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It gives us much satisfaction to know that "S" still lives, all rumors to the contrary notwithstanding. When we penned that article, we did not suppose we were criticising the project of a sick man, having never, knowingly, courted a fencing match with any person unable to return the blow. At this time "S" had been spending some few weeks on the old Colony Coast, hunting out inquiries all the way from Plymouth Rock to Martha's Vineyard. Our supposition was that he would come back to Deerfield, rejuvenated by sea breezes and antiquity, and would sail into the Monument contest with all the vim of a Roman gladiator. Unfortunately; our friend came back seriously unwell, but is now much better, and has already buried "Pocumtuck," and proposes, still further, to write a series of articles upon monuments, beginning, we presume, with the tower of Babel, and ending with the one in the old Deerfield graveyard which was "gratuitously" erected by "Uncle Sid." When our friend can prove that it is necessary for a cow to have two tails, he may perhaps convince us that another monument for the fathers of the town is necessary. We have already a monument which covers the entire subject, and "S." will find it so if he will look at the west side of the Soldiers' Monument. Three sides are devoted to the young men who fell during the rebellion, and the west side to the fathers of the town. It seems, by this, that "Pocumtuck" is not the only man who has defective eyesight. Our eyesight was defective because we made use of a symbolic word, and chose to say granite soldier instead of red sandstone soldier. Perhaps making use of red sandstone would have improved the soldier and the sentence, and also the reputation of "Pocumtuck's" eyes. But where have our neighbor's eyes been during all this time that he has failed to see that west side inscription, as follows:

"This Monument stands upon the old meeting house hill, and is within the limits of the Old Fort, built A. D., 1689, and which remained until A. D., 1758, and was one of the chief defenses of the early settlers against the attacks of the savage Indians. 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 our fathers in defending them.

'Aye, call it holy ground,
The spot where first they trod;
They have left unstained what here they found--
Freedom to worship God.'"

If the above does not clearly show that the fathers have been sufficiently honored by monumental inscription, then our eyesight is as defective as our neighbor states. It is not very probably that this question of another monument in Deerfield will seriously affect the destiny of either Europe or America. It seems to most of us a childish project, with which we do not care to be bored. Every silly plan generally has several tails attached, and we have heard it said if the monument is erected we must go through the splendid agony of a bi-centennial celebration, at which the committee of arrangements and special constables will have an opportunity to wear blue ribbon badges, and others can be gratified with a seat on the platform. "Pocumtuck" has become so thoroughly selfish that he would much rather sell a pair of boots or a gallon of non-explosive kerosene than take any stock in appendix monuments or celebrations which are more wearisome than beneficial. Neighbor Sheldon is writing a good history of the town, and let us endeavor to give it a large circulation, but do not bother us, the majority, with too many unnecessary projects.

Mr. Editor, you are probably tired of this subject, and the next time I bother you, it will be upon some other topic. Neighbor "S." does not get off the track very often, but when he does, we shall claim the privilege to give him a little wholesome advice. POCUMTUCK.

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Deerfield, Massachusetts, has become famous as a town that celebrates, even lives on, its past. But there were critics of the first steps the town took in memorializing its past. This column is written by a resident who no doubt was a close neighbor of "S," or George Sheldon, the leader of the memorial movement and later founder of the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association. Sheldon's push for a monument above the grave of the townspeople who were killed during the 1704 Raid on Deerfield ultimately would be successful, but as is typical in small towns, not without a fair amount of discussion and dissent. Here, Sheldon is criticized for working to duplicate what the town's recently erected soldiers' monument already memorialized. As perhaps this writer feared, Deerfield residents continued to memorialize other historical places in the area in and around the town.


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"Deerfield" regarding Monument Banter

publisher   Greenfield Gazette and Courier
author   James C. Pratt (1832-1890)
date   Oct 11, 1869
location   Greenfield, Massachusetts
width   2.25"
height   9.25"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L02.156

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See Also...

Civil War Monument

"Deerfield"- Sheldon talks about Monuments

"Deerfield Street"- Rebuttal on Monuments

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