Civil War Monuments
The Civil War touched every state and every town, and Vernon was no exception. Companies formed and embarked on trains out of Rockville and Vernon Depot. Some soldiers, of course, never came home: 36 died, 72 wounded, 14 were missing and 39 captured and in Confederate prisons.
See the Vernon Historical Society's article, 'The Last Full Measure Of Devotion: Vernon's Sacrifices in the Civil War' published in their May 2005 newsletter for some detail on the battles our soldiers engaged in.
The Civil War was fought 150 years ago so there are new books and websites being published to commemorate the war and remind and educate us of the significance of this American war where brother fought brother. The Connecticut Historical Society has gathered information online and the Central Connecticut State University has a guide to resources at their 150th Anniversary of the Civil War: Connecticut & the Civil War website.
Vernon has two unique memorials to the Civil War, one in Rockville and one in Talcottville. Some of the information below is drawn from the website CTMonuments.net - Connecticut History in Granite and Bronze. Click the photos for larger images.
Mount Hope Cemetery Obelisk
Mount Hope Cemetery in Talcottville is the home of Vernon's earliest Civil War monument, an obelisk at the highest point in the cemetery. The cemetery was dedicated in 1867 and the memorial monument was dedicated two years later in 1869. The memorial is an obelisk with the names engraved of those from the area who gave their lives in the war.
The cemetery itself was created by the Talcott family as a final resting place for family, mill workers and others in their community. The name comes from the hill where the cemetery is located. You can't see the cemetery from either Main Street or Elm Hill in Talcottville and, indeed, most people don't know it exists. Until the recent addition of historical markers in town there were no signs indicating the cemetery's location and the entrances double as private driveways.
The brownstone monument honors eight local residents who died during Civil War service. It was dedicated in 1869 and restored in 2008. The base of the monument’s front face bears a dedication reading, 'Erected to the memory of the soldiers from this place who gave their lives to their country in the War Against the Rebellion.' The family names are Stoughton, Hunn, Foster, Loomis, Brown and Bantley.
Memorial Day 2011
The men served at Gettysburg, Antietam and one died in the Andersonville Confederate prison. For details on the men and their service plus additional photos of the monument see CTMonuments.net's Talcottville Soldiers' Monument.
Each Memorial Day the town of Vernon has two parades. The primary parade is held in Rockville, but usually a day earlier one of the state's shortest parades takes place in Talcottville. Marchers begin at the Congregational Church and proceed to the monument in the cemetery where ceremonies are held. The parade usually includes Vernon's mayor and council members as well as the fire and police departments, and veterans. Both John Talcott, Jr at 103 years old and his son John Talcott III are veterans and are usually honored guests at the service.
Every Memorial Day, employees of the town's cemeteries place flags by the graves of veterans from all wars. Civil War veterans have special metal stars to hold their flags.
» See Vernon Patch article for more information and a video.
Memorial Building & Civil War Museum
Our town hall, The Memorial Building at 14 Park Place, was built in 1889 as a memorial to those who served in the Civil War. On the second floor, the Sons of Union Veterans, a fraternal organization, have their headquarters and museum in the original rooms used by the veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic.
A suggestion for a memorial to soldiers of the Civil War was seriously put forth in 1884. At the annual town meeting later that year a committee was named to consider the matter, including the possibility of an alternative to the usual monument. Purchase of a lot for a building in 1885 was followed in 1887 by appropriation of $75,000 to erect a Memorial and Town Building on the historic site of the First Congregational Church.
The cornerstone was laid on May 30, 1889, with appropriate ceremonies, including a parade and speeches. Construction was completed and the building put into use as city hall in September 1890. Three workmen died during construction, falling from the tower.
Museum Exec Director|
It is significant architecturally because it is an example of a masonry building in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, and because of its well-designed interior details. The massive bulk of the structure with rock-faced brownstone first floor and window trim, heavy-arched entry, and slate roof and tower all follow the precedent popularized by architect H.H. Richardson (1838-1886). The large open spaces of the interior and wide ceremonial stairway are consistent with the presence and purpose of the building as a municipal center in an urban location. The preservation of the G.A.R. hall virtually untouched is unusual, perhaps unique, in Connecticut.
The New England Civil War Museum is located inside the longest continuously used Civil War veterans hall in the United States. It is the only museum in Connecticut devoted to the fighting men of the War of the Rebellion. The New England Civil War Museum and its library, works to convey the lessons of the American Civil War. They exist to perpetuate the memory of the Civil War and of those who helped to save the Union, through the preservation and display of relics of that war.
The G.A.R. meeting room is handsome overall and the windows are spectacular. Today, the former GAR meeting space is largely occupied by the New England Civil War Museum, while the building continues to host municipal offices and a legislative chamber.
For more information and photos visit CTMonuments.net's Rockville Memorial Building and the CT Historical Society's Vernon Memorial Building.