The Bigelow Monument on the Common marks the grave of that great patriot, Col. Timothy Bigelow. He was the captain of the minutemen and left that same field on April 19, 1775 for Boston upon the Lexington Alarm. This imposing monument was erected by the great grandson, Col. Timothy Bigelow Lawrence of Boston and was dedicated on the 86th anniversary of the Battle of Lexington.
The procession, preliminary to the excercises, was formed at 11 a.m. near the Common in this order: National Band, Past Members of the Light Infantry, Highland Cadets, Committee of arrangements, City Government, Invited Guests in carriages including the donor, Mayor and Ex-Governor Levi Lincoln, Joslyn's Band, Chief Engineer of the Fire Department engine and hose company, Father Matthew Temperance Society, German Turners and Citizens.
The Route of the procession was down Main, Highland, Harvard, Chestnut, Elm, West, Pleasant, to the head of Main Street again and then to the Common. The march was completed in about an hour. A salute of 34 guns was fired as the procession formed in a square around the stand. Joslyn's Band played during the exercises.
Type written summary account found with the Official Ceremonies Booklet in the Worcester Historical Museum. The original document was the "CEREMONIES at the DEDICATION of the BIGELOW MONUMENT, Worcester, Massachusetts, April 19, 1861. Printed by John Wilson and Son 22, School Street - 1861- " which contains detailed accounts of that dedication and the actual text of the speeches. I could not get a copy of the Program Book, however, a special request from the Bigelow Society has been sent to the Museum Director in hopes of obtaining a copy.
The following is an account of a request to open the Monument. Articles are from the PEOPLE FORM in the Local Worcester Telegram Newspaper.
January 7th, 1977
Scion of Hero Seeks Opening of Monument
by Mary Wessling
Encased in the Timothy Bigelow Monument that stands in the center of Worcester Common are historical treasures.
Those treasures, sealed in a box in 1861 when the monument was erected to honor a Worcester Revolutionary War hero., have a personal meaning to lawrence G. Brooks of West Medford.
Col. Timothy Bigelow, a blacksmith turned patriot, was his great grandfather. Brooks. a retired judge, woulf like to see the the box of 19th century memorabilia opened before the contents are lost due to the deteriorating effects of time.
And on the topic of the passage of time and his own accompanying birthdays, Brooks says with a trace of a smile. "I've been getting more interested (in Genealogy) as I get nearer my end"
Brooks once presiding justice in the appellate division of the state didtric court's Northern district, will be 96 years old next month. It is no idle wish to Brooks to have the papers removed from the 25 foot monument.
He has talked with local history buffs who favor the opening and has corresponded with the city manager concerning opening the monument for the cache of history.
City manager Francis J. McGrath said yesterday the request has been made before. "I had some professionals look at this. Engineers told him the type of stone involved might disintegrate if such work was done, he said, "and I asked if anybody would take the responsibility for it. I don't feel I want to take responsibility for any damage". Authorization would have to come from City Council, McGrath added.
With the manager's refusal based on the engineers' warning, Brooks went to the monument manufacture himself for an opinion, and said he received a different one. "He didn't seem to think there'd be serious risk," Brooks said, adding he understood why the manager would have to be more careful than an out-of-town person.
Brooks, a judge for 42 years, has even begun investigating the possibility of an insurance specialist like Lloyd's of London insuring against the possibility of damage, and he has wondered about individuals putting up money as insurance against damage. "I still have hopes that sometimes within five years, that some group or individual will be able to put a little money into it as a fund to take the burden off the city manager," he said.
Brooks a former lawyer who was also chief justice of the First District Court of Eastern Middlesex in Malden, speaks of Bigelow and his Revolutionary War experiences with a feeling of kinship.
Old Timothy WouldnÕt Mind
From the Telegraph 12/77
The first response of most people to the proposal to open up the Timothy Bigelow monument on the common is probably "No way."
But after second and third thoughts about it, some may wonder "'Why not?"
Judge Lawrence G. Brooks, 96, a direct descendant of Timothy Bigelow, wants the city to open up the monument so that the box inside can be opened and examined. It holds some valuable items, including original letters written by Col. Bigelow.
City Manager McGrath doesn't want to take the responsibility for any permanent damage to the monument, which is natural. But it should be possible for experts to study the matter and determine just what the risk and expense might be.
After all, why not? The box and its contents have been sitting in there since 1861. Is there really any point in leaving them there forever Ñ or until the Tricentennial?
We are moving into the high noon of the bicentennial of Timothy Bigelow's patriotic exploits in the Revolution. Would it not be a fine thing to unearth these valuable thingsÑand then to seal another collection of items from this year,
1977, back in the monument as a message to future generations?
We can see this as a ceremonial event that would catch public attention and remind young and old alike of Worcester's contribution to the birth of our nation. We hope city officials don't dismiss the idea out of hand. It deserves to be considered.
To the Editor. Telegraph Jan 27, 1977
In reference to the Jan. 12 editorial and earlier news item, concerning the Timothy Bigelow Monument on the Common, I question the value of the suggested inspection of the material placed under it at the time of its dedication.
The Antiquarian Society holds the publication "Ceremonies at the Dedication of the Bigelow Monument" (Worcester, April 19, 1861), which includes a listing of the contents of the two copper and tin boxes.
My presumption is that there are copies available of all the printed material and artifacts deposited including coins and buttons. Even another lock of Timothy BigelowÕs hair is included in the collection of the Historical Society.
The only items, I noted of value are two letters written by Bigelow to his wife, and the text of these is included in the publication. These would be valuable except for the recent discovery in Boston of a sizeable cache of Bigelow letters which can be studied in the original.
Considering the difficulties involved with moving the fragile marble monument, I would suggest that the listing of contents be studied to assess their value to us.
1 Oxford Place,