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The corner-stone of the monument was laid September 6, 1826, amidst great rejoicings.
Our friend, the late Hon. Benjamin Stark, for many years chairman of the Monument House Executive Committee, and but now called to that "rest from his labor which remaineth for the people of God,” told us a short while ago that he witnessed the interesting ceremonies.
The monument was dedicated September 6, 1830. And our "little house," or "stone house" (as it is variously called), seems to have started its busy pageant of human life in 1831. Small as it was, it had a large cellar, hall and stairs, “front parlor," kitchen and bed-room on the first floor and two rooms in the attic (the portico and out-buildings came in as later adjuncts), and began to pay the association a revenue from that date.
It accommodated even boarders during the finishing up of the monument and grounds, Messrs. Stephens and Anderson, who laid the pavement; a small house in the southeast corner of the old fort's quadrangle, within the ramparts, we are told, was the home of the overseer and a sergeant.
The first tenant was: John Benham, June 1, 1831, to about 1852.
Anna Warner Bailey Chapter from June 18, 1894, has had the house in charge.
John Benham, first tenant, conducted a flourishing liquor business during his tenancy and was reputed to have made money enough to purchase the large farm known to-day as the Benham farm. A table in the "front room" was the bar.
Philo Little was treasurer twenty-six years.
The historian, Lossing, writes that “on October 12, 1848, he crossed the Thames and visited Groton Hill, now called Mount Ledyard” (a happy conceit we Daughters might well perpetuate), where he “paid tribute money of a 'levy' or York shilling, to a tidy little woman living in the stone building to the right of the monument, which procured him the ponderous key of the structure.”
Could these walls re-echo to us the sounds which have through all these years throbbed against their relentless granite, how curious the story. How much forgotten local history would enrich us!
In 1881, Groton's great centennial, with its busy ebb and flow, surrounded them.
Then, at a Chapter meeting held June 18, 1894, the Daughters of the heroes which this house, in part, commemorates, accepted the duty of its care, and undertook the work of disintegration, that by rehabilitating its waning usefulness it might become "a thing of beauty and a joy forever."
On September 6th of the same year the Monument Association created us "custodians” (and turned over the keys to us) at our Chapter's first patriotic celebration.
In 1895 the State Assembly confirmed our custodianship as being the local Chapter of the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, for Connecticut, and at the same time voted us an appropriation of three hundred dollars per annum for two years for the "maintenance" of "the little house” now become a veritable memorial to be know hereafter as “The Monument House."
The Assembly of 1897 voted a continuance of $300 per annum for its term of power.
Of this we have carefully husbanded $500 to add to our Chapter's accumulation for what we held to be the necessary improvements and embellishments you see before you. We are ambitious for our State and Monument Association and look to every man, woman and child in this Commonwealth to lend us a "helping hand” towards the steady growth of this important addition to Groton Heights and its world renowned battlefield.
After Mrs. Slocomb had concluded, Mr. Abel P. Tanner gave a very interesting address which was appropriate to the occasion, and which was appreciated by the Chapter.
Miss M. E. Benjamin then addressed the assemblage as follows:
Madam Regent, Ladies of the Anna Warner Bailey Chapter of Groton and Stonington, Connecticut, Daughters of the American Revolution, and Gentlemen of the Groton Monument Association, and Guests: The past, the present, and the future are before us to-day. The past, represented by these historic grounds. the grand ramparts of the old fort, this noble shaft, towering towards the sky, and this monument house. The present, by the members of the Anna Warner Bailey Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, the members of the Groton Monument Association, and the exercises at hand. The future, by the emblematic "box" and its contents.
The Monument House Committee, with the members of the Anna Warner Bailey Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, and their guests, are here to-day to assist in commemorating an event. The Chapter have beautified and made more permanent this house—the link which connects the past with the present and the future.
It was built before our day, on ground consecrated with the blood of heroes, and bedewed with the tears of widows and orphans, and shall last when we, who are here now convened have passed on to the green hills far away, there to inhabit a house whose builder and maker was God.
We come here to-day to place a sealed box with its contents; we have enclosed articles which, though familiar to us, may appear crude and strange to generations yet unborn. We have placed in this box the following articles, viz: A pamphlet entitled "The Battle of Groton Heights, and the Storining of New London, 1781." A photograph of Groton Monument as originally constructed September 6, 1830, before the alterations of 1881; gift of Mrs. Christopher L. Avery, Vice-Regent, Daughters of the American Revolution. Photograph of the monument house, taken before the changes commenced September 19, 1898. The charter and by-laws of the Groton Monument Association. The engrossed certificate of the Groton Monument Association. A pamphlet, "Sketches of Colonel William Ledyard and Mother Bailey." Photograph of Anna Warner Bailey, as copied from “Lossing's History of the American Revolution.” Photograph of Anna Warner Bailey (Mother Bailey) in later life. The poem “Mother Bailey," written by Mrs. F. C. Rowland, of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Chapter book of the by-laws and names of the members of Anna Warner Bailey Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution. A copy of the application papers of the Daughters of the American Revolution. A photograph of Mrs. Cuthbert Harrison Slocomb, the founder and first Regent of the Anna Warner Bailey Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution. A copy of the hymn "Home and Country," inspired by the 6th of September, 1894, when the custody of this monument house was transferred to the Anna Warner Bailey Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, by the Groton Monument Association, and dedicated to their first Regent, Mrs. Cuthbert Harrison Slocomb, and adopted as "The State Hymn of Connecticut Daughters of the American Revolution,” at Bristol, Connecticut, February, 1898. A pamphlet, "The Souvenir Bell.” Songs and literature of the Connecticut Children of the American Revolution. A pamphlet, “Who Built the Forts?” A newspaper, The New London Gazette, published by Samuel Greene, March 25, 1825. A newspaper, The Connecticut Mirror, published in Hartford, Connecticut, August 7, 1826. Both gifts of J. Lawrence Chew. newspaper, The Rhode Island County Journal, September 9, 1881. Cooley's Weekly of September 11, 1880; gifts of Mrs. C. B. Whitman, ex-Regent. A pamphlet, "By-laws and Officers of the New London Historical Society;" gift of the secretary. Souvenir views of New London, Connecticut, 1898. Clippings from the New London Telegraph of October 29, 1898, pertaining to the Spanish war. Clippings from the New York Herald, August, 1898. Verses from Mrs. Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, life poetess of the Anna Warner Bailey Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution:
Sorrow, my friend,
I owe my soul to you;
And if my life with any glory end,
Of tenderness for others, and the words are true;
Sorrow, to you.
Servant of Relief. A silver dollar, issue of 1898, from the United States mint; gift of Mrs. Cuthbert Harrison Slocomb. A Spanish dollar from the Isle of Puerto Rico; gift of Major William Williams. A one-half cent issue of 1826, valuable; gift of Hon. Elisha Turner, of Torrington, Connecticut. A medal button, "Remember the Maine;" gift of Mrs. Cuthbert Harrison Slocomb. Photographs of monument, original, by Philo Little. The issue of the New London Morning Telegraph of November 17, 1898. A gift from Hon. Abel Tanner (accompanied with a personal letter) of the facsimile of "The Declaration of Independence,” as originally written by Thomas Jefferson, the acorn which has already expanded into the mighty oak, and its leaves have been for "the healing of the nations.” Duplicate of the Regent's greeting, by Mrs. Cuthbert Harrison Slocomb. Duplicate of the article, “The Sealed Box," by Miss M. E. Benjamin. The hymn:
"O God, our help in ages past,
And our eternal home.” (Here the mason placed the sealed box in position and Miss Benjamin continued.)
We place here to-day this box as we would an infant in its cradle. Time will watch over it. We leave it with its valuable contents, and in a futurity unknown to us—eyes will gaze upon it, hands will handle it, curiosity will break the seal. We shall be elsewhere, have said good night and awoke to a fair morning.
Who shall break this seal? or who shall bring to light its contents? We know not, but it will be proven to them that we were energetic, far-seeing, and that we did our work well.
The dust of years will cover it, but the eternal principles for which they struggled, who jeopardized their lives on this sacred spot will even then shine forth brightly, and will remain as firm--as the granite which surrounds it.
Vivat Respublica !
The following was also placed in the box addressed to the “Box Opener of the Future”:
To the persons who may open this box and disclose its contents: We have placed a box, at this present date with its contents. It is known now, in our day, that there are “Lost Arts,” that in many things those of the past have surpassed us, in beauty of building, in sculpture, in the fine arts, and in durability; but alas! they left no records for us by which we could decipher their methods and become copyists; they stand unique in the world's history.
We concede to them, but we confess our inability to predict for those of the future.
But, in no period of the world has woman occupied her "God-given" place in “life's arena" as now.
We have served our generation by the will of God and now leave to abler brains and more perfected character to carry on a noble work well begun.
MARY E. BENJAMIN. November 17, 1898.
At the conclusion of Miss Benjamin's address the hymn "O, God, Our Help in Ages Past" was sung, and during its rendition the flagging was placed over the "sealed box." The exercises the Memorial House closed with the benediction by Rev. N. T. Allen. Then the Mounment House Committee, and the active officers of the Chapter, were entertained at the residence of Mrs. C. H. Slocomb, where light refreshments were served. The weather was not of the kind that would have been selected, still it in no way interfered with the success of the ceremony, which was certainly a credit to the ladies who managed it and an interesting event that is characteristic of the work of Anna Warner Bailey Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution.
DUBUQUE CHAPTER DOES HOMAGE TO THE MEMORY OF LAFAYETTE, THE NATION'S
The Dubuque Chapter held a meeting in honor of Lafayette at the residence of Mrs. Glover, the Regent, Mrs. Fannie B. Tredway, presiding. Mrs. Glover gave a preliminary talk on the proposed monument to Lafayette and Mrs. Fairbanks followed with an address on this hero of the American and French Revolutions. She grouped the incidents of his services and sacrifices with a picturesque effect and she gave a wide historic view of the international importance of his influence. She proved that America was his best friend and just judge-France misjudged and resented his conservatism and