Soldiers’Monument in Benton

From“Military History of Yates County” 

by Walter Wolcott, published 1895

Pg156 – 157

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Transcribed by Dianne Thomas

The town of Benton furnished 132 soldiersfor the War for the Union, of whom 38 sacrificed their lives in the service. Shortly after the close of the war, a movement was set on foot among thereturned soldiers and other residents of Benton to erect a monument to thememory of the men who enlisted from this town. An association was at length established, called the “MonumentAssociation,” of which the first officers were as follows: William J. POOL,President; Walter W. BECKER, Secretary; John D. POOL, Treasurer. As a means of raising funds for the necessary expense of erecting themonument, festivals and donation parties were at intervals held, andsubscriptions were also solicited.  Amongthe residents who were active in soliciting funds by subscription, the lateSamuel H. CHAPMAN is entitled to particular mention. The efforts of the association to establish a fitting memorial were afterseveral years crowned with success, and the first, and the first soldiers’monument erected in Yates County was dedicated with appropriate ceremonies atBenton Center on the afternoon of Saturday, June 15, 1895. 

The orator of the day was Hon. HanfordSTRUBLE, who rode with various prominent residents of Penn Yan to Benton Centerin the carriage once owned by Jemima WILKINSON, the “Universal Friend.” When they arrived at Benton Center the party was escorted to thespeaker’s stand by mounted marshals.  Thespeaker’s stand was beautifully decorated with flags and floral emblems. The address by Judge STRUBLE was particularly eloquent, and containedmany fitting references to the patriotism evinced in the town of Benton duringthe late civil strife. The programme included singing by the male quartette, andrecitations by Miss Maud SWATHOUT, J. Stuart MC ALPINE, Miss Alice POOL andThomas BAXTER.  The unveiling of themonument, the dedication ceremony and the decoration services were veryimpressive.  The weather was fineand a large gathering of people was in attendance, including many members of theGrand Army of the Republic in uniform. 

The monument is of Barre granite, and thework was executed by F. R. JENKINS, of Penn Yan. As erected, it stands in the spacious park in front of the MethodistEpiscopal Church on Maple Street.  Onthe side of the monument facing the east, appears an elegant sculptured design,representing two army muskets crossed, with bayonets affixed, also a knapsack,canteen and the bade of the Second Corps.  Onthe same side is the following inscription:

INMEMORY OF

THESOLDIERS

OFTHIS VICINITY

1861– 1865 

The names of the deceased soldiers ofBenton who are buried elsewhere than within the limits of the town, areinscribed on the north and south sides of the monument, as follows: On the north side – Robert POOL, Charles BENEDICT, 126th NYVols; Henry SOLES - 179th NY Vols; Charles E. CHAPMAN – 33rdNY Vols; Charles KIRKHAM, 111th PA Cav.    On the south side – George B. ALVORD, GeorgeFEAGLES, Charles E. WILLIS, Norman PETTIT, 148th NY Vols; MilesHODGE, Jacob HODGE, Llewellyn BAXTER, 22nd Cav., NY Vols.  The monument has a rustic base and is surmounted by a highlyfinished ball, representing a cannon ball. 

Thecommittee of arrangements, who had the erection of the monument and itsdedication in charge, were as follows: Walter W. BECKER, John D. POOL, WilliamJ. POOL., Elizur TEARS, Russell CHAPMAN, James B. MC ALPINE, Hugh A. ROE,Benjamin BRIGNS, Rev. O. A. RETAU, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church;Rev. B. R. SMITH, pastor of the Baptist church; Mrs. Emma LEE, Miss Mary CHAPMANand Miss Alice POOL.  The decorativecommittee comprised the following young ladies: Winifred REEVES, Mary LOWN,Adaline WRIGHT, Jennie BUSH, Maud ARNOLD, Ella POOL, Clara POOL, Flora WATSON,Josephine MC ALPINE, Carrie SOLES, Edna PALMATIER and Margaret LOVEJOY. 

 

 

 

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