In observance of the Memorial Day Holiday, all library locations will be closed on Monday, May 29th.
Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day originated in the years following the Civil War, honoring the men and women who died in the conflict. The Library is fortunate to have a volunteer whose work has done much to honor the memory of Plymouth’s Civil War dead. In 2011, library volunteer Don Dewey was asked to find what information he could about the 48 Civil War veterans who are were laid to rest in the cemetery on Burial Hill. The history of the town written by Plymouth’s great nineteenth-century historian, William T. Davis, makes mention of these men, along with the local militia companies organized in Plymouth at the time, as well as residents who joined other companies and the Navy, but with few details. Fortunately, a treasure trove of information does exist in the newspapers of the day, the Old Colony Memorial and the Plymouth Rock, which merged in 1863 into the Old Colony Memorial and Plymouth Rock.
While researching this simple question, Don perused the Library’s microfilm copies of the newspapers to discover they were full of articles chronicling the impact of the war on Plymouth. These weekly newspapers also published numerous letters from the front, in many cases written by former newspaper men who were serving in the Union Army and used their letters as a way of updating the town about the fighting and the status of those from Plymouth. Eventually, Don was inspired to transcribe these articles and letters and the final result is a book, now freely accessible to all as an e-book at archive.org.