By Derek M. Otto
Last year at this time, I wrote about the GAR and the log cabin on Buffalo Street that they built as there home in 1892. About that same time, they were also petitioning for funds to build a GAR monument in Springville.
Locally, the first one built in the area was in Ellicottville in 1883 and was put in place in the cemetery. Cemeteries were the logical place for the monuments. However, cemetery boards realizing the profits of the lots tore them down. Ellicottville’s GAR monument is no longer standing; like many, it was removed or displaced.
Other communities made the GAR monuments a principal center piece for the community in the 1890s. For example, in Hornell, NY, the Union Square and monument is now a Burger King succumbing to the “urban renewal” of the 1960s. Several GAR monuments do exist around western New York, in Warsaw, Calendonia, East Bloomfield and of course, Springville. J.P. Myers, Springville’s great disappearance story. and fellow GAR member. HL Hawley. were the committee that set forth the idea of the monument. They found one great benefactor in David Ingalls.
Mr. Ingalls was the son of Zimri Ingalls, who came to Concord in 1825, and bought a farm two miles northwest of the village. In 1828, David was born and in the 1840s, he moved to Buffalo and became a merchant for almost 20 years. He retired in Springville in 1862 and was known as a capitalist and real estate owner.
David’s father died in 1872 and his mother would follow in 1882, leaving David with a lot of extra land. When approached by the committee to construct the GAR monument, David offered up one of the farms he owned. If the committee could sell it, the proceeds went to the monument. Not only did he erect the monument in Fiddlers Green Park, he also has the third largest monument in Maplewood Cemetery (after Taylor and Wadsworth) and you guessed it —he was a bachelor too!
It was after David passed that JP Myers, who was handling his estate, disappeared. The monument was dedicated in 1891 and then rededicated in 1988.
So we know he put the money up for the monument and why. Have you ever wondered who carved and designed the statues? Recently, David Batterson, town historian, sent me a picture of a distant cousin of his, the master carver who carved many of the GAR, Civil War Monuments with the Union Soldier standing at rest.