Monday, November 5, 2012

A Monumental and Apparently Overlooked Memorial from Gloversville, New York

Last August, I was driving my mother around New York’s Mohawk Valley area while we pursued some leads for our family genealogy. But the most exciting find of the trip was this outstanding Civil War memorial in Gloversville, New York. I had to stop the car, investigate, and take photographs.

My wife and I have long made an informal study of what we call “our glorious fallens” – the war memorials erected by communities across the US, Canada, the UK, Russia, etc. – in which a community remembers and salutes those of its members who have gone to war. The monument in Gloversville ranks as one of the top five that we have found though it appears to have escaped wider notice in spite of its obvious quality.

The monument features three figures of soldiers – a central standard bearer, and two flankers. The one on the standard bearer’s right is on one knee and alert to the signs and sounds of battle, but the left, the man has apparently been hit and is slumping to the ground and his left hand clutching at his sack coat. This is remarkable grouping for the overwhelming majority of town/city Civil War memorials feature only one figure.

The monument itself was disappointingly short on information with regard to the sculptor, the sponsor(s), and even the date upon which it was erected and/or dedicated. Its principal inscription reads:


The only lead was the markings to indicate that it had been cast at the Gorham Foundry – manufacturers of the work of numerous famous and less well known artists from the US and abroad. The National Gallery of American Art in Washington DC has microfilm copies of the records from the Gorham company and I was able to spend an unfortunately fruitless afternoon looking for further information there.

James Morrison, of the Gloversville Historian’s Office, sent me a copy of the story of the monument from The Morning Herald of July 12, 1917 which offered a few more bits of information. Governor Whitman of New York led the array of dignitaries present for the dedication of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in Monument Square in the community of Gloversville, New York, though the occasion was marred by poor weather. Ironically, given the name, the memorial features only the three soldiers discussed above.

The only indications as to sponsorship were references to the memorial being a gift from the citizens of the city to its veterans, and to a General Committee apparently responsible for the project’s realization. Also present was the former Commander of the New York Grand Army of the Republic General Loud, and representatives of the local Ansel Denison Post, G.A.R. But again, the article gave no name for the sculptor and no definitive statement regarding the identity of the memorial’s sponsor.

So I am sharing my photos and what information I have on this splendid monument in the hopes that perhaps collectively we can illuminate the mystery and provide the recognition that this monument deserves. My next leads would appear to be in the City Records of Gloversville and possibly in the surviving records of the G.A.R. Ansel Denison Post.

1 comment:

Lynn Allyn Young said...

Hello, Mr. Mosher: I am very excited to read about your discovery that the Gloversville monument was created by Lorado Taft. This is actually the FOURTH version of this design, and I didn't know of it before. In addition to the Jackson, Michigan, group, you can find other versions in the national cemetery in Marion, Indiana (1915) and at Chickamauga, Georgia (1894). I recently published a book on Taft's works called "Beautiful Dreamer: The Completed Works and Unfulfilled Plans of Sculptor Lorado Taft." I have a blog on my website,, and I have just posted a note of your discovery on the book's Facebook page, I would be interested in learning of any other Taft discoveries you may have made during your amazing research, and I hope you'll keep in touch! Lynn Allyn Young