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  • Short History of Bolton Veterans' Memorial

    The Wall | The Doughboy | The Scout | The Cannon | Battlefield Marker | The Mission


    MEMORIAL SITE HISTORY AND DESCRIPTION


            For two years prior to the Fourth of July 1921, the Bolton townspeople were involved in the planning of the erection of a suitable monument to recognize the three members of the Town who made the supreme sacrifice in World War One. These men were: Vinton Roger Wells, Allen Mills Seaman and George James Beers. The announcement of the planning came on the Fourth of July celebration in 1919. The seed fell on fertile soil, for soon Robert Whitcomb began soliciting funds. A Memorial Committee was formed, and Reverend Ernest M. Stires was elected to chair it. It was Reverend Stires who chose the present site. Local citizens, spearheaded by Robert Whitcomb, donated the then grand sum of $2,000 to pay for the sculpting and casting of the doughboy.

            Arrangements were made to hire a sculptor and a foundry, and the Doughboy was created. Following negotiations, The First Baptist Church of Bolton Landing, located just to the west of the site, sold the present site to the Town of Bolton in 1921 for one dollar, with the major restriction that the site would be used for a monument or memorial.

            The dedication date was 4 JUL 1921. The Glens Falls Post Star reported that the observance of the day opened with a dinner served to all G.A.R.* and ex-servicemen and their friends, followed by a concert by the Citizens' Band of Glens Falls. The following program was then carried to a successful finish on the Baptist Church lawn:

            Reverend George Robinson, Pastor of the Methodist Church, gave the invocation. The presentation of the monument to the Town of Bolton was made by the Chairman of the Committee, the Reverend Ernest M. Stires, D.D.

            Mrs. Claira Dagels, Mrs. Mary Seaman, Mrs. Edith Seaman, and Mrs. Mae Wells accomplished the unveiling of the monument.

            The Honorable George McAneny gave the principle address, while the closing Prayer was offered by Lawrence M. Sears of the Baptist church, followed by the Benediction given by The Reverend G.C. Dickinson, rector of the Episcopal Church of St. Sacrement.

            "America", "The Star Spangled Banner", and "Onward Christian Soldiers" were the songs of the day. Madame Louise Homer, of Homer Point, sang. The dedication ended.

            Mrs. Claira Dagels, Mrs. Mary Seaman, Mrs. Edith Seaman, and Mrs. Mae Wells accomplished the unveiling of the monument.

            The site underwent almost no change over the years until in November 1999 a local resident, Mr. J. Buckley Bryan, Jr., himself a veteran, approached Bolton Supervisor Deanne Rehm with the idea that the site be substantially improved, and that he would fund the project. Supervisor Rehm directed Mr. Bryan to the local American Legion Post, #961. Mr. Timothy Pratt, Commander of the Post, immediately formed a *Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Committee, and appointed Mr. Bryan as Chair, follow suggestion of Mr. Ross French. The committee was staffed with Legionnaires, whose names appear on page 19 of the original brochure.

            In his many books and tapes relative to World War II, particularly "Citizen Soldiers", "The Victors", "Band of Brothers", and "D Day", Mr. Stephen E. Ambrose consistently pointed out that the people on the battlefield who conducted most of the operations were Junior Officers and Senior Non Coms (non commissioned officers). The people of Bolton who worked for eighteen months on the planning and some of the actual construction of the Bolton Veterans' Memorial site precisely the type people Ambrose referenced Junior officers and Senior Non Coms.

            Everybody went to work to create the site you see today. The following paragraphs describe the major components of the Bolton Veterans' Memorial:



    THE WALL


            The wall, as we here in Bolton call it, was made from five pieces of "select mahogany" granite, quarried in Quebec, and then manufactured into specified sizes in Beebe, Province of Quebec Canada. A diamond saw was used to cut the blocks into four eight-inch-thick slabs, and one ten-inch-thick slab. When two of the eight-inch-thick pieces are put end to end, they measure five feet high at one end, four feet high at the other end, and are eighteen feet long. The slabs were then polished in a large electric polishing machine, until a mirror finish was obtained on both sides and all edges. The center wall or "die", is three feet six inches wide by eight feet tall by ten inches thick. The five pieces were then shipped to Barre, Vermont, where the rubber stencils were applied, the letter centers were removed, and the letters were sandblasted into the granite. The letters were of the skin frosted type, and then white lithochrome was applied to highlight the letters, even when they are wet.

            The total weight of the thirty-nine-foot six-inch wall is seventeen tons.

            Over an eighteen-month period, the name gathering sub committee of the Memorial Committee collected 869 names of Bolton people who were in the service when the USA was in conflict with other nations. We are proud to report that the Town of Bolton has sent at least one person to every major conflict the United States of America has been in, a remarkable record for a very small rural town.



    THE DOUGHBOY


            The "Doughboy" is carrying a 1903 thirty caliber Springfield bolt action rifle which was used extensively not only in World War I but also World War ll and Korea, where it was used as a sniper rifle. It was extremely accurate, even at long distances. The receiver action was based on the German-developed Mauser action. The thirty-caliber cartridge was also used in the Garand semi-automatic rifle used in WWII and Korea. He is also carrying a gas mask in a pouch near his head, to be used if the enemy poses a chlorine gas attack

            The stone pedestal was built by Hiram Seaman in June of 1921, and was originally located on the front center of the site. The stone was mined here in the Town of Bolton at a place called the "Pinnacle" by local folks, and delivered to the site by horse drawn wagon. In 2000, the pedestal moved from the front center of the site to its present location after being disassembled, stored, and reassembled.

            The "Doughboy" was sculpted by, J. Paulding, and was cast in Chicago at the American Art Bronze Foundry, which used the sand casting process.



    THE SCOUT


            Whether he is patrolling the hedgerows of Normandy, the jungles of the south Pacific, or the frozen mountains of Korea, the Scout portrays a scene far to familiar to many veterans who were there.

            He is on a reconnaissance mission. Walking as stealthy as he can, this infantryman keeps a low profile so as to avoid detection by the enemy. Placing one foot carefully in front of the other, he keeps his trigger finger near the trigger, but not on it, to prevent the accidental discharge of his sub-machine gun. He carries all of his equipment tied down to avoid any noise that might be detected by an alert member the enemy forces. He wears the stripes and the wrinkles of a seasoned non-commissioned officer. His experience tells him to stay alert. As the Scout steps onto a stone, he hears something off to his right. He freezes for a moment, and shifts only his eyes. He knows that his mission as a scout is not to engage the enemy, but he knows that if need be, he will dispatch his foe, something he has done many times before, either by bullet, knife, or garrote.

            The scout is carrying a small arsenal of weapons, including a .45-caliber 1911 A-1 automatic colt pistol, a .45-caliber Thomson Sub-Machine Gun, a trench knife, a hand grendade, and extra ammunition in magazines in a special pouch located on his lower back. In the many pouches and pockets of his clothing is much more gear used in his grizzly work of keeping us free.

            Former United States Army Captain Robert Eccleston sculpted "The Scout" in 2000 in oil-based clay in Schuyler Falls, NY, operating in his Cloudsplitter Studio. Following completion of his sculpture Mr. Eccleston supervised the silicon bronze casting of the final statue at the Tallix foundry in Beacon, New York, where the lost wax process was used.



    THE CANNON


            The cannon is a 4.7-inch model of 1906, and was constructed in 1918. The carriage was built by the Rock lsland Arsenal while the gun tube and all associated firing mechanisms were made by the Northwestern Ordnance Company. According to the records at the Watervliet Arsenal, only 93 cannons of this type were made, and at the time, they were state of the art artillery.

            This cannon was brought to the Town of Bolton by State Senator Cavanaugh, in the mid 1930's and was positioned on a promontory of Northwest Bay for many years and was used as a locator for a special fishing hole by local anglers. Mr.Fred Streever acquired the cannon Mr. Cavanaugh and it was he who positioned the cannon overlooking the waters of Lake George. Mr. Joseph Morabito purchased the cannon from Mr. Fred Streever for a modest fee in the mid 50's and moved the cannon to his property west of Route 9N where just about every young soldier in the Town played on it, destroying invading infidels and barbarians from all quarters.

            Mr. Joseph Morabito and his family graciously donated the fine old historic piece of ordnance to the Town of Bolton with the restriction that it be placed on the site. The cannon was completely refurbished by the R.M. Lill Company of Castleton, New York. The wheel spokes are made of either white oak or ash, and are in remarkably good shape. The wheel bearings are still operational.



    THE BATTLEFIELD MARKER


            Located in front of "THE Scout" is a bronze rendition of a battlefield marker, compromised of a Garand .30-caliber semi-automatic rifle, a compatible bayonet, a steel helmet, and a set of dog tags.

            During pitched firefights ground soldiers, also called infantry men, or "G.I.'s" (an abbreviation for General Issue), officers and enlisted alike, were wounded and killed in the heat of the battle. Their bodies fell to the ground. The corpsmen assisted to the best of their abilities, sometimes dodging bullets in the process. Many owe their lives to these gallant non combatants, some of whom were shot at by the enemy. When the fighting ceased, the rifle of the fallen soldier, whether it be a 1903 Springfield or a Garand semi-automatic, was fitted with a Bayonet if it had not already been so fitted, and stuck in the ground alongside the fallen warrior. Currently the M16 A-2 semi-automatic rifle and a Kevlar helmet are used. Times don't change much, unfortunately in this respect.

            If the soldier were still alive, and required blood plasma, the rifle was used as an intravenous (IV) tree. If the soldier died, the IV was removed and taken somewhere where someone else needed it. The helmet of the soldier was placed the top of the rifle, creating a visible marker for the graves registration personnel who collected bodies and dog tags of the deceased soldiers after the battle. Not nice, but that's the way it was and unfortunelty is. Freedom is not free.


    MISSION OF THE WAR MONUMENT


            The tomb of the unknown soldier at Arlington has exercised a profound influence upon millions of Americans who have stood in reverent silence before this national shrine. Americans who have stood there with the thought, "I have what I have because of him". Americans have stood in awe before the great statue of Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial and said, "I am what I am because of him".

            It is the purpose of even the smallest War Monument in the smallest hamlet to arouse and keep alive this feeling of reverent gratitude to those who served and died.

            How shall we commemorate their service and their sacrifice?

            If we wish to remember their young, vigorous bodies broken in our service, we shall erect Gymnasiums and Playing Fields and call them Memorials.

            If we wish to remember their carefree laughter stilled by the din of war, we shall dedicate Community Houses and Public Parks in their honor.

            But if we wish to remember their unconquerable spirit which pushed them forward when they knew that they were giving up, forever, their young, vigorous bodies and their carefree laughter and were giving them up for us, then we shall build a Monument for them as a Shrine.

            In building a Memorial, we shall reflect the character of the people who make up our community.

            If we provide Gymnasiums and Playing Fields, we shall become known as a community interested in the physical welfare of its young citizens.

            If we provide Community Houses and Public Parks, we shall become known as a community interested in the wholesome enjoyment of the good things of life.

            We must provide these things to keep faith with those who gave so much to build a better America.

            But if we do all of these things and neglect to build a Monument, the sole purpose of which is to commemorate the unconquerable spirit of those who served and died, then we shall be known as a community without a soul.

            First, let us build a Monument to make sure that their sacrifice shall never be forgotten and that their unconquerable spirit shall never die. Then, let us build the kind of America in which they would have liked to have lived.