Austin Wood and the Civil War Monument in Mendon
Austin Wood's gift to the town in 1891 was a reflection of his generosity and love of his country. It had
concerned him that by 1890, twenty-five years after the Civil War had ended, no memorial had been
erected to honor the Mendon soldiers who had sacrificed their lives for their country. Losing twenty of
the town's finest young men in the war of Rebellion had been devastating, and to Austin, it seemed
appropriate that a permanent memorial be created to honor them.
The victory of the Union Army over the Confederacy came at the price of a variety of war related
casualties. Mendon soldiers met their fate on the battlefields of Antietam, Bull Run, Cedar Mountain,
and the Wilderness. Some men died of typhoid and dysentery. Others died as prisoners of war in the
dreaded Andersonville Prison. The war left the town of Mendon stricken with sorrow !!!
Austin worked with the Boston Stone Company from Worcester to design a memorial made of granite.
It is fourteen feet tall with a cannon ball on top. Its base is four feet square. The names of the
deceased soldiers are inscribed on the sides. He had it placed at the entrance to the village at the top
of Maple Street as a perpetual tribute.
In the darkest days of our history, the threat of the United States being dismantled by the secession of
the South loomed a reality. With our country's existence at stake, President Abraham Lincoln, at the
somber battlefield at Gettysburg, elegantly orated, "They gave their lives that our nation may live.........
that from these honored dead, we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave their last
full measure of devotion, that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that
this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the
people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth." Austin Wood's granite monument is a
reminder of this.
September 27, 2013
Dedication of the monument - October 5, 1891
The following is from Dr. Metcalf's Annals of Mendon.
Milford Daily News - September 25, 1891
To plan and organize the dedication ceremony, a committee was formed. The members were H. W.
Brown, A. V. Gaaskill, L. Freeman, J. A. George, and H. W. Darlilng, The town appropriated $250 for the
event. The 32-piece Worcester Brass Band was hired for $80.