Switching gears a bit, I'll be focusing on some of the minutemen statues in the area.
The first and arguably most famous statue is the minuteman statue at the Concord North Bridge. According to the Minuteman National Park discussion, the statue is not of Isaac Davis. The Park says: [I]t represents a (generic) farmer who leaves his plow and picks up his musket to defend his land and liberty. However, when French was researching the statue, he did make sketches of some of the descendants of Isaac Davis of Acton (killed at the Bridge).
However, according to a number of authorities (and local tradition), it is generally understood to be a statue of Captain Isaac Davis of Acton. As he was among the first to fall at the Bridge, after leading the Acton Minutemen at the head of assembled troops, Davis's courage and leadership certainly merited recognition.
This statue was sculpted by then-Concord resident, Daniel Chester French. An Exeter, New Hampshire, native, French came to Concord to study sculpting. In 1872, the Concord town meeting commissioned the statue for the centennial celebration in the next April. French was given the honor to create the art work - his very first statue of this size. He worked on the monument for two years.
The statue was unvieled on April 18, 1875, before an assembly of townspeople and honored guests, including President Ulysses S. Grant and Ralph Waldo Emerson. The statue was very well received as it signaled a romantic realism that was new to American art. French did not attend the unveiling as he was in Europe.
As one can readily see, with an open shirt and rolled up sleeves, this minutemen is ready to fight in the weather of mid-May - not the 40+ degree of the weather on April 19, 1775. But romance has its purpose as well.
The statue includes a plough, signifying that it was farmers who left their fields to fight for their country. Of course, Isaac Davis was a blacksmith, not a farmer. Somewhat interestingly, a later statue of a minuteman created by H.H. Kitson for the town of Framingham did have an anvil next to the patriot.
The Concord Minuteman statue is one of the more well-known symbols of the Commonwealth. That was evidenced recently by the inclusion of the statue on the Massachusetts state quarter issued by the United States Mint in 2000.
The statue also serves as the symbol for the National Guard.
Daniel Chester French went on to sculpt many notable statues across the country, most notably the figure of the seated Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. French's life and works are commemorated at his summer home, Chesterwood, in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Chester's final resting place is in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetary in Concord, Massachusetts, not far from his statue of "The Minuteman".
This statue may be seen just across the North Bridge at the Minuteman National Park in Concord. Parking is readily available.
9 months ago