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From the western face of the beautiful monument which Deerfield has recently erected to her fallen braves, I copy--"With Pious Affection and Gratitude, their Descendants would hereby associate the Sacrifices and Sufferings of the Fathers of the Town, in establishing our Institutions with those of their Children in Defending them." In this Deerfield has done well; but there is another duty which she owes to her departed ancestry, another tribute to their trials and sufferings, another offering to keep their memory green. Beneath the level turf or broken mounds of our ancient cemetery, many brave
" forefathers of the hamlet sleep,"
the place of their repose often marked by moss-grown monuments,
" With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture decked."
But very many graves contain, and always will, the ashes of the unknown dead. All record, trace or tradition of their tenants, being forever lost. But there is one grave in a corner, neglected, overgrown, unmarked and almost unknown, a constant reproach to the passing generation, and a constant appeal for recognition for the unhonored slain. For these died not peacefully in their beds, stricken by years, waiting for their crowns, with the dimly seen faces of loved ones around them, and the solemn voice of prayer falling upon their dull ears; nor were they the victims of lingering disease, or cut down by the malignant pestilence of the wilderness,--these two score and ten, who here wait for the last trump. On that darkest day of Deerfield's history, when more than one-half of her people were slain or carried into a miserable captivity, these gave up their lives in darkness, or by the glare of their burning homes, by thrust or shot, or fatal crash of tomahawk, mid yells of savage fury, cries of despair, dying groans and cruel taunts. Stalwart men and noble matrons, infants of a few weeks, and men who had outlived their "appointed time." Young men and maidens, newly made mothers, and brides of a month, childhood and youth all went down to death in that terrible storm, and were all swallowed by this common grave. How much longer shall the men of Deerfield and the descendants of these slaughtered ones, allow this reproach to rest upon them? how much longer suffer this sad neglect, before a fitting memorial shall be erected to mark the consecrated spot, and be another proof of our "affection and gratitude?"

Deerfield, July 30, 1869. s.

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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There is currently no available "Beginner" label. The following is the default level label: The roots of the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association lay in two important events: the distress of some residents of Deerfield, Massachusetts, to the destruction of John Sheldon's "Indian House" in 1848, and the erection of the Civil War monument in the town in 1867, one of the country's first such memorials. In 1869, George Sheldon, a descendent of John and a leading citizen of the town, sought to make a sort of permanent celebration of Deerfield's heritage. He began a series of articles in the Greenfield Gazette and Courier calling for more attention to Deerfield's past. Here he refers to a barely marked mass grave for the victims of the 1704 raid on Deerfield and demands a more substantial monument. Although there was some local resistance, by 1870 these calls had been met by the founding of the Memorial Association, an organization that continues to this day. The monument Sheldon called for in this 1869 article was at last dedicated in July 1901.


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"Deerfield"- Sheldon talks about Monuments

publisher   Greenfield Gazette and Courier
author   George Sheldon (1818-1916)
date   Aug 2, 1869
location   Greenfield, Massachusetts
height   6.5"
width   2.0"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L02.154

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See Also...

"Deerfield Street"- Rebuttal on Monuments

Civil War Monument

"Deerfield" regarding Monument Banter

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