Peterborough adding names to Veterans Memorial Wall

  • Nadia MacStay and Dick Dunning at the Peterborough Veterans Memorial Wall on Grove Street on Monday, Sept. 19. STAFF PHOTO BY BEN CONANT—

  • Names on the Peterborough Veterans Memorial Wall. STAFF PHOTO BY BEN CONANT—

  • Nadia MacStay and Dick Dunning at the Peterborough Veterans Memorial Wall on Grove Street Monday, Sept. 19. STAFF PHOTO BY BEN CONANT—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 9/20/2022 2:41:27 PM

Peterborough’s Veterans Memorial Wall downtown will have some new names, as soldiers who fought in the French and Indian War and the American Revolution will be added.

The Select Board agreed to include money in the town’s budget to include the names. Nadia MacStay, who along with Dick Dunning has spearheaded the project, said the idea to add the names came to her after having walked by the memorial many times.

“I’m into local history and history in general, and I noticed there wasn’t anything there for the Revolutionary War and especially the French and Indian War,” she said.

MacStay referred to the French and Indian War as a “forgotten war,” and said while reading the history of Peterborough, she was struck by how many men fought in this war and how many died.

“Thirty-two men fought in the French and Indian War and 14 died,” MacStay said. “Percentage-wise, that’s staggering. It seemed like something good we could do to honor these people.”

In her research, MacStay relied upon information taken Albert Smith’s “History of the Town of Peterborough,” published in 1876; Jonathan Smith’s “Peterborough, New Hampshire, in the American Revolution,” published in 1913, as well as a history and genealogy website for Hillsborough County.

In 1775, there were 125 men age 16 and over in Peterborough, according to MacStay’s research, and she said quotas of men needed to be filled from the town. Men not from Peterborough were often used to fill the numbers required. Early records of those who fought in the wars were destroyed by a fire, and MacStay explained that Smith traveled to Washington to find the men who went to war and who were paid by other towns, then separated Peterborough residents from those towns.

“I did the best I could,” she said. “[Some of these men] fought with Rogers’ Rangers. That’s where most of the Peterborough boys died.”

The French and Indian War lasted from 1754 to 1763 between the North American colonies of the British Empire against those of the French, with each side receiving support from various Native American tribes. Many view the French and Indian War as being merely the American theater of this conflict, but in the United States, it is viewed as a singular conflict which was not associated with any European war, according to M. Brook Taylor’s “Canadian History: a Reader’s Guide.” French-Canadians refer to the conflict as the “guerre de la Conquête” or the ‘War of the Conquest’.

MacStay said that in 1760, Peterborough had 50 families and roughly 200 people. Nearly half of those who served, 44 percent, were killed or died from smallpox upon their return. Spellings of last names were taken from gravestones in Peterborough.

Dunning said the names will be added along the left of the pillar by the gate.

“[Nadia] did a great deal of research finding the names of the Peterborough residents who served in these wars,” Dunning said, adding that after the names were verified, he went to Peterborough Marble & Granite for quotes. “I got a price for a bronze plaque made for those two individual conflicts and that was brought to the selectmen.”

The price for adding the names should be no more than $4,000, Dunning said, adding that “a perfect time to unveil the additions would be on one of the anniversaries of the two wars or next Memorial Day.”

After speaking with Dunning prior to the Select Board’s Sept. 6 meeting, Town Administrator Nicole MacStay, (Nadia’s daughter), informed the board she believes there is some fundraising that could be done and that the amount was negligible. Some of the cost could come out of the Patriotic Services fund next year, she explained before the board voted to approve the project as part of the town’s budget.

“They’ve been working on the project for a few years,” Nicole MacStay said. “It’s a cool project to get into the budget.”

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