Looking back in the history of Concord and so many names of people, who seemed to do so much for this area, pop up. One of the family names that you will see is Wadsworth, and I thought we would learn a little more about this family.
The Wadsworth family is full of men who achieved greatness during their time. Capt. Joseph Wadsworth preserved the Charter of Connecticut in 1687, Capt. Jonathan Wadsworth was killed at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777 and Richard Wadsworth moved to Springville in 1833.
Frederick Wadsworth had a store in Vicksburg and we have his letters as the soldiers during the Civil War destroyed his store, throwing items in the street, burning them and his store. He rebuilt the store, only to have it destroyed again. The farm they were living in was commandeered by the generals for their headquarters, forcing them to move away, but that is a story for another day.
John Wadsworth was born in Buffalo and later his family moved to Springville where he attended Springville Academy. He was a clerk for the store that was kept by Manly Colton. Later he went to Vicksburg to work with his brother, Frederick, and remained there until his health started to fail.
Then, he set out by sea to California where he worked in a mine. The hard fare of a miner’s life benefited him, and his weight soon climbed up to 200 pounds. After residing in San Francisco a while, he went to Oregon, where he was Assistant Commissary General in the Oregon War.
Either for business or recreation, he went to almost every part of the United States and Canada. He went to Europe where he remained for three years. During his time there he also went to the Holy Lands and Egypt, Italy and Asia, embracing the Grecian Island.
H.T. Wadsworth moved to Springville in 1833 when he was about 20 years of age. For over 40 years he had a harness business. His son Charles assisted his Uncle John when he was engaged at a sutler in the Army as well as in his harness business here in town.
So, what about the Wadsworth Monument that is in the Maplewood cemetery? Well, it required five flat cars on the S & S Railway to transport as it is 31 feet 6 inches tall and composed of Maine granite, weighing 44,663 pounds. The price at the time (1879) was $3,000. It required 8 strong horses to draw it up from the train station and three days to get it all set up.
The monument base is 6 feet, 10 inches square. Upon this base rest the second base which is 5 feet, 8 inches square and is one foot high with the name WADSWORTH engraved on one side. The third base is 5 feet, 2 inches square by one foot, 3 inches in height and upon the ledge is a Knight Templar’s chapeau and sword-cut from the solid granite.
The next section of the monument is 4-foot square and 4 feet, 3 inches high. The panels are highly polished and represent the Knight Templars’ banner. Three of the panels have inscriptions and the north side of the panel beneath a double-headed eagle, representing the 32 degrees in Masonry are the following words: “In memory of Gen. John B. Wadsworth, son of Richard, born in Buffalo, NY in 1823 … died in Springville in 1877. After extensive travels in the four quarters of the globe, he came to the home of his youth to die here and rest by the side of his parents. His respect for his ancestors incited him to provide for the erection of this family monument.”
The next section is where the cap rests 4 feet, 9 inches square by 4 feet, 2 inches high. The west face bears a charter oak, the east the letter “W,” the north side a double-headed eagle, and the south the Holy Bible, all beautifully carved in granite. On the very top, is an ancient helmet that is 2 feet, 9 inches high and set it all off.
On June 28, 1879, this monument was unveiled in a Masonic ceremony at the Maplewood Cemetery where Masons from all over the United States showed up. After arriving by train, horse and foot, they all met at the Masonic Hall on Main Street where they took up a collection and then continued to the cemetery where speeches were heard by the 350 Masons and 5,000 people who were present.
In John Wadsworth’s will, he left money to all of his family, the Masonic Knight Templar, Royal Arch Masons chapter and he left the Village of Springville $250 for the purpose of establishing a public library, providing the citizens of Springville contribute a like amount. A meeting was held and, of course, the money was provided. The Young’s People Christian Association were willing to become the custodian of these books, and would have a room furnished to keep them in.
You can come in and read more about this monument and research more of the founding fathers and families that have lived in our town on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., or on the second and fourth Sunday from 2-4 p.m. Send us an email and we can get started on your research for you and have it ready when you arrive at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (716) 592-0094.