Sitting pond-side in an Orange County hamlet, which is named after a fortification built by the Continental Army, this replica Revolutionary War memorial commemorates the American farmer, who abandoned his plow and picked up his musket to defend his land and his liberty. If this image looks familiar to you, it should.
The original version of this farmer-turned-soldier statue is known as the Concord Minuteman. Located in Concord, Mass., it was the first major commission of renowned 19th-century American sculptor Daniel Chester French — who created the marble statue of a seated Abraham Lincoln at D.C.’s Lincoln Memorial. Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Revolution’s Battle of Concord, French’s minuteman was cast in bronze taken from melted down Civil War cannons. The popular image has since been featured on the National Guard’s logo, U.S. savings bonds, and the Massachusetts state quarter.
The Valley’s version of this statue was donated by local artist and sculptor Ben Birillo and his wife Marie. Cast from a plaster that was part of their personal art collection, it was erected in 1997 to celebrate the 125th charter anniversary of the town where it stands.
The plaque on the local monument’s trapezoidal base incorrectly identifies the date of the battle whose heroes it recognizes. The Battle of Concord — the first of the American Revolution — occurred on April 19, 1775. This memorial, however, says it honors the Concord Minute Man of 1776. Whether this discrepancy was a historical misnomer or simply a typographical error, no one knows for sure — but the plaque was engraved this way at the Birillos’ request.
Can you identify the rural hamlet that this war memorial reproduction calls home? Send us your answer as a comment in the box below. The first reader with the correct response wins a prize. Good luck!