|Monument on Peterboro Green|
We all drive our way to places using the same routes over and over, but do we ever notice things and wonder how they got there? I drove past the Peterboro Green Civil War Memorial marker continually and never really wondered how it got there until recently. Many would suspect that the Smith family put it there after the Civil War…but not so…the marker was never put there until 1893…and how it got there is an interesting story in itself.
The Peterboro Green has marked the center of Peterboro since the inception of the town by Peter Smith. Smith had placed it there and wanted it to look like Boston Commons. The Land Office and mansion of the Smith family faced it directly…though the house is now gone…burned in 1937.
The role played in the saga of the Civil War by Gerrit Smith, Peter Smith’s son, is well known in Madison County… but what about the monument?
It seems that a very industrious young man named Aaron T. Bliss, who worked in Morrisville and Madison…among other places as a young man… enlisted in the 10th NY Volunteer Calvary and served in the Civil War rising to the rank of Captain. After his service he moved to Michigan and became a successful businessman, ending up in politics serving Michigan as a Michigan State Senator and later as a member of the US House of Representatives… eventually becoming the states 25th governor.
On a return trip to his native home for a visit, he realized that Madison County did not have a monument dedicated to the men who fought and died in the war. So Bliss decided to donate one delegating John Woodbury to purchase a monument to be placed in Peterboro on the Green with the words…”Fraternity...Charity...Loyalty” carved on it.
So on July 4th, 1893 …many years after the end of the conflict…with a prayer and presentation, Bliss and other dignitaries dedicated it… and today it stands a reminder of a terrible time in the past …and honors the men caught in that struggle to preserve the Union.