Framingham History Fun Facts

How Framingham got its Civil War Memorial monument

It is recorded that after the Civil War, when the people of Framingham desired to erect a memorial to their soldiers, they found they could buy the present monument for thirty-five hundred dollars. Of this amount, five hundred dollars came easily; then donations lagged. A delegation contacted George Phipps in the old B. & A. depot – he was bound for St. Louis. They explained their position, spoke of the need of funds, and emphasized the beauty of the memorial. George Phipps listened patiently and then reached for his wallet, from which he counted out and handed to the speaker three thousand dollars, saying “Here’s your money, now buy your ‘dumb’ graven image!” And that’s how Framingham got its Civil War Memorial.

Framingham in the Civil War

The Edgell Memorial Library is a lasting symbol of extraordinary volunteer spirit that runs through Framingham’s rich history. That community spirit was on full display when Framingham was the first town in Massachusetts to establish a volunteer regiment to fight in the “War of the Rebellion.” As Tom Ellis, a Civil War historian wrote, “Framingham has a record of contributions toward preserving the Union that is second to no other municipality in the Commonwealth. Framingham acted as a lion during the Civil War, giving much more than was required of her.” It sent 12% of its population at the time – 530 men and suffered 52 fatalities.

34 Star Civil War Flag

One of the highlights of a tour through the Edgell Memorial Library is viewing the 34-star Civil War flag carried by the 13th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. This silk flag (c. 1861) was a gift to the Regiment from the firm of Hogg, Brown & Taylor of Boston, through the efforts of George B. Brown of Framingham. It was carried into battle at Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, and elsewhere. Twenty-eight men from Framingham were members of the 13th Regiment. Altogether 530 men from Framingham were enlisted in the Union Army.

At the end of the war, the 13th Regiment returned the flag to Mr. Brown who then passed it on to the Town of Framingham at the dedication ceremony of the Edgell Memorial Library in 1873. Members of the Framingham Historical Society discovered the tattered flag in a cupboard in the Library in 1999 and raised the funds to restore it for the town’s tercentennial in 2000.

Hurricane of 1938 in Framingham

The first casualty of the hurricane of 1938 was the Civil War statue in front of the Edgell Memorial Library. He was knocked off his pedestal not by the wind but by a maple tree that was blown over by the 100 mile an hour gusts. He’s looking good as new now after about 20 children at Family Day gave him a bath last Saturday with Rika McNally an outdoor sculpture preservationist.

Framingham’s Connection to the Salem Witch Trials

Did you know that Thomas Danforth provided part of his land to a victim of the notorious Salem Witch Trials? In 1692, a council was established to look into the accusations of witchcraft in Salem. As Deputy Governor of Massachusetts Bay, Thomas Danforth presided over these early proceedings. After leaving office in 1693, Danforth worked behind the scenes to bring an end to the witch hysteria. Sarah Clayes, one of the accused, mysteriously escaped from prison and ended up, with her husband and children, living on Thomas Danforth’s land in an area that came to be known as “Salem End.”

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