers’ monument, in memory of those who fought in the war of the rebellion. Particularly is this so, in that your father was the first citizen to volunteer in Westford and the only commissioned officer from Westford in the war.” The selectmen also express the hope that when he retires from active business, they will again welcome him back to the home of his boyhood days. Col. Metcalf’s father, mother and brother rest in Fairview cemetery, so that the associations of early boyhood days, and school days and enlisting days and cemetery days all combine to make this presentation by Col. Metcalf a memorial on many foundations. The patriotism of those who fought in the war, and the patriotism of this gift should shadow and silence all dissension as to location, inscription and details of procedure.
The Westford Wardsman, July 31, 1909
Contract Let. Col. Metcalf writes Capt. Fletcher that he has let the contract for the new monument to the Harrison Granite Co., of New York city. The front of the monument will have the G.A.R. badge and the numerals 1861-1865, and underneath, “Tribute to Westford volunteers who knew no glory but their country’s good.”1 On the other side will be inscribed, “Presented to the town of Westford by Edwin D. Metcalf, of Auburn, N.Y., son of Lieut. William Metcalf, Westford’s first volunteer, 1861.” In connection with the movement for this monument the selectmen have got a timely, patriotic move on them, and held a meeting Thursday evening, when the following citizens were appointed to act with the selectmen in arranging the details for the erection and dedication of this monument: Capt. S. H. Fletcher, George T. Day, Edward Fisher, Wesley O. Hawkes, Julian A. Cameron. This committee are eminently representative of progressive patriotism, and the power of aesthetic influence, in their actions and by their environments. Behold the evidence, “By their fruits ye shall know them.”
The Westford Wardsman, September 18, 1909
About Town. The committee on the soldiers’ monument, to be presented to the town by Col. Metcalf, met last week Friday afternoon and laid out the ground for the monument on the triangle opposite the common. The land was surveyed by Melvin Smith of Lowell, who laid out the grounds, plans for the grading and lines for the curbing. H. E. Fletcher & Co. furnish the curbing from their quarry on Oak hill. H. W. Tarbell of Lowell will place the foundation for the monument and grade the lot. The committee are amply up to the duty assigned them, and will push right along in time, tune and step with the patriotism of this event.
The Westford Wardsman, October 9, 1909
Center. The work preparatory to the erection of the new soldiers’ monument, which is to be presented to the town, is making good progress. The triangular piece of land at the west end of the common where it is to be erected is being graded and built up, and a solid foundation where the monument is to stand is being prepared and the triangle finished with a substantial granite border.
The Westford Wardsman, October 30, 1909
Center. People in this village were obliged to do without the town water supply Thursday from eight in the morning until four in the afternoon. This was necessary on account of relocating the hydrant at the west end of the common, which was too near the triangle where the new soldiers’ monument is to stand.
The Westford Wardsman, March 5, 1910
Money for Town Expenses. The financial committee have completed their estimates of amounts of money necessary for town expenses for the coming year. The writer has not seen the report, but authority says the totals foot up $36,000, or $6,000 more than last year. Among the recommendations by the committee for raising money is $500 for the observance of Memorial day. This day will be observed for the dedication of the Soldiers’ monument, the gift of Col. Edwin D. Metcalf, a former resident of the town. The day means much. It means a loyal appreciation of those who left the rural pursuits of the town for the perils of soldier life with its Libby prisons, impaired health and the early grave. This appropriation carries with it the usual exercises on such occasions. Oration probably by Ex-Gov. John D. Long; music, instrumental and vocal, and the ever-apt and appetizing dinner with the after reflections of wit and wise thought. The generosity of the soldier with his life, whose presence we greet no more in visible form as well as those living in our midst with the evidence of a war record, should make us all generous with the day in appropriate exercises and resources, without even the objections of that isolated individual ready tongued, “No.”
The Westford Wardsman, March 19, 1910
Center. Col. Edwin D. Metcalf, who has presented the town with a soldiers’ monument, writes to Captain S. H. Fletcher that it will be shipped from the quarries at Barre, Vt., on March 22. Some delay has been caused by labor troubles. The site for the monument, which was graded and the curbing put in place last fall, is already for the placing of the shaft, which will probably take place next month. The monument committee is to have a copper box placed in the base of the monument with town reports and other records. Anyone who has records or other mementoes they would like placed therein may do so by conferring with Mr. Fletcher or with Edward Fisher.
The Westford Wardsman, March 26, 1909
Grange. There was a good attendance at the grange last Thursday evening. At the business sessions various items of interest were considered. The grange voted to have a suitable souvenir from the order enclosed in the copper box with other similar matter before the erection of the new soldiers’ monument next month. A committee of three, consisting of Mrs. Winthrop Wheeler, S. L. Taylor and F. C. Wright, was appointed to carry out this plan. The two first mentioned of this committee being charter members.
Town Meeting. Under the thirty-second article $500 was voted to commemorate Memorial day because of the dedication of a soldiers’ monument to be presented by Col. Edwin D. Metcalf of Auburn, New York, and resolutions expressing thanks to him were also voted.
The Westford Wardsman, April 2, 1910
Repair at Town Hall. The one thousand dollars voted at the recent town meeting for repairs and renovations at the town hall is going to make it unavailable for some time probably as much as six weeks from the time the work is commenced. The town fathers plan to have the work completed by Memorial day when the new soldiers’ monument is to be dedicated, and with the five hundred dollars voted for the occasion it will be made an eventful affair.
Tadmuck Club. The excellence of the afternoon’s program at the meeting of the Tadmuck club at Library hall Tuesday afternoon merited a larger attendance of the members than were present… At the preliminary exercises of the meeting it was voted to be in line with the other organizations of the town and have deposited in the copper box under the new soldiers’ monument a suitable souvenir from the club, and the secretary, Mrs. Woodward, was appointed to prepare such a document.
The Lowell Sun, Monday, April 4, 1910
Base of Shaft Laid in Place in Westford Today
The base of the new soldiers’ monument at Westford was put in place today and the dedicatory exercises will take place on Memorial day. In a sealed copper box under the base was placed a paper on which appears a list of the first citizens of Westford who volunteered their services when Abraham Lincoln issued his call for soldiers in April, 1861. The enlistment was held at the old [District No. 1] schoolhouse, now made into a dwelling, situated at the corner of Boston road and Hildreth street [at 1 Boston Rd.], and directly opposite the site of the soldiers’ monument. The members of this Company C, 16th regiment, enlisted at Westford, the company being formed at Ayer with Leander G. King captain, Lieut. William Metcalf and Lieut. Edward Hines as officers. They were then ordered to Camp Cameron, Cambridge, Mass., and left the state Aug. 17, 1861. Many of the men took part in the important battles of the Civil war and many a hero from Westford was buried where he fell on the field of action. Ai Bicknell, one of the Westford veterans whose name appears on the list, relates how he buried his brother in a trench at Gettysburg, where he had fallen in that memorable battle. On the marble slab in the town hall there appear the names of several other Westford citizens killed in action. This list of names is the original enlistment and will be found under the base of the monument in ages to come.
William Metcalf, Marcus M. Chandler, Nathaniel Bond, Julius C. Boscwick, Charles M. Cummings, Albert P. Ingalls, Willard T. Weis, Miran Rand, Martin S. Wright, Charles A. Bond, James S. Daw, Joel A. Hunter, Joseph Irish, Timothy Nolan, James Sherburn, Ai Bicknell, George F. Falls, Willis T. Willis, James S. Graham, George Hutchins, James S. George, John Harris, Nathan Bicknell, James T. Flint, Patrick Shean, John F. Richards.
The Westford Wardsman, April 9, 1910
Center. The new soldiers’ monument has arrived and workmen have been busy putting it in place this week.
The Lowell Sun, April 14, 1910
There are many articles of historic interest in the copper box at the base of the soldiers’ monument, which was put in place last week. The following is a list of the principal records which does not include several pieces of old coin:
History of Westford, gift of Mrs. Amanda Fisher; two brief biographies of donor, Col. Edwin Metcalf; three records of centennial celebration of First Parish church, Unitarian; brief history of Union Congregational church with copy of by-laws; letter from William Bunce, addressed to his brother, Augustus Bunce, from Camp Lyons, Birds Point, Mo.; records of Westford Grange, No. 208; records of Tadmuck club, catalog and by-laws; souvenir of Westford, issued in connection with the dedication of the J. V. Fletcher library; Westford town report for the year ending March, 1910; catalog 1903-04 of Westford academy; programs of Memorial exercises 1906-1909, gift of Sherman H. Fletcher.
Brief history of Westford Veteran association members enlisting from Westford C. C. 16th Regt., Mass. Vol. for three years.
The Westford Wardsman, April 16, 1910
Center. The new soldiers’ monument has been put in place on the nicely graded triangle at the west end of the common. It has been boxed and veiled awaiting the dedicatory services, Memorial day, when an especial program will take place.
The Westford Wardsman, April 30, 1910
Center. Miss Hazel Hartford has been selected for the graceful ceremony of unveiling the new soldiers’ monument at the dedication, Memorial day.
The Westford Wardsman, May 14, 1910
Centre. The committee of arrangements for Memorial day have issued some most attractive folders on the front of which is a fine picture of the new monument, and inside outlines the plans for the day. Copies of these may be secured of Capt. S. H. Fletcher.
It has been a quiet week in our village in the way of gatherings, etc., but with the busy gang doffing, cutting and blasting, and doing all the things necessary to transform five acres of very rough and poor land into a beautiful park and play-ground [i.e., Whitney Playground], while another gang of W. H. Tarbell’s men are at work improving the main street in the village. Inside the town hall, a group of skilled workmen are renovating and decorating, with one new house going up, which is to be a model small home, with the [electric] cars running and prospects of an artistic transformation within the old first parish church2 and the residents busy with preparations for Memorial day and dedicating its splendid new monument, our village seems full of a spirit of activity and progress.
The Westford Wardsman, May 21, 1910
About Town. The large bouquet of flowers on the table in front of the pulpit of the Unitarian church last Sunday was the remembrance of friends in Nashua, who removed from town in 1858, but never forgetting the old First Parish church which was her early church home. Neither have the older residents forgotten the hospitality and culture of the David C. Butterfield family, residing at what is now the old Abbot homestead. They will renew old time associations with us at the festival exercises at the dedication of the soldiers’ monument on May 30.
Centre. Workmen have been grading and making a sidewalk at the west end of the common near the new soldiers’ monument which adds much to the appearance of the vicinity.
The Westford Wardsman, May 28, 1910
Centre. Warren E. Carkin has kept right in step with the march of improvements by erecting in his yard [at 58 Main St.] a fine new flag pole measuring fifty-one feet, already for Memorial day.
Memorial Day. Not since the academy centennial celebration in 1892 has Westford had such a memorable day in its annals as is planned for next Monday when the new soldiers’ monument, presented to the town by Col. Edwin D. Metcalf of Auburn, N.Y., in memory of his father, is to be dedicated. This in addition to the usual impressive events of Memorial day will make the day one long to be remembered and the townspeople are busy individually and collectively with preparations. It will be an “old home day,” beginning probably with Saturday, when very many households will receive guests.
Sunday the union memorial service will be with the Union Congregational church at 10:30 in the morning. Rev. David Wallace will preach the sermon and the other pastors in town will participate in the services and the united choirs will sustain the musical part of the service. The members of the Westford Veteran association will be the guests of honor. In the afternoon they will decorate the graves of their comrades. Monday the unveiling of the monument will take place at 11:30, followed by the dinner at 1:30 p.m., to be served in a tent erected on the common. The after-dinner exercises held in the tent will include an address by Hon. John D. Long and singing by the Weber quartet of Boston. Music will be furnished during the day by the Nashua military band. The public buildings and many private residences are to be decorated, and with good car service and the hope of good weather it should prove a memorable day for our beautiful hill-top village.
The Lowell Sun, Saturday, May 28, 1910, p. 2.
For Memorial Day
Program of the Observance as Arranged by G.A.R. Posts
The Memorial day union services will be held in the Union Congregational church Sunday morning at 10:45. Wesley O. Hawkes, commander of the Westford veterans, requests the veterans to meet at the Cavalry association building [20 Boston Rd.] at 10 o’clock Sunday morning. The Sons of Veterans are to act as escort to the church, where the memorial services are to be held. At the conclusion of the services a luncheon will be served the veterans in the vestry of the church at 12:30. Barges will convey the veterans to each cemetery in the town and all the graves of the dead soldiers will be decorated. The children of the town are requested to bring flowers to Fairview cemetery at 1:30 p.m.; Westlawn at 2:30; St. Catherine’s at 3:30; North cemetery at 4 p.m. Sunday, the Rev. David Wallace [of the Union Congregational Church] will preach the memorial services, invocation by Rev. L. F. Havermale [of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Graniteville]; prayer, Rev. Benjamin H. Bailey [of the First Parish Church, Unitarian]. There has also been arranged special singing for Monday. There will be a band concert on Westford common, beginning at 9 a.m. given by the Nashua military band which will continue until 11 o’clock. The assemblage will gather at the monument at 11:30, where the following program will take place:
Selection, Nashua military band; prayer, Rev. Benjamin H. Bailey; presentation of the monument by Col. Edwin D. Metcalf, unveiling of the monument, band accompaniment, Miss Hazel B. Hartford; acceptance of the monument for the town by Mr. Oscar R. Spaulding, chairman of selectmen; selection, Weber quartet; declaration of monument by Veteran association, band accompaniment. At the close of these exercises, invited guests and holders of dinner tickets are invited to meet at the town hall for a social hour. At 1:15 p.m. a procession will be formed of those who are to attend the dinner and proceed to the tent. Dinner will be served at 1:30 p.m. These exercises will then follow:
March, “Down the Line,” Nashua military band; “Hark the Trumpet,” Weber quartet; address of welcome, Capt. Sherman H. Fletcher, president of the day; response, Col. Edwin D. Metcalf; cornet solo, Mr. Roscoe McDaniel; “Over the Sea,” Weber quartet; oration, Hon. John D. Long; “Sound Over the Waters,” Weber quartet; address, Hon. Chas. S. Hamlin; selection, “Stubborn Cinderella,” Nashua military band; “America,” all uniting with band accompaniment.
A band concert will take place at the close of the exercises. Electric cars run to Westford Centre, and leave Lowell, Merrimack square, at 18 minutes past the hour, beginning at 7:18. All the buildings in the town are draped in bunting and Westford citizens have prepared to take care of one of the largest assemblages ever gathered in the town.
All the public buildings of the town and many of the private residences are being decorated for Memorial day by a decorating company of Boston. Hundreds of visitors are expected in the town Sunday and Monday, and all the residents and citizens are to do honor to Edwin D. Metcalf, donor of the soldiers’ monument, which is to be unveiled here Monday. A large tent is being constructed on Westford common, and arrangements have been made to seat 500 people. The orator of the day will be ex-Gov. John D. Long, and Hon. Chas. S. Hamlin will also give an address.
The Lowell Sun, Tuesday, May 31, 1910
Unveiled With Appropriate Ceremony at Westford Yesterday
Addresses by Hon. John D. Long and Hon. Chas. S. Hamlin—The Monument the Gift of Edwin R. Metcalf of New York
The picturesque town of Westford was the scene of impressive dedication exercises yesterday. The day was not as propitious as it might have been, but the lowering clouds and an occasional sprinkling of rain did not suffice to dampen the enthusiasm of those who had gathered on the hill town to see unveiled the new soldiers’ monument, the gift of Edwin Metcalf of Auburn, New York. People came from far and near and the day will go down as a memorable one in Westford’s history. It had all the features of an old home day as well as Memorial day.
There was a deal of sentiment and no dearth of reminiscence in the event that attracted so many to Westford. The monument has been erected on a raised lot opposite the village green, and opposite the building where the Westford men enlisted for the Civil war. The monument is the gift of a boy whose father was the first to enroll himself as a Westford volunteer and Westford can share her pride with father and son, proud of the father because of his heroism and proud of the son because of his great success in life and his undying love for his home town. Edwin Metcalf is closing in on a half century of years and from a poor boy he has, by earnest effort, found his way to such offices as railroad president and bank director. He is president of a railroad, president of a robe company and director in two banks, in an insurance company and in other corporations.
The town presented a pretty picture yesterday. On every side the residences and public buildings were profusely decorated and flags were displayed on every hand.
The exercises in connection with the unveiling of the monument began at 10:30 o’clock.
The veterans of the Westford and Chelmsford associations were drawn up on two sides, with the Nashua military band in position. Of the 172 men who went to the war from Westford here were just 23 in line. After a selection by the band, the dedicatory prayer was made by Rev. Benjamin H. Bailey of Westford.
Col. Edwin Metcalf made the presentation speech. Col. Metcalf served upon the staff of Gov. Robinson and was once assistant quartermaster general of Massachusetts. His speech was an eloquent and an impressive one and when he had finished Miss Hazel B. Hartford [14 years old] pulled the cords and released the flags that covered the monument. As the handsome bronze figure of a soldier upon a large granite base stood revealed, there was loud applause and the band played a patriotic number.
The gift was accepted by Oscar B. Spaulding, chairman of the board of selectmen. His speech of acceptance closed with the appreciation of the generous gift. He said that the monument will preach true patriotism.
There was a splendid program of after dinner speaking, and it was flavored with excellent music given by the band and the quartet. Capt. Sherman H. Fletcher presided and made an address of welcome and introduced the donor of the monument, Col. Edwin Metcalf of Auburn, N.Y. Mr. Metcalf took his listeners back over the long line of years to the day when President Lincoln’s first proclamation calling for volunteers was read in the schoolhouse only a few yards away. He recalled the fact that his father made a patriotic speech, at the conclusion of which he stepped forward and signed the roll. His example was immediately followed by others. The man who was first to sign the roll then suggested that there was no time like the present to begin and forming a squad he put them through several movements that evening.
“None of us then could foresee,” said the speaker, “the long marches and sacrifices that were to be the lot of the northern soldiers in the next four years. It was better possibly for the history of this nation that they did not know. Nothing said can ever adequately pay tribute to the living and dead for what they gave, in the years 1861 to 1865, to shape the destiny of this nation, that their children might grow up to enjoy the fruits of the greatest country in the world, the United States of America.”
Hon. John D. Long
Hon. John D. Long, who in his younger days was a teacher in the Westford academy [1857-59], was the orator of the day. He was given a most hearty welcome to which he made eloquent response. In part he said:
“I greatly appreciate the honor you do me, a civilian, in asking me to address you who fought the battle, and to join you in the tender memorial service you pay, this sweetest day of the year, to our patriot dead, your comrades in arms with whom you stood shoulder to shoulder under the flag and bivouacked on the tented field. Some who were with you but a few years ago are with you no more. But this memorial statue which we now dedicate will stand for years to come a lifelike and speaking figure of their patriotic youth. And they will all still live in the works that do follow them—in a civilization purified by the fire of war from the dross of human slavery and political inequality. They will live too in history pictured in pages more graphic than those of Plutarch, in the songs of poets singing a nobler than Virgil’s man and an epic loftier than the Iliad. They will live too in these monuments of stone and bronze which we erect not more to their memory than to the incitement of coming generations.”
Referring to William Metcalf, as Westford’s first volunteer, the speaker turned to the act of the son and said:
“And now in filial remembrance of him and in veneration for his comrades from Westford his son, Edwin Metcalf, gives this soldiers’ monument. As his father was the one commissioned officer from Westford, the statue might have been of official rank, but the donor has disinterestedly preferred that it should represent the private, and thus do special honor to the two or three hundred soldiers enlisted from the town. The gift is only one feature in a career of a worthy son of a worthy father. I remember the boy’s honest face and bright eyes and sturdy bearing when he sat a pupil under me at the academy. I have since followed with gratification, as you have also done, his onward and upward course, plucking the flower of honor and success out of the nettle of adversity, industrious, efficient, honest, brave, with a genius for large enterprise, helping his mother to maintain the home while the father was at the battle-front, engaging in business, winning fortune by his own unaided exertions, mayor and legislative representative from the city of Springfield, senator from Hampton county, colonel on the staff of Governor Robinson, vice president of a national bank, and now at the head of a very large manufacturing establishment in New York state, which have brought him prosperity and enabled him to make this gift and effect this happy occasion.
Hon. Charles S. Hamlin
Hon. Charles S. Hamlin of Boston, former assistant secretary of the U.S. treasury, and a director of the Westford academy, was the last speaker and the exercise closed with the singing of “America” by the company.
The Westford Wardsman, June 4, 1910
Memorial Exercises. Friday afternoon in the schools, appropriate memorial exercises were held. At the Frost school the pupils in the two upper rooms combined in a program of music and recitation suitable to the spirit of Memorial day. In the two lower rooms similar exercises were carried out. The rooms were decorated with flags and flowers.
At the academy a patriotic program was held with music and declamations and Rev. Mr. Wallace addressed the pupils and Rev. Mr. Bailey gave recollections of the war from personal experiences in his own interesting way.
Union Memorial Service. The union memorial service which was held at the Union Congregational church on last Sunday was a fitting introduction to our special observation of Memorial day this year.
It was a capacity audience that filled the auditorium and vestries that were thrown into one, but there was a welcome for every one. The perfect weather made it a pleasure to get out. The decorations were most appropriate and well-placed. The national colors were draped over the pulpit arch and the speaker’s desk and in addition to this a wealth of delicate white spirea with greenery was used. These decorations were the skilful work of Eliot F. Humiston.
The veterans met at the Cavalry association building [20 Boston Road] and marched to the church escorted by the sons of veterans. They occupied seats at the front of the church reserved for them.
The musical part of the service by the united choirs blending the devotional and patriotic was especially well rendered. “Welcome, grand army men” and “Rest, spirit, rest” were given by the full chorus. In the latter anthem, Mrs. C. D. Colburn sustained the solo part. John S. Greig sang the solo, “Face to face.” Rev. B. H. Bailey made the prayer and Lewis F. Havermale of the Graniteville Methodist church gave the invocation and scripture reading. Rev. David Wallace preached a thoughtful and excellent sermon from the text, Ps. 48.12, 13, with its message to the veterans and to all his hearers the need of patriotism and courage in the daily warfare of our complicated modern life.
After the service a luncheon was served by the ladies to the members of the veteran association, after which they made the rounds of the cemeteries and decorated the graves of their former comrades.
Three veterans have died during the year, George H. Prescott [d. March 10, 1910], Charles Cummings [d. May 4, 1910] and Charles W. Reed [May 12, 1910].
Dedication. The day which has been prepared for and anticipated for many weeks in our town has come and gone. Its actual happenings are over and have passed into very interesting local history, but its memories will remain most definite and lasting.
It was an old home day, a memorial day observance and a splendid dedication of its new soldiers’ monument combined into one. The spirit of the occasion started Friday afternoon with a suitable observance in the schools. Saturday absent members of many householders began to arrive. Scarcely a home was without guests either of kindred or friends. To specify one would be to enumerate them all. Many were the graves of loved ones in God’s acre besides the soldier dead that were tenderly garlanded with flowers.
All the public buildings were trimmed most effectively, the work of Boston decorating company, as were also nearly all the private dwellings. Flags and bunting were everywhere. The faces of Washington, Lincoln and Grant were noted in their setting of red, white and blue. Lawns, shrubbery, grading and streets had all been put into the best of order to have the village present its best appearance.
The afternoon previous the members of the Edward M. Abbot Hose Co. turned out and wet down the main streets, and when Monday morning came all was in readiness for the dedication and all arrangements for the day were carried out in a manner most creditable to the committee who have worked as faithfully and well. Shaded skies may have made some difference in the attendance, but a great gathering came. There were fully a thousand people present at the ceremonies. They came in carriages, autos, barges, electrics, by trains and on foot. The Nashua military band, always a favorite with Westford people, was in attendance during the day and gave a fine concert previous to the dedicatory service, which took place promptly at the appointed time. The Chelmsford veterans were the guests for the day of Westford veterans and this was very suitable as Chelmsford is considered as sort of the mother town of Westford. The men of these two companies, to which the day has even a deeper significance than others, were drawn up about the curbing of the monument and back of them were the surging crowd of people. After a selection by the band, prayer was offered by Rev. B. H. Bailey, after which Col. Metcalf, the donor of the monument, the hero of the day, a man who has gone out into the world and done things, a man of achievement, a worthy son of a worthy father, a father in whose memory he makes this gift to the town, stepped forward and in well chosen words presented the monument to the town. Miss Hazel B. Hartford, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. W. Hartford and granddaughter of Wesley Hawkes, president of the Veteran association, then pulled the cords that loosened the enfolding flags and the impressive figure of a soldier in bronze on a large granite base stood revealed.
The gift was then accepted by Oscar R. Spaulding, chairman of the selectmen, in most fitting and appropriate words that found hearty echo in the hearts of all who listened. The Weber quartet of Boston then sang and the beautiful ceremony of decorating the monument by the veterans with band accompaniment was performed. At about this time the rain which had threatened began to fall and the crowds scattered to shelter. Many went to the library and many went to the [town] hall, especially those holding dinner tickets. This social hour in the recently decorated and renovated hall was very pleasant where many had the opportunity to meet Col. and Mrs. Metcalf.
At 1:15, when it was time to form the march to the common, the weather had cleared. Headed by the band and the veterans, the long procession formed and filed to the big tent which measured 125×50 feet. An excellent menu was prepared by a caterer of Lowell, to which full justice was done. Preparations were made for five hundred people and fully that number was cared for. After the repast Capt. Sherman H. Fletcher called to order and presided. After a selection by the band and by the Weber quartet, Capt. Fletcher made an address of welcome and all that he said was timely and pertinent. He thought it eminently fitting that the tent should be erected and the exercises take place on the common where nearby stood the flag staff which was erected and dedicated in the stirring times of the early sixties and on whose crosstrees were inscribed the words, “Liberty and union,” and nearby the building, then the village schoolhouse, but now transformed into a dwelling where the memorable meeting was held, where Col. Metcalf’s father was the first to sign the roll for the enlistment for troops. He then introduced Col. Edwin D. Metcalf of Auburn, N.Y., the donor of the monument, who spoke in part as follows:
After telling of the meeting in the old schoolhouse where his father, after the reading of the call for volunteers for three years, a term that dampened the ardor of some, rose and made a patriotic speech, stepped forward and signed the roll. “Nothing said can ever adequately pay tribute to the living and the dead for what they gave in the years 1861 to 1865 to shape the destiny of their nation. What a magnificent heritage the men who helped preserve this Union left to their families; what a change has taken place in this country. We often hear the remark, that there are no such opportunities for young men to succeed now as during our father’s time, but this is a mistake, as there are many more opportunities and greater possibilities now than ever before.”
“I have been asked several times why, not being a native of this town, I was led to present Westford with a soldiers’ monument instead of the city of Auburn. When I came here to bury my father, [Lt. William Metcalf, died June 18, 1900,] I was met at the railroad station by a delegation of old soldiers. They were strangers to me, they came without any solicitation, they came without previous knowledge on my part, but I was so pleased and so much touched at the spirit of devotion and loyalty of those who had stood shoulder to shoulder during the civil war that I then and there resolved that I would do something in Westford to the memory of the volunteers.”
The next speaker of the day was Hon. John D. Long, who, while a teacher in Westford academy [1857-1859], formed such friendships and associations with this town that he is always most heartily welcomed here. Space forbids more than extracts from his carefully prepared and most excellent oration.
“Time and your patience deny an enumeration of the monuments which have dotted Massachusetts and have recorded for centuries, hence her story of heroism so plain, so legible that though a new Babel should arise and the English tongue be lost, the human heart and eye will read it at a glance. Scarce a town is there from Boston to the humblest burying ground in the rural villages, in which the monuments do not rise to tell how universal was the response of Massachusetts. Westford’s history is from first to last an illustration of patriotism. Her sons have always been of the true-blue Lexington-Concord-Bunker Hill stock. They were in the romantic Lovell’s fight in 1739, in Cuba as again only twelve years ago; in the siege of Louisburg; in the French and Indian wars; at Concord bridge; at Bunker Hill; more than two hundred men out of her small population were in the campaigns of the Revolution; in the war of 1812; in the war for the Union, more than two hundred again enlisted.
“This monument is not alone a memorial for the dead but an incentive to future generations to patriotism and high ideals. The period of the civil war had its shadows, out of which came the pure white figure of patriotism, of loyal service of generous sacrifice, of ministering angels, of tender compassion, and heroic champions of freedom and union. So will it be with the clouds of today. There has been no year since your service in the field when the battle has not been on, not of shot and shell, but of the clashing activities of peace—the struggle of clashing interests, out of the very selfishness of which, however, springs that human endeavor which in the long run works the ultimate steady, average betterment of all.
“Glorious as were Gettysburg and Appomattox the great glory was that we had reached that degree of widening of our thoughts; that point in moral conviction and devotion in which those great victories and devotion were only the incident of the greater moral victories of freedom over slavery, of right over wrong—victories just as much for our Southern brethren as for ourselves. Let the young men of today fight the good fight for righteousness, which is now calling them to battle, as you in your day fought the good fight for union and freedom.”
The closing address of the day was by Hon. Charles S. Hamlin of Boston, former assistant secretary of the U.S. treasury. He used the most of his time in personal reminiscences of his acquaintances with various Westford men during his summers spent with his grandfather, close by the spot where he stood.
The exercises were brought to a close by singing “America,” by the audience.
Groton. News Items. The veterans enjoyed the address at Littleton on Monday afternoon and appreciated the bountiful and excellent lunch served. They found that many of the citizens had attended the more than usual exercises for the day at Westford, where the soldiers’ monument was dedicated. The post got back to Groton about six o’clock feeling some tired but well satisfied with the day’s commemoration. On the way home they met and counted thirty-three autos going Boston way.
Hollis, N.H. News Items. Mr. Andrew Jewett spent Memorial day in Westford, attending the dedication of the new soldiers’ monument there.
The Westford Wardsman, June 11, 1910
Centre. Col. Edwin D. Metcalf, the donor of the soldiers’ monument so impressively dedicated on Memorial day made a thoughtful and pretty gift to the library. Handsomely framed and hung is the following unique deed of conveyance to the town.
“Know all men by these presents that, I, Edwin D. Metcalf of the City of Auburn, County of Cayuga, State of New York, in consideration of the natural love and affection I have for my old friends and school-mates in the town of Westford, Middlesex County, State of Massachusetts, by these presents do give, grant and convey unto the said town of Westford, to be its absolutely and forever, a monument in bronze and granite.
“This monument is given in commemoration of those soldiers of which my father was one, and sailors ‘who knew no glory but their country’s good,’ that voluntarily left their homes and families and went forth from the town of Westford to participate in the great struggle which solved the momentous question whether this nation should united stand, or divided, fall; and of their devotion and distinguished services to the said town of Westford to the State and to the Nation.
“In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 20th day of May, 1910.
(Seal) EDWIN D. METCALF
(Witness) Edwin F. Metcalf.”
Ex-Gov. John D. Long and Mrs. Long were guests at Mr. and Mrs. Abiel J. Abbot’s during last week’s celebration while Mr. and Mrs. Geo. T. Day entertained Col. and Mrs. Metcalf and their son Edwin F. Metcalf.
The Westford Wardsman, July 9, 1910
The Fourth. In comparison with the special Fourth of July celebrations our town has had in recent years, this year’s Fourth was a very quiet affair, but the townspeople rather concentrated their efforts upon a special observance of Memorial day this year with its dedication of its new soldiers’ monument. Some of the boys had their little fling the “night before,” and during the day the bells were rung at noon and flags were in evidence throughout the village. The new law regarding the sale of firecrackers, etc., in stores connected with dwellings had its effect upon both of our stores with resultant quiet effect.
The Westford Wardsman, August 13, 1910
About Town. The improvements on the Unitarian church are nearly completed. Col. Edwin D. Metcalf, who presented the town with the soldiers’ monument, has planned to place a memorial window in this church in memory of his mother, who attended church here when a resident of the town. The colonel will also be remembered by the older people as the bright, sparkling-eyed boy, who also attended this old First Parish church. The window will be placed in the rear of the choir.
The Westford Wardsman, September 10, 1910
About Town. Col. Edwin D. Metcalf has added liberally to his already liberal gifts in beautifying the interior of the Unitarian church, by the gift of a mahogany pulpit and colonial rail in front of the choir. In consequence of the newness and incompleteness of the situation the church will be closed next Sunday.
The Westford Wardsman, November 19, 1910
An Old Historic Church. The dedication of the memorial window to be placed in the First Parish church, the gift of Col. Edwin D. Metcalf, in memory of his mother, will take place on Sunday afternoon, November 27, it being the anniversary of the organization of the church and ordination of the first minister, Rev. Willard Hall, November 27, 1727. This old historic church, with its gilded spire ever pointing towards greater light, has stood the ebb and flow in the problems of faith, discipline and finance. “And having done all, stand.” Rev. E. A. Horton of Boston, of fragrant Westford academy memories, will give the address. The choir are rehearsing special music and will be assisted by Alfred E. Prescott of Boston. Col. Metcalf will also be present and add to the effectiveness of memories tribute.
The Westford Wardsman, November 26, 1910
Dedication. Services in connection with the dedication of the memorial window to be placed in the Unitarian church will be held at the church on Sunday afternoon, November 27. The exercises will begin at 2:30. Rev. Benjamin H. Bailey will be prime minister. Rev. Edward A. Horton of Boston will give the address. Col. Edwin D. Metcalf of Auburn, N.Y., by whose remembrance the window is to be placed in the church in memory of his mother, will be present and add sentiment from his early school days in town, and his attendance at this old historic First Parish church.
The choir will have special music that chimes with the historic occasion and will be assisted by Albert E. Prescott of Boston, Henry Smith and Oscar A. Nelson of Graniteville, and others not so easily named. Singular, but true to some law, but little understood, this dedication without planning for the same date, will be held on the date of the anniversary of the founding of this First Parish church and ordination of its first minister, Rev. Willard Hall, November 27, 1727. He was minister of this First Parish church over forty-eight years, and besides minister he was a farmer, and owned land in the Stony Brook school district, north of Stony Brook and still known as “Hill Field.”
The old church structure, like the old New England type of life, is large framed and sturdy built, has stood the storm tempests of life without surrender and always spire pointed in aspirations towards an unclouded view.
The Westford Wardsman, December 10, 1910
Centre. The memorial window at the Unitarian church was put in place on Tuesday and Wednesday preparatory to the dedication for Sunday.
About Town. Col. Edwin D. Metcalf of Auburn, N.Y., has been elected president of the National Implement and Vehicle association of the United States, with a combined capital of $700,000,000.
Memorial Window Service. The much-written about and postponed-about memorial window for the Unitarian church will come to finals Sunday afternoon, December 11. Services will commence at 2:15 with an organ recital by George R. Smith of Lowell, organist of the church. Rev. Benjamin H. Bailey, minister of the church, will on this occasion be prime minister of ceremonies. Rev. Edward A. Horton of Boston will give the address. He is a never-to-be-forgotten favorite with Westford people in the old palmy days of Westford academy. Special music by the choir, assisted by Albert E. Prescott of Boston, a native and favorite of Westford. Col. Edwin D. Metcalf of Auburn, N.Y., also of the old Westford academy training and donor of the memorial window in memory of his mother, will also be present. The time is so close by the founding of this old First Parish church, that it is expected a large gathering will be present in this old historic edifice with its spire architecture towards the skies.
The Westford Wardsman, December 17, 1910
Dedication. The old First Parish church looked, in many respects last Sunday afternoon with the large congregation, like the olden days of the one church. The dedication of the memorial window, the gift of Col. Metcalf in memory of his mother, Nancy Elizabeth Metcalf, was appropriately celebrated. The window is perfect in the blending of beautiful colors. The subject, representing St. Elizabeth leading a child through the path of life, is most fitting as a memorial to Nancy Elizabeth Metcalf from her son.
The exercises commenced at 2:15 with an organ recital of appropriateness for the occasion by George R. Smith of Lowell, the organist of the church. The choir sang “Still, still with thee,” with solos by Miss Gertrude D. Fletcher, soprano; Mrs. H. M. Seavey, alto and E. G. Boynton, bass. Albert E. Prescott sang with an inspirational effect, “A new heaven and new earth” from “The holy city.” Especially charming was the duet, “The Lord is my shepherd,” sung by Miss Gertrude D. Fletcher and Mr. Prescott. Owing to the illness of Rev. E. A. Horton of Boston, who was expected to give the address, Rev. Benjamin H. Bailey, the venerable minister of the old First Parish church, gave an eloquent address on the foundation principles of the Christian church in the rugged and barren days of early New England and the easy going days of modern life, and neither philosophy, club life, home life, or the fraternal spirit of modern environments have proved a satisfactory substitute for “The salt of the earth.”
Besides a congregation of three hundred, Col. Metcalf, wife and son Harold were also present, and friends from Lowell, including Judge F. A. Fisher, and our friendly town of Littleton. The choir was assisted besides those mentioned, by Henry Smith and Alfred Prinn of Graniteville and Principal Coggshall of the academy. The ushers were Edward Fisher, Edward M. Abbot, J. Herbert Fletcher and William L. Woods.
Dedication of the Civil War Monument
The dedication of Westford’s Civil War Monument on Memorial Day, May 30, 1910, was described in some detail in the Annual Reports of the Town of Westford, For the Year Ending February 1, 1911,” pages 100-120. That report is reproduced in its entirety in the following section.
DEDICATION OF SOLDIERS’ MONUMENT AND MEMORIAL EXERCISES, MAY 30, 1910.
Through the generosity of Col. Edwin D. Metcalf, of Auburn, N. Y., a former resident of Westford, in presenting to the Town a granite monument mounted with a bronze statue of a Marching Soldier, to commemorate the services of Westford’s volunteers in the Civil War, the Town appropriated the sum of Five Hundred (500) Dollars to fittingly dedicate this munificent gift. The square opposite the common was decided upon as the most appropriate place to erect it. Col. Metcalf paid for the grading and curbing of the lot.
A committee consisting of Oscar R. Spalding, Edward M. Abbot, Andrew Johnson of the Board of Selectmen, with addition of Sherman H. Fletcher, George T. Day, Edward Fisher, Julian A. Cameron and Wesley O. Hawkes was selected to take charge of the work and the exercises on Memorial Day. Invitation was extended to all Veterans that served for the quota of Westford and other resident Veterans as well as to the Veterans of the Town of Chelmsford and many were present with a large number of people of this and the surrounding towns.
The exercises of unveiling the monument began promptly at 10.30 o’clock. The Veterans of the Westford and Chelmsford Associations were drawn up on two sides, with the Nashua Military Band in position, and hundreds of people packed closely about the enclosure.
Of the 172 men who went to the war from Westford there were just 23 in line! And to these 23 old men, in faded uniforms and old Grand Army hats the exercises were of solemn significance.
After a selection by the band, the dedicatory prayer was made by Rev. Benjamin H. Bailey of Westford.
Col. Edwin D. Metcalf—he served upon the staff of Gov. Robinson and was once assistant quartermaster general of Massachusetts—then presented the monument to the Town in the following speech, which was received with loud applause:
“In response to the ringing of the church bells, some of those present, with others, gathered in yonder schoolhouse in the evening of April 22, 1861. The motive that brought them together sprang from events momentous in the history of this Town, State and Nation, and it is exceedingly appropriate that the location selected by your committee for this monument, is almost in the shadow of the place where your citizens were first face to face with what war really meant.
“It was there that President Lincoln’s first proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteers was read by Hon. J. W. P. Abbott, and my father, with others, stepped forward and signed the roll, pledging their effort and lives, if necessary, to the preservation of the Union. I remember it well. As a boy I sat on one of the front scats with Capt. S. H. Fletcher and watched with interest the men who were willing to leave their homes and all that they loved best in response to their Country’s call.
“As there have been but few changes around this square in the past half century, little needs to be left to my imagination since I was a boy going to school here. Some faces that I would like to see, have gone to join the great majority, and upon other faces time has left its mark, but the surroundings and the memories which they awaken and recall, are far more eloquent than anything I can say to you.
“History accords to the men who volunteered to preserve the national honor, a more enduring monument than this of stone and bronze, but I am thankful that you have given me the privilege of presenting your Town this slight testimonial, in commemoration of those soldiers and sailors that voluntarily left their homes and families to participate in the great struggle which should decide whether the United States would stand united, as our forefathers intended, or be divided. And now, sir, to you, as representative of the Town of Westford, I hereby present a deed of gift of this memorial and entrust its keeping to you, hoping that another generation, when they see it, will be inspired to do their part in the affairs of their day to preserve their liberty and the Union of this nation.”
Miss Hazel B. Hartford, an attractive miss of the Town, then pulled the cords releasing the flags that covered the monument, and the handsome bronze figure of a soldier upon a large granite base stood revealed. The band played a patriotic number and there was loud applause.
THE GIFT ACCEPTED.
The gift was accepted by Oscar B. Spaulding, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, who spoke as follows:
“The Town of Westford greatly appreciates this generous gift. Its artistic beauty and suggestive lessons will have an educative influence over this and all coming generations. It will teach true patriotism. By day and by night this marching soldier, halted here, will unceasingly and steadfastly declare that devotion to Country, to State, to Town, to one’s own community, is the crowning glory of every true citizen.
“In the name of the citizens of ‘Westford, proud of the sons who have gone out from its borders, in the name of these Veterans who today so tenderly remember their old comrades, for the living and for the coming generations we thank you for your free-hearted generosity, and accept at your hands this munificent gift.”
The Weber Quartet of Boston sang, then the band played again, and the Veterans moved forward in column of twos, encircling the monument and then marched away to the Town Hall.
The exercises were barely over when a sharp shower broke over the Town. There was a scamper to the Library and the Town Hall, where for nearly an hour there was a regular old-home day reunion.
The weather had cleared at 1.15 o’clock, when 500 people formed a procession in front of the Town Hall, and headed by the band and the Veterans, marched to a great tent upon the common, where a dinner was served by the D. L. Page Co., of Lowell. Everyone of the 501 seats was soon occupied, and an excellent menu was enjoyed, following grace said by Rev. Louis F. Havermale of Graniteville.
There “vas an unusually fine program of after-dinner speaking. There was likewise excellent music given by the band and the quartet.
Captain Sherman H. Fletcher presided, and made an address of welcome. He said:
“I extend to you, in behalf of the committee, a most cordial welcome, and a greeting from the Town of Westford. Forty-nine years ago this month, an event took place on these grounds that stirred the patriotism of our townspeople. It was at the opening of the Civil ‘War, when meetings for recruiting were being held in every northern village, and Westford had taken up her part in the cause. The event to which I refer was the erection and dedication of the flagstaff which you see nearby. In loyalty to their country and the cause, the citizens had inscribed upon the crosstrees the words ‘Liberty and Union,’ and among those who participated in the services of dedication was Company C, 16th Regiment Mass. Volunteers, which was quartered at Groton Junction, now the town of Ayer, and in which some 20 young men of this Town had enlisted for service. Leander G. King of Groton, who fell at Gettysburg, was captain, and William Metcalf of Westford, lieutenant. Over yonder is the building in which our young men were recruited and received their first military instruction from Lieut. Metcalf. A few of these men are here today, with comrades from other companies, some never returned and others are at rest in their native towns, where their surviving comrades place upon their graves a token of love and remembrance each Memorial Day. This seems a most fitting place for us to meet in honor of those who gave their lives that this nation might live, and also to honor those Veterans of Westford who are here with their comrades from the mother town of Chelmsford. What better place to honor and thank the donor of the beautiful gift which we dedicated this morning, coming as it does from the son of the first man to enlist from this Town. This silent soldier, cast in bronze, stands like a sentinel watching these grounds as if he could see his comrades of old, marching forth in defense of their country, bearing aloft the inscription our fathers placed upon the flagstaff,—’Liberty and Union.’ On this occasion the pleasant duty falls upon me to introduce to you one who lived here in his boyhood days, who left this Town when a young man and by his own energy and ability has made a successful career in the business world. I have the pleasure of introducing to you Col. Edwin D. Metcalf of Auburn, N. Y, the donor of our monument.”·
MR. METCALF’S ADDRESS.
“How well those of us who have been spared during these years and have been permitted to come to this reunion, can remember the meeting referred to by Captain Fletcher, when President Lincoln’s first proclamation calling for volunteers, was read in yonder schoolhouse. You will remember that after reading the call, the remarks of Hon. J. W. P. Abbott, calling particular attention to the term of service, ‘three years unless sooner discharged,’ and that after once enlisted it meant faithful devotion to duty in the service of the United States. This had rather a sobering effect on the enthusiasm of some of those present as they had supposed that the war would only last a few months at the most. My father then arose and made a patriotic speech and at the close stepped forward and signed the roll and his example was immediately followed by others. He then suggested that there was no time like the present to begin, and formed a squad and put them through several movements that evening.
“None of us then could foresee, the desperate fighting, the long marches and sacrifices that was to be the lot of the Northern soldiers in the next four years. It was better possibly for the history of this nation that they did not know. Nothing said can ever adequately pay tribute to the living and dead for what they gave, in the years 1861 to 1865, to shape the destiny of this nation, that their children might grow up to enjoy the fruits of the greatest country in the world, the United States of America.
“What a magnificent heritage the men who helped to preserve this Union left to their families; what a change has taken place in this country since the church bells called together your citizens on that April evening. We often hear the remark, that there arc no such opportunities for young men to succeed now as during our fathers’ time, but this is a mistake, as there are many more opportunities and greater possibilities now than ever before. And many of these opportunities are at our door, if we look for them and improve them when they come. I cannot reca1l a1l the wonderful developments between then and now that go to make up much that is pleasant in life. Since then the world has made its greatest progress in a1l directions. In science, art, medicine, education, literature, and electricity. Many of these developments unknown then are no longer luxuries, but necessities to the business world, such as the adding and multiplying machine, typewriter, elevator, electric lights, telephone, bicycle, electric car service and more recently the automobile.
“In the great development of this period, the farmers’ interests have not been overlooked. The time of some of our best inventors has been spent in the development of tools and implements to lighten the labor of the farmer and increase the productiveness of his land. When President Lincoln issued his first call for volunteers, the farmer tilled his soil with old-fashioned plows. He cut his hay with a scythe, his grain with a sickle and hand reaper. Since then there has been developed the gang plow, both with disc and mold board, the disc and spring harrow, horse cultivator, planter and check rower, seeder, mower, horse rake, tedder, hay loader and carrier, corn planter, husker and sheller, reaper, manure spreader, cream separator, gasoline engine and both grain and corn harvester, those wonderful implements that cut, put into bundles, ties a band around them and after accumulating four or five bundles throws them off into piles convenient for stacking. All these implements have enabled the enterprising farmer to more than triple the producing capacity of each man and make farming lucrative and pleasant, compared with what it was in the days of the men whose memory you have met to commemorate today. In this particular field the United States has led the world and many of our best inventors have been men who took an active part in the events of 1861 to 1865.
“The city where I am now making my home, sends greetings to you, but in view of the prominent part which some of their citizens took during the Civil War, feel that they should have a soldiers’ and sailors’ monument, and I have been asked several times, why, not being a native of this Town, I was led to present Westford with a soldiers’ monument instead of the City of Auburn. When I came here to bury my father, I was met at the railroad station by a delegation of old soldiers. They were strangers to me, they came without any solicitation, they came without any previous knowledge on my part, but I was so much pleased and so much touched at the spirit of devotion and loyalty of those who had stood shoulder to shoulder during the Civil War, that I then and there resolved that I would do something in ‘Westford to the memory of the Veterans, and I hope this monument will stand and serve as an inspiration to the younger generation to take their part in matters of vital interest of their day, and to keep and preserve intact the good name of this great country, as the soldiers of Westford were ready to do 49 years ago.
“There comes a time in all our lives when we are apt to look back and review the past and judge whether we have made the best possible use of our time and opportunities. Some changes we make in life are hot anticipated, but are the result of circumstances. When I left this town to try my fortune in other places, I fully intended to return and pass the closing days of my life here. I have always loved to come back to Westford with its good air, good water, good land, good schools and economical government. Happiness consists of a contented mind and congenial friends, and what can possibly be better for a home than to live in a town abounding in happy, industrious and self-respecting intelligent people, like you have here. I should indeed be ungrateful if I did not acknowledge, that any success in life that I may have had since, was due to those early influences that go so far to form our character in after life, and although not to the ‘manor born,’ the Town of Westford is associated with so many pleasant recollections and ties, that while I live, I expect to continue to be just as much interested in your prosperity and progress as any of your native born citizens. “
DEED OF CONVEYANCE TO THE TOWN.
Know all men by these presents, that I, Edwin D. Metcalf, of the City of Auburn, County of Cayuga, State of New York, in consideration of the natural love and affection which I have for my old friends and schoolmates in the Town of Westford, Middlesex County, State of Massachusetts, by these presents do give, grant and convey unto the said Town of Westford, to be its absolutely and forever, a monument in bronze and granite.
This monument is given in commemoration of those soldiers, of which my father was one, and sailors “Who knew no glory but their country’s good,” that voluntarily left their homes and families and went forth from the Town of Westford to participate in the great struggle which solved the momentous question whether this nation should united, stand, or divided, fall; and of their devotion and distinguished services to the said Town of Westford, to the State and to the Nation.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 30th day of May, 1910.
EDWIN D. METCALF. (Seal)
(Witness) Edwin F. Metcalf.
GOVERNOR LONG THE ORATOR.
Hon. John D. Long, who holds a unique place in the hearts of Westford people, in whose academy he once taught in the days of his youth, was the orator of the day. He was given an enthusiastic reception, and responded with the following eloquent address:
“I greatly appreciate the honor you do me, a civilian, in asking me to address you who fought the battle, and to join you in the tender memorial service you pay, this sweetest day of the year, to our patriots dead, your comrades in arms with whom you stood shoulder to shoulder under the flag and bivouacked on the tented field. Some of them who were with you but a few years ago are with you no more. But this memorial statue which we now dedicate will stand for years to come a lifelike and speaking figure of their patriotic youth. And they will all still live in the works that do follow them—in a civilization purified by the fire of War from the dross of human slavery and political inequality. They will live too in history pictured in pages more graphic than those of Plutarch, in the songs of poets singing a nobler than Virgil’s man and an epic loftier than the Iliad. They will live too in these monuments of stone and bronze which we erect not more to their memory, than to the incitement of coming generations.
“It may be said that we are in our monumental age. The towering obelisk at Bunker Hill, the homely pillar on Lexington Green are no longer the only columns that write in granite the glory of patriotism. At Plymouth the colossal figure of Faith looking out over the sea, catching from its horizon the first tints of the morning and guarding the graves of the Pilgrims, proclaims to the world the story of the Mayflower and its precious freight of civil and religious liberty. Across the bay rises the shaft that marks her first anchorage at Provincetown, and still nearer is the lofty tower that recalls the home of Miles Standish, that type of sturdy independence which has been multiplied in every phase of our thought and culture. In Boston around the State House are Webster, defender of the Constitution; Mann, promoter of public education; Generals Devens and Fighting Joe Hooker, and Governor Banks. Before its City Hall, Franklin, the most prolific and comprehensive brain in American history, and Quincy, a noble name in Massachusetts. In its public squares Winthrop, the Puritan founder, Sam Adams, leader of the people, Abraham Lincoln, emancipator of the grateful race that kneels enfranchised at his feet, and O’Reilly and Collins, types of the eloquence, wit and poetry of the Irish tongue. In its Public Garden the equestrian statue of Father Washington, the figure of Charles Sumner and the uplifted arm of Everett, and in its avenues Hamilton, the youthful founder of our national finance, John Glover, Colonel of the Marblehead Regiment, whose lusty arms and oars rescued Washington from Long Island; Garrison, the indomitable, and the Norwegian Lief, who antedated Columbus. At Mount Auburn, James Otis, that flame of fire. At Worcester, the embodied conscience of George F. Hoar. At North Adams arid Springfield, the beloved McKinley. At Concord, the’ embattled farmer. In Hingham, in marble pure as his heroic instincts, that war governor, John A. Andrew, who in the heart of Massachusetts soldiers can never be disassociated from the sympathies and martyrdom of the service which he shared with them. In Chelsea, the national flag, floating out its bright and rippling cheer from the year’s beginning to its end, waves over the Soldiers’ Home where, if haply there be one stricken Veteran whom the unparalleled provision of Massachusetts fails, as all general laws in some rare cases must fail, to reach him, he finds a shelter that shall not dishonor him.
“Time and your patience deny an enumeration of the monuments which within recent years have dotted Massachusetts and which in their massive handwriting have recorded for centuries hence her story of heroism so plain, so legible that though a new Babel should arise and the English tongue be lost, the human heart and eye will read it at a glance. Scarce a town is there from Boston with its commanding Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, at the dedication of which even the victoryless Southron [sic] came to pay honor, to the humblest burying ground in rural villages—in which these monuments in whatever form do not rise summer and winter, in snow and sun, day and night, to tell how universal was the response of Massachusetts to the call of the patriot’s duty, whether it rang above the city’s din or broke the quiet of the farm. On city square and village green stand the graceful figures of mechanic, farmer, student, clerk, in that endeared and never-to-be-forgotten war uniform—reproduced in the statue here before us—of the soldier or the sailor, their stern young faces to the front, still on guard, watching now the work they wrought in the flesh, and teaching in eloquent silence the lesson of the citizen’s duty to the State. How our children will study them! How they will search and read their names! How quaint and antique to them will seem the arms and costume! How they will gather and store up in their minds the fine, insensibly filtering percolation of the sentiments of valor, of fight for right, of resistance against wrong, just as we inherited all these from the Revolutionary Era, so that when some crisis in the future shall come to them as it came to us, they will spring to the rescue, as sprang our youth in the beauty and chivalry of the consciousness of a noble descent.
“Especially fitting it is that in Westford this memorial figure should stand facing her village green. Her history is from first to last an illustration of patriotism. Her old family names are on every shining page of our country’s achievement. Her sons have always been of the true blue Lexington-Concord-Bunker Hill stock. Nearly two centuries ago they were in the romantic Lovell’s fight. In 1739 they served under the British flag in the unfortunate campaign in Cuba, as only twelve years ago they were in the victorious campaign in which under the Stars and Stripes we redeemed that gem of the Antilles from oppression and with a generosity unparalleled in international annals, fought its battles and without money and without price freely gave it independence and set it in the pathway of republics. They were in the memorable siege and capture of Louisburg. They shared the dangers and glories of the French and Indian Wars which culminated in Wolfe’s brilliant capture of Quebec, the embodiment of Canada into the British Empire, and thenceforth immunity for New England from the French and Indian raids that. had tormented it. In the great argument for colonial rights and parliamentary representation which preceded the Revolution no voices were clearer, no statement of grievances was more emphatic than were heard in the town meetings of the farmers and mechanics of ‘Westford. And when the hoofbeats of Paul Revere’s steed broke the stillness of the night before April 19, 1775, they woke the echoes of her hills. Her minutemen, led by the brave Col. Robinson, were on the march at break of dawn and met the fire of the British grenadiers at Concord Bridge and drove them back. Again with Robinson, and under Prescott—also a Westford name—their rifle barrels gleamed over the ramparts of Bunker Hil1. More than two hundred men out of her small population they were in the campaigns of the Revolutionary War even to the crowning surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown. They served in the War of 1812.
“And in the War for the Union, so recent that it is in the memory and very life of us who are here, again more than two hundred of her brave young men rallied to the call, enlisting in the various regiments of the service, and loyal on every battlefield, thirty-five of them giving their lives, and still more of them scarred with wounds and enfeebled by disease. Nor did Westford rest with her contribution of men. Her treasury was thrown open. Her private citizens gave of their means. Her women, God bless them, their hearts full of tenderness, never forgot the boys in the field and with unbounded generosity, with swift needle and helpful hand, supplied them with every comfort of food and clothing and medicine, bound up their wounds, and nursed them in hospitals.
“What an era it was! When I came to Westford in 1857 to teach in the academy, it was a typical New England village of the first half of the 19th century. It was an embodiment of peace. Riding from Cambridge in the previous May through the Middlesex fields beautiful with apple blossoms, I recall that I seemed to breathe not only their fragrance, but a tranquil spirit of the untroubled serenity and charm of rural life into which the storm of the war cloud could never break. The population was then far more homogeneous than now, almost entirely of Anglo-Saxon stock. As I read the history of Westford I find in the list of those who had from its beginning been active and influential in civil and military lines, the same familiar names which I found in 1857. I dare not repeat any of them, though dear to you and to me, lest I omit some. My residence here was just before the great upheaval of 1860 and 186l. But the awakening was already astir. The tranquility of the previous half century was already rippling with the agitation of the popular conscience.
“Ah! those old anti-slavery days which, so swift is time, many of you here do not recall! Not even the lustre of the Revolutionary period bursting into national independence shone with such beauty of holiness, such moral effulgence, such ardor for the enfranchisement, not of a nation conscious of only mild subjection to laws in the making of which it did not have direct representation, but of a proletariat of poor, despised, enslaved fellow human beings. It is this which makes the anti-slavery crusade the era of our New England chivalry. Then its true knight couched his lance, and its minstrel sang. It brought not peace, but a sword. It nerved the iron will of Garrison, who would not equivocate and would be heard. It rang from the lips of Phillips, that Puritan Apollo more beautiful than the son of Latona, and higher-bred, whose tongue was his lute and whose swift shaft was winged with the immortal fire of liberty. It pointed the rhyme of Lowell and transformed him, a Boston Brahmin, into a Down East Bird of Freedom. It made Whittier the expression in verse of New England’s intense and passionate impulse for freedom and for breaking all chains that bind the limb or mind of any brother man—Whittier, an unplumed knight in Quaker garb. It throbbed with magnetic fervor in the soul of Andrew. It inspired the pen of Mrs. Stowe. Electrified by her genius the great popular heart thrilled with veneration and sympathy for the meek and lowly Christian in bondage, Uncle Tom. Its heroism fired the student; and Harvard and her sisters and our dear old academy here were the mothers of heroes. Its passions culminated in the immortal hymn of Mrs. Howe and cried aloud:
“ ‘Mine eyes have seen the glory of the corning of the Lord.’
“But why name these and not also the dwellers in unnumbered homes of plain living and high thinking all over the land, under the shadows of Plymouth Rock, and among the farms and workshops of Middlesex as well as in the abodes of academic culture and commercial wealth. For the humblest were peers of the exaltation of their leaders, all kindled with equal enthusiasm for equal rights, all fired with the reformer’s zeal, and later giving themselves and sons a sacrifice upon the altar of their faith on the field of battle and of blood. As Christ died to make men holy, so they died to make men free. All honor to them and to you their Veteran surviving comrades here today!
“It was indeed the era of the tumultuous upheaval of the moral sense. It was the burst of the thundercloud, and its lightnings fell and its rains descended and its floods poured, and the house built upon the sand of human slavery fell, and great was the fall thereof.
“For then came the election of Lincoln, the firing on Sumter, the call to arms, the war. The response of Westford was instantaneous. It was the 19th of April, 1775 over again. The flag staff was raised on the common and the flag of the Union challenged the breezes of union and liberty. On that day, 1861, the Sixth Regiment from this vicinity was dyeing the streets of Baltimore with its blood. The news of that memorable event came like an electric thrill. A day or two later Mr. John W. P. Abbot presided at a citizens’ meeting in response to Lincoln’s call for 75,000 men, and twenty-one residents of the town then and there signed the enlistment roll. It is said that the first to volunteer was William Metcalf, who made a patriotic speech and then made his patriotic word a still more patriotic deed. Of a spirited and leading nature, it was in keeping that he was chosen second lieutenant in Company C, of the 16th Regiment of the Massachusetts troops, in which he and the others then enlisted were enrolled. Of that rank, and soon promoted to higher, he saw eventful service in the terrible Peninsula campaign and the second battle of Bull Run, a typically gallant and devoted soldier, worthy of the straps that decorated his shoulders and that were riddled by a minie rifle ball at the latter battle.
“And now in filial remembrance of him and in veneration for his comrades from Westford, his son, Edwin D. Metcalf, gives this soldiers’ monument. As his father was the one commissioned officer from Westford, the statue might have been of official rank, but the donor has disinterestedly preferred that it should represent the private, and thus do special honor to the two or three hundred soldiers enlisted from the Town. The gift is only one feature in a career of a worthy son of a worthy father. I remember the boy’s honest face and bright eyes and sturdy bearing when he sat a pupil under me at the academy. I have since followed with gratification, as you have also done, his onward and upward course, plucking the flower of honor and success out of the nettle of adversity, industrious, efficient, honest, brave, with a genius for large enterprise, helping his mother to maintain the home while the father was at the battlefront, engaging in business, winning fortune by his own unaided exertions, mayor and legislative representative from the city of Springfield, senator from Hampden county, colonel on the staff of Governor Robinson, vice-president of a national bank, and now at the head of a very large manufacturing establishment in New York state, which have brought him prosperity and enabled him to make this gift and effect this happy occasion.
“Ah l how full his heart must be today. The father’s memory! The memory of him who, remembering his own boyhood, determined that ours should lack no help that he could give it; who stood to our youth, the soul of honor and manliness; who led us by the hand; who taught us our first lessons; whose heart, as now so well we know, yearned towards us with so much hope and pride and longing; the greeting welcome of whose face and the brooding of whose watchful care come back to us in dreams; and whom death even takes not from us but only the more clearly reveals to us his devotion and anxiety for our repute and welfare! We each of us erect to our father’s memory our monument, though not like this. With most of us it is a modest headstone or the green turf over which we bend with moistened eyes and grateful hearts. But we can all share in the feelings that have given birth to this impressive memorial, and join in a tribute of honor alike to him whom it commemorates and to him who has set it here. Henceforth the names of William and Edwin D. Metcalf, father and son, will be joined as household words in Westford, where the father had his home and where the son spent his boyhood, to the scene of which his heart turns again in his later years with lively and grateful affection.
“But he would not forgive me if I here and now forgot that this occasion is a memorial not to one of its Westford soldiers of the Union War, but to them all. Veterans, into the struggle for the nation’s integrity and life you put your youth, your fortunes, your sacred honor and your lives. At that cost victory was won, union preserved, slavery abolished and our country put upon a new and marvelous growth and expansion in territory, in industrial development, in wealth more fabulous than that of the grottoes of oriental magic, in more widely diffused education and knowledge, and in the whole range of the world’s civilization and humanity. Your service and sacrifice are a glorious memory now; they were a hard, sharp, exacting though inspiring reality then. As I think of the brilliant growth of the Republic it is yet a pathetic reflection that with you, survivors of the Grand Army of the Republic who saved it and gave it this wondrous development, the reverse of the picture is true. The ardor and vigor of youth have gone, the almond tree flourishes, and the grasshopper is beginning to be a burden; the silver cord is lax, and the pitcher must needs be very carefully handled lest it be broken at the fountain. But that is true only of the framework. The immortal spirit, which inspired you and your comrades who sleep under the turf which you so tenderly decorate today, lives in the eternal youth and sunshine of historic heroism and glory.
“Not that the period of our Civil War was without its shadows. At the court there were divided councils and weak and faithless’ servants. In the camp were blunders and incompetency and mean jealousies and honey-combing frictions and lack of loyal co-operation in times of urgent need. Battles were lost by officers unequal to command. Unwarranted slaughters followed the mistakes of a campaign. And there were personal faults. Desertion, drunkenness at the top and at the bottom, cowardice, sinister intrigues have been the incident of all wars, and in our own they were the shadows on the brilliantly contrasted bright record of the great body of our patriots who fought the good fight and were loyal to the high standards of the soldier and the gentleman. Owing to the sudden enormous inflation of all expenditures and employments of every sort and of the temptations that follow these, there probably has never been a time in our history when, side by side with the magnificent contributions of the people, the patriotic enlistment of chivalrous youth, the holy work of Christian and sanitary commissions, the never-to-be-forgotten service of women as nurses in the field or with devoted hearts and fingers at home, there was so much political wire pulling, so much plundering and spoils, so much dishonesty and fraud upon the government in contracts for its supplies, so much rot and stealing, as during our Civil War. But these, too, were the outcroppings of the temptations of the hour and not the expression of the general spirit which animated the heart of the people. There are some chemical tablets which, dissolved in clear water, make a cloudy mass; but a little later they settle out of sight and the water is pellucid as crystal. So at this later date we wisely and well point these our children of a younger generation to those radiant features of the Civil War which alone survive, to the pure gold and not to the dross, and to the heroisms which still live and of which you are the surviving exponents and which found some of their best examples in the rank and file represented here today. Many a private had capacity for high command. Out of that murky cloud, which has faded into the dim background, stand out clear and distinct, brighter and more glorious with advancing time, the pure white figures of patriotism, of loyal service, of generous sacrifice, of ministering angels, of tender compassion, and of heroic champions of freedom and union, whether wearing the officer’s shoulder strap or the private’s blouse. In what a halo of immortality is framed the glorified face of Abraham Lincoln!
“Let us also take heart in the assurance that so it will be with the clouds and storms of today. They will demand the exercise of all our courage, patriotism and good sense. There must be the unflinching and generous contribution of these to the testing problems that are upon us. In the years from ’61 to ’65 it seemed as if the only questions affecting the future welfare and destiny of the country were the engrossing questions of that time,—union, freedom, equal rights. Slavery abolished and the union restored, what then was there to cause anxiety, what other problem to solve, what else to do but eat, drink and be merry and bask in the sunshine of tranquility? And yet it was only the opening into new arenas of conflict, or rather it was one more step in that unceasing conflict of contending forces which is only another name for human progress. There has been no year since your service in the field when the battle has not been on, not of shot and shell but of the clashing activities of peace—the struggle of clashing interests, out of the very selfishness of which, however, springs that human endeavor which in the long run works, though at the time the mills grind hard and harsh, the ultimate steady, average betterment of all.
“This is civilization. This is the world’s march onward and upward. It is not the immediate event, striking and historic as that may be. It is the steadily culminating march of the human soul towards better things, of which the event is only the expression. It is the steady, ceaseless widening of the thoughts. of men with the process of the suns. Glorious as were Gettysburg and Appomattox, the great glory was that we had reached that degree of the widening of our thoughts, that point in moral conviction and devotion in which those great victories were only the incident of the greater moral victories of freedom over slavery, of right over wrong—victories just as much for our Southern brethren as for ourselves. So today each sore and its exposure however mortifying and disheartening in itself, each financial dishonesty, each corrupt prostitution of the trust of office or of property, taken in connection with the scrutiny and attack that unearth it, with the outraged public sentiment that pursues it, and with the reform that follows it, is a step forward. And as the problem you solved was not the final one, so the problems which we are now working out are only those of the immediate day. We solve them; we discover and correct the evil; we reform the method in this or that department. But tomorrow and so long as human nature is human nature the plagues of Egypt will be always with us, and there is no safety but in eternal vigilance, eternal patriotism, eternal service and sacrifice. That is civilization; that is human progress. Let the young men of the generation of today fight the good fight for righteousness, which is now calling them to battle, as you in your day fought the good fight for union and freedom.”
ADDRESS BY MR. HAMLIN.
Hon. Charles S. Hamlin of Boston, former assistant secretary of the U. S. treasury, and a director of the Westford Academy, was the last speaker. In the course of a brief but spirited address he said: “Almost every summer of my life for twenty-one years was spent in this Town, and the memory of them is very dear. I remember the swimming pool and the fishing in Stony Brook; the good old games of baseball; and singing in the church choir. There were many interesting men here in those days. I remember so well the letters I used to write here to my grandmother; and I still have one of them in which I promised to drive the cows for her if she would only let me visit her for the summer. I had a princely allowance then of thirty-five cents a week, and my first financial contract was an agreement by which I paid fifteen cents to Henry Hutchins to drive the cows for me that year. How well I remember the railroad in those days. A ticket to Boston was then an affair a yard long, and the conductor was a kindly man who once stopped the train because a little girl had injured her finger. Troop F Cavalry in those days seemed to me the most inspiring body of mounted men in the whole world.”
The exercises closed late in the day with the singing of “America” by the company.
A committee consisting of Oscar R. Spalding, Edward M. Abbot, Andrew Johnson of the Board of Selectmen, with addition of Sherman H. Fletcher, George T. Day, Edward Fisher, Julian A. Cameron and Wesley O. Hawkes were responsible for planning and conducting the 1910 Memorial Day activities. Following are the biographies of several of the more prominent men involved with that special day.
Lt. William Metcalf
William Metcalf was born in Bradford, near Leeds, England, November 19, 1819, and died in Camden, N.J., June 18, 1900. His father and grandfather were woolen manufacturers and were said to be relatives of Sir Charles Metcalf, Governor General of India and of Canada. William came to America in 1835.
William married Nancy Elizabeth Crook, who was born in Plattsburgh, NY, November 14, 1822 and died in Springfield, Mass., March 2, 1881. William and Nancy were married October 13, 1845 in Newport, R.I. Her mother was a Nelson, supposed to be a cousin of Lord Nelson, Admiral in the Royal Navy.
William Metcalf was one of 19 Westford soldiers who enlisted on April 20 or 22, 1861, and is often credited as being the first from Westford to enlist. Except for one Surgeon, he was the only officer who served from Westford.
After his death, his son brought his body to Westford by train for burial in Fairview Cemetery beside that of his wife.
Col. Edwin D. Metcalf
Edwin Dickinson Metcalf was born March 14, 1848, in Smithfield, R.I., oldest son of Lt. William & Nancy Elizabeth (Crook) Metcalf. He died Dec. 31, 1915, in Auburn, N.Y. Edwin and his family moved to Westford when he was a young boy. He attended Westford Academy, followed by a course at Eastman’s Business College. He married Caroline Walker Flint Sept. 11, 1873, in Fall River, Mass.
After two years in Virginia and seven in Providence, R.I., he moved to Springfield, Mass., in 1874. Here he established three furniture companies, the house of Metcalf & Luther of Springfield, The Holyoke Furniture Company of Holyoke, and H. S. Martin and Company of Chicopee.
While at Springfield he became interested in many railroad and manufacturing enterprises; and was President of a construction company which built railroads in Southern states; President of the Springfield and New London Railroad; Vice-President of the John Hancock National Bank; Director of the Merchants National Bank; and Director of the Massachusetts Life Insurance Company. He took an active part in politics, and served as a Representative in the State Legislature two terms; and also State Senator and Mayor of Springfield. The title of Colonel was acquired by service three years as Assistant Quartermaster General of Massachusetts, with rank of Colonel on the staff of Governor George D. Robinson (1884-1887).
In 1890 Col. Metcalf joined the D. M. Osborne & Co., in Auburn, N.Y., as general manager of all the firm’s extensive interests in the manufacturing of agricultural machinery. The year he joined the firm they built 20,800 machines. In 1905 the firm built 232,329 machines and was sold to the International Harvester Co. He became one of the most prominent businessmen and manufacturers in Auburn, where he also amassed a fortune in realty, as head of the Columbian Rope Company, and in consulting with some of the largest concerns in the country.
When his father died in 1900, Col. Metcalf accompanied his remains on the train to Westford for burial in Fairview Cemetery. He was so touched by the honor and courtesy shown to his father and himself by veterans of the Civil War and others that he sought some way of repaying the town where he grew up. His donations of our Civil War Memorial and the stained-glass window of St. Elizabeth leading a child through the path of life that illuminates the back wall of the altar at the First Parish Church were his way of remembering his parents and thanking our town.
Oscar Richardson Spalding
Oscar R. Spalding was born in Westford Aug. 24, 1867, son of Elbridge G. Spalding and Hannah (Richardson) Spalding. He died in Westford Sept. 28, 1941, and is buried in the family plot at Fairview Cemetery. He was widely known as a lumber dealer, orchardist and town official. He was also a director of the Westford Water Co. In 1900 he married Fanny Bethia Prescott. They had no children.
He was educated in the schools of the town and attended Westford Academy. He later served as a trustee of the Academy.
In addition to his business interests Mr. Spalding served the town in many public offices. He was a member of the board of registrars 1892-1903. From 1903 to 1923 he served as a selectman. He was a member of the original finance board in 1908, serving for one year, and again from 1929 to 1940. In 1910, at the request of his neighbor, Mrs. Elizabeth Whitney, donor of the Whitney playground, Mr. Spalding became a member of the original playground committee and served until his death. He was also a member of the town forest committee, and in 1926 he donated 13 acres on Cold Spring Rd. for the Spalding Town Forest. He was a charter member of the Westford Fire Department, and was an honorary member of E. M. Abbot Hose Co. No. 1 of Westford Center.
Mr. Spalding was a member of the standing committee of the First Parish, Unitarian. He was a charter member of Troop F, Spalding Light Cavalry Association, and was a member of the Association’s executive committee for many years, until his death. He donated 122 acres of land to the town prior to his death and another 107 acres in his will. Mr. Spalding is buried in the Spalding family lot in Fairview cemetery.
John Davis Long
John Davis Long was born Oct. 27, 1838, in Buckfield, Me., the son of Zadock & Julia (Davis) Long. He died Aug. 28, 1915, in Hingham, Mass.
Gov. Long was educated in the public schools of Buckfield and at Hebron Academy in Maine. He graduated from Harvard University in 1857 and then served as preceptor of Westford Academy (1857-1859). He became a trustee of Westford Academy in 1869. He remained a lifelong friend of our town.
Gov. Long studied law at Harvard Law School and in private offices; was admitted to the bar in 1861 and commenced practice in Buckfield before moving to Boston in 1863 and finally to Hingham in 1869. He served as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, 1875-1878, was Speaker of the House, 1876-1878 and quickly advanced to serve as Lieutenant Governor in 1879.
He was elected Governor of Massachusetts in 1880 as a Republican and proceeded to shrink state government, reduce taxes on mortgages and local shipping, and oppose the Commonwealth’s capital punishment laws. He served in Congress from 1883 to 1889. President McKinley appointed him Secretary of Navy, 1897-1902. Theodore Roosevelt was his assistant secretary, 1897-1898.
Gov. Long married Mary Woodward Glover in 1870, with whom he had two daughters before her death in 1882. In 1886 he married Agnes Pierce with whom he had a son, Pierce, in 1887.
Capt. Sherman H. Fletcher
Sherman Heywood Fletcher was born Dec. 24, 1846, in Westford, the son of Sherman Dewey & Emily Augusta (Fletcher) Fletcher. He died Mar. 7, 1928, in Westford. Sherman was co-owner of the Wright & Fletcher store at 40 Main St. with Harwood “Dick” Wright. Wright & Fletcher was started in 1873 by their fathers. Sherman did not serve in the Civil War, but he was the second captain of the Spaulding Light Cavalry and later served as president of the Spaulding Light Cavalry Association.
An extraordinary public servant, he served as the Westford Center postmaster for 20 years, and he served on the board of selectmen for 25 years. He was a founder of the Westford Water Co. in 1906 and also served as a director and as manager. He was appointed to Westford’s first Finance Committee in 1908. In 1909 he became Westford’s first Fire Chief. He also served as president of the Westford Board of Trade and as a trustee of Westford Academy. During World War I he was secretary of our local public safety committee. He was a republican and a long-time member of the First Parish Church, Unitarian.
Sherman married Mary E. Richardson on Jan. 8, 1874, in Westford. Her sister was married to Westford’s last Civil War veteran, Wayland F. Balch, making them brothers-in-law.
Charles Sumner Hamlin
Charles Sumner Hamlin was born Aug. 30, 1861, in Boston, the son of Edward Sumner & Anna Gertrude (Conroy) Hamlin. He died April 25, 1938, in Washington, DC. Both his father and grandfather were born in Westford. He was descended from Maj. Eleazer Hamlin (c. 1732-1807) who moved to Westford from Harvard in 1789 when he married his third wife in Westford. They lived in the Fletcher Tavern at 2 Hildreth St.
Charles graduated from Harvard Univ. with an A.B. in 1883 and from Harvard Law School in 1886. He married Hybertie Lansing Pruyn on June 4, 1898, in Albany, N.Y., where she was born. He served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury from 1893 to 1897 under President Grover Cleveland and again from 1913 to 1914 under President Woodrow Wilson. He was an unsuccessful candidate for governor of Massachusetts in 1902 and 1910. On August 10, 1914, President Wilson appointed him as the first Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, where he served two years. He was also a trustee of Westford Academy.
Rev. Benjamin H. Bailey
Rev. Benjamin Holloway Bailey was born July 5, 1829, in Northboro, Mass., the son of Holloway and Lucy Bailey. He died April 22, 1919, in Jamaica Plain, Mass. On June 1, 1864, he married Emily Frances Sampson in Dedham, Mass., who was born there Sept. 12, 1840.
Rev. Bailey attended Gates Academy, Marlboro, and Leicester Academy before receiving a B.A. degree from Harvard University in 1854. After teaching for several years and studying law for 14 months in Providence, R.I., he entered the Harvard Divinity School, graduating in 1860. He served churches in Dedham (where he was ordained March 14, 1861), Portland, Me., Marblehead and Malden before coming to Westford in 1903. He served as pastor of Westford’s First Parish Church, Unitarian, for 8 ½ years until his retirement in October, 1911.
His obituary in The Westford Wardsman, April 26, 1919, said that “He will be remembered with a full measure of love and reverence by all who were fortunate to know him when he was minister of the First Parish church in our ancient Westford. He was a manly and practical type of the early New England minister, as well as a characteristic illustration of our early New England forefathers—tall, erect, solid and substantial in his attitude towards all humanity. His conduct was the verdict of a sound judgment, formed from a sane viewpoint.”
 The Harrison Granite Co. provided the granite base for the statue. The bronze statue of the Union soldier, a private, was obtained by Col. Metcalf from the Roman Bronze Works, also of New York City.
 “Abiel and Mrs. Abbot personally paid for repairs and redecorating the interior of the sanctuary in 1910. That same year a memorial window, a mahogany railing and an organ screen were given [by Col. Edwin Metcalf] in memory of [his mother,] Nancy Metcalf.” George E. Downey, A History of the First Parish of Westford, p. 67 (1975).