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of Freeland, Pa.
Soldiers Monument and Cannon at Freeland Cemetery
What's on this page:
Image at top left: Side by side views of the Soldiers Monument, separated by 125 years. The 1890s photo came from John Zubach; the 2019 color photos on this page all come from Charlie Gallagher. In fact, the impetus for this whole page came from Charlie Gallagher, which also helped me to find a fitting place for the 1890s photo. Also, additional information on the cannon was provided by Joe Sabol.
THE MONUMENT - 1894
A monument to soldiers killed in action in the Civil War was commissioned by the Freeland post of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.), Maj. C. B. Coxe Post 147. The monument was made by J. T. Masters or M. H. Master [differing names in newspaper coverage], of Shenandoah, and the combined costs ran to $2,650. Veterans from around the region were invited to come to Freeland for the parade and ceremony. The cannon was a later addition, explained further below.
Freeland Tribune, April 5, 1894: Concluding the Contract
“… the soldiers’ monument, which is to be erected by Major Coxe Post, No. 147, G. A. R., at Freeland, and which is to be built by M. H. Master, of [Shenandoah].”
Freeland Tribune, August 6, 1894
“About the next important event in Freeland’s history will be the dedication of the soldiers’ monument which will take place on the 23d inst. During the past few weeks the members of Maj. C. B. Coxe Post, No. 147, have been untiring in their efforts to have everything in readiness for the ceremonies and they have succeeded beyond their own expectations. In erecting this memorial the little band of veterans, who still remain in our midst, have done an act of patriotism that is only excelled by their work upon the many fields of battle in which they and their departed comrades participated.
Then they were in the prime of life and full vigor of manhood, but the determination of the old veterans to teach loyalty, as they practiced it, has not diminished any since the day they bid good-bye to their homes and offered themselves as a sacrifice for their country. Those were trying times, and to honor and appreciate the work accomplished by the Grand Army men, both as civilians and soldiers, the past must be recalled, as it is recorded in history, and compared with the present. Then it is that the deeds of heroism which they performed may be seen in their true worth.
Situated, as it is, upon a beautiful plot of ground in the Freeland cemetery, it is a mento for future generations to honor and guard with devotion, an evidence of the love the old veterans had for their country and which they still possess. The monument in itself is an imposing and magnificent piece of workmanship, a fitting tribute to the old soldiers and a silent testimonial to the deeds of valor participated in by the comrades who have gone to their eternal home – a lasting remembrance of the courage and patriotism displayed by American soldiers.”
Freeland Tribune, August 20, 1894: Reduced Rates [for the trains, for visitors]
“Unveiling of the soldiers’ monument, Freeland. Special reduction in rates via Lehigh Valley Railroad. Tickets sold for all trains August 23, good for return to and including August 24.”
Freeland Tribune, August 20, 1894: Drifton Items
“The collieries will work steady this week with the exception of Thursday. Everything will be idle upon that day on account of the monument dedication at Freeland.”
Freeland Tribune, August 20, 1894: Honor to Old Soldiers -
Freeland’s Monument To Be Unveiled on Thursday -
Maj. C. B. Coxe Post Has All Arrangements Completed To Make the Day One That Will Be Long Remembered in Freeland – News About the Parade
“The committee of Maj. C. B. Coxe Post has arranged the following programme for their parade here on Thursday in connection with the unveiling of the soldiers’ monument in Freeland cemetery. Several more organizations are yet to be heard from and the prospects are that the parade will be one of the largest and finest Freeland has ever seen. Reduced rates on all railroads will bring thousands of people to town, and extensive preparations are being made to accommodate all who may come. The parade will move promptly at 2 p.m. …” Here is the line-up for the parade:
Freeland Tribune, August 23, 1894: Welcome to Veterans -
Old Soldiers Coming To See The Monument Unveiled
Freeland Extends a Hearty Greeting to the Grand Army Posts and Civic Societies Which Are Gathering to Take Part in Today’s Demonstration
Freeland Tribune, August 27, 1894: Monument Unveiled -
Freeland’s Testimonial to the Soldiers of the War Is Uncovered
The follow-up reporting on the event declared that the parade “was undoubtedly the largest and finest the town has seen” and was very well attended. The ceremonies consisted of the following:
An address of welcome on behalf of the Freeland veterans by Chas. Orion Stroh, Esq.
Prayer by Rev. J. W. Bischoff, of Upper Lehigh
The singing of “America” by the Freeland Glee Club
Address by Chaplain Twing, of Brooklyn
Address by G. H. Troutman, Esq., of Hazleton
Address by Captain A. C. Darte, of Wilkes-Barre.
Following this, the monument was unveiled by Eckley B. Coxe, Jr., of Drifton.
Rev. M. J. Fallihee, of St. Ann’s church, pronounced the benediction.
The cemetery ceremony was followed by an evening campfire at the opera house, which drew a crowd. Attorney Stroh presided.
The Hazleton Liberty band played a patriotic overture.
Corporal Kay, of Philadelphia, offered several army and humorous songs and recitations.
Remarks and anecdotes of war times, frequently applauded, given by:
George H. Troutman, of Hazleton
Colonel William P. Rumple, of Philadelphia
Captain John T. Gall, of Philadelphia
Chaplain Twing, of Brooklyn
The Glee Club then sang several more songs.
“The campfire concluded with an address by John Wagner, of Drifton, who was chief marshal of the parade and chairman of the monument committee. He thanked the people for their generous assistance and said the committee found their work of soliciting very easy, so willing were the responses of all upon whom they called. The borough officials were also thanked for the freedom of the town, which had been grated to old soldiers that day. He also stated that the post is making preparations to erect markers in St. Ann’s, Upper Lehigh and Eckley cemeteries. He also expressed the wish that Freeland would soon erect a monument to the founder of the town, A. Donop, Sr.”
THE CANNON - 1895
Much of this information about the cannon comes from Charlie Gallagher, as do all of the color photos here and above. Additional information was provided after this page was initially posted by Joe Sabol. I'll share that first, with his permission:
Joe Sabol responded to my Facebook post about this page with this: I worked at the Freeland Cemetery for 5 summers after high school during college breaks. One of those summers a man from the Smithsonian Institute showed up to look at the cannon. He asked if he could scratch off the paint in a couple places near the back. It revealed that it was cast in Phoenixville PA in 1861. It was number 10 out of 16 that were made that year there. The barrel weighs 1024 pounds and according to the guy from the Smithsonian it was in good enough condition to fire. That was probably the summer of 1984 or 85.
He added: I’m not 100% sure on the year. I was there with Rover Schaub the day that the guy from the Smithsonian showed up. It was the summer before Rover passed away which I believe was the fall/winter of 84.
According to the Findagrave website, William George "Rover" Schaub died in February 1984. Thanks to Joe Sabol for sharing this .
Background: In the decades following the Civil War, the U.S. government was donating thousands of "condemned cannons" from previous wars and conflicts to towns, counties, cemeteries, and organizations for use as monuments. These were offered at no cost other than the receiving organization's arranging and paying for transportation of the large, heavy cannons.
[From Friends of the Cemetery, Medina, Ohio, Issue 32, May 2015, page 2 - they also got a cannon.]
Charlie Gallagher had sent this note: Here's something from the Congressional Record of 1895. Now you know when the cannon in the Freeland Cemetery started its journey to Freeland!
House Joint Resolution 209I had to do a bit of digging to understand the context for this. In addition to the helpful Medina, Ohio newsletter cited above, I found a few other sources, including these short articles in the Freeland Tribune. Congressman Hines requested a cannon for Freeland in summer of 1894. His resolution was passed by Congress, reported in January 1895. The Major C. B. Coxe Post, No. 147, G.A.R. would be receiving "one condemned cast iron cannon and 10 cannon balls, for use in decorating the lots set apart for the burial of ex-soldiers" in the Freeland Cemetery. The President signed the joint resolution of Congress, as reported in early March 1895.
Charlie later wrote: “Well, here is when it arrived in Freeland.” Finally, the cannon and cannonballs were received in Freeland, reported in early October 1895.
Major Charles B. Coxe (1843-1873), for whom the G.A.R. Maj. C. B. Coxe Post, No. 147 was named, was a grandson of Tench and Rebecca Coxe and served as a Civil War Union Army officer, mustering into Company M, 6th Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry in 1862 and serving until the end of the war in 1865. More about him can be found on the Findagrave website.
A CEREMONY AT THE FREELAND CEMETERY, CIRCA 1890s
This late 19th-century photo taken at the Freeland Cemetery came from John Zubach. It was previously published in the Penny Saver, issue 6(5), August 1967. I don't know what the event was that we see here. Apparently it was a rainy day, and the focus seems to be on the monument or a speaker standing in that area.
It's hard to tell, but it seems to me that the cannon may not have been in place yet. Below there are several cropped detail sections that can be viewed more clearly. This is really an amazing photo. I don't know who John Zubach got it from but I'm glad it was saved.
Here's the left portion of the photo, flagpole at right. I'm looking at the 3 men at center of this crop, two of them standing on part of the fence to see better. It seems to me that the ceremony attendees are mostly from the upper classes of Freeland society, and the 3 men are in a different social group, looking at how they're dressed. Perhaps they're recent immigrants. We have a good view of the horse-drawn carriages, too.
Close-ups of the center and right side of the photo. In the photo at right, I'm struck by how many men are wearing banded straw boater hats. At the Hat History site, it says boaters were most popular 1880-1920. Interesting to see that they were so popular among some men in Freeland.
Here's a crop of the bottom of the photo, the edge of the crowd, with a couple of kids, and a few carriages. Maybe the carriages were made by Michael Halpin or by Washburn & Turnbach, two local carriage manufacturing businesses. See the page on Transportation by horse for more about carriages, horses, liveries, etc.