World War I Plaque American Legion 1 Anderson Circle St. Augustine Florida
A Memorial to St. Johns Boys to be Unveiled (St. Augustine Evening Record, November 24, 1920)Tablet Purchased by Popular Donations of People in Federal Building
At eight o'clock next Tuesday evening, November 23, the bronze memorial tablet purchased through popular subscription by the people of St. Johns county in memory of the boys who went from here to serve their country in the world war, will be unveiled on the east corridor of the government building, and a dedication address delivered from the band stand in the plaza by Rev. Father John F. Conoley, formerly of St. Augustine, now of Gainesville, who will come here for the purpose, accompanied by two sailors and two soldiers.
The St. Johns Post, American Legion, will participate in the unveiling ceremonies and dedication of the memorial which will preserve in bold relief lettering through the ages to come the names of those local boys who gave their all for their country in the titanic struggle for democracy and liberty against autocracy and tyranny.
The committee in charge of the unveiling consists of Mrs. Robert P. Kettle, General and Mrs. W. N. P. Darrow, Mr. and Mrs. Grosvenor Parker and Dr. B. B. Bigler. This committee is hopeful of securing the services of the Municipal Band for this occasion.
To Mrs. Ernest Howatt belongs a major portion of the credit for the placing of this handsome memorial in the hall of the federal building, itself an historic landmark, where thousands upon thousands of interested persons will view in the decades to come. During the war Mrs. Howatt was distressed because the city of St. Augustine and county of St. Johns had no service flag, as other communities. She, therefore, with a committee of girls, set out to collect the necessary funds for such a flag, and over two hundred dollars had been raised, largely in ten and twenty-five cent donations, when the matter was taken up with the city. Vice-president J. E. Ingraham of the Florida East Coast Railway, who was then mayor-commissioner, announced that it had long been the ambition of Dr. Andrew Anderson that St. Augustine have a city flag. To raise the proposed city flag, Mrs. Howatt's service flag and Old Glory to the top of the pole at the same time would prove an inspiring ceremony, it was said, but Dr. Anderson, when the matter was mentioned again, very generously offered to erect a far more handsome monument, to those from this county who served their country the two hundred dollars, the ladies had collected could purchase.
The armistice had been signed and the war was over making the purchase of a service flag useless. It was then Mrs. Howatt's idea to place the bronze plate in the post office, and she had Jno. A. Pillars, the local sculptor whose work is highly praise by the world's leaders in that art and who is doing the bronze work on the Dr. Anderson memorial, prepare the handsome tablet which will be unveiled on next Tuesday evening. It is stated that Mr. Pillars made no profit on this work of art, but gladly contributed his skill to the cause.
This bit of history was considered necessary as there is considerable confusion in the public mind concerning the memorial. The tablet to be unveiled next week was purchased by the people of St. Augustine and St. Johns county a large percent of the total coming through small subscriptions, and it is truly a memorial "To The Boys" from the loyal people of this city and county.
Plans Complete for Unveiling of Bronze Tablet (St. Augustine Evening Record, Nov. 22, 1920) Plans have been perfected for the unveiling tomorrow evening of the memorial tablet to those in St. Johns county who died in the service of their country during the world war. This tablet has been erected in the lobby of the Federal building, and participating in the unveiling will be the Rev. John F. Conoley, with military escort; Hon. Peter Perry, mayor of St. Augustine; Dr. Barton B. Bigler, Dr. Murray W. Seagears, Miss Gertrude Howatt, members of the American legion, members of the Municipal band. The committee in charge is composed of Mrs. Ernest W. Howatt, chairman; Gen. and Mrs. W. N. P. Darrow, Mr. and Mrs. Groavenor Parker, Mrs. Robert P. Kettle, Dr. Murray, W. Seagears, Dr. Barton B. Bigler.
The program will commence at 7:45 o'clock tomorrow evening with the selection "Medley of War Airs," reordered by the Municipal band under the direction of C. G. Oldfather. This is one of the many occasions on which the local band has consented to take part in patriotic programs and various local entertainments, and its assistance is always more than appreciated. With people gathered around the band stand in the picturesque old Plaza, the next number on the program, commencing at 8 o'clock, will be the hymn, "My Country Tis of Thee," by chorus of citizens, with band accompaniment. Then will come the introduction of Father John Conoley by Dr. Murray W. Seagears, following which Father Conoley will make his address to the citizens of St. Johns county. The assembly call to the Federal building by Bugler Fred Oldfather will be next in order, and the crowd will then gather in the Post office building for the unveiling of the tablet. This portion of the program will be as follows:
Presentation of memorial tablet to Father Conoley, Dr. Barton B. Bigler; address to the American legion, with presentation of the tablet to Hon. Peter Perry, Rev. John F. Conoley; unveiling of the tablet, Miss Gertrude Howatt; presentation of the tablet, in the name of the American legion to the citizens of St. Johns county, Hon. Peter R. Perry; "Star Spangled Banner", Municipal band.
The public generally is cordially invited to attend the exercises in the Plaza and at the Federal building tomorrow evening.
Unveiling of Bronze Tablet Event Tonight (St. Augustine Evening Record, Nov. 23, 1920) An event of tonight that holds the interest of practically all St. Augustine, and in fact much of St. Johns county, is the unveiling of the memorial tablet that has been placed on the south wall of the lobby of the Federal building. The program is to commence in the Plaza tonight at 7:45 o'clock with the selection "Medley of War Airs," rendered by the Municipal Band, under the direction of C. G. Oldfather. Then, commencing at 8 o'clock, the program proper will open with the singing of the hymn "My Country 'Tis of Thee" with band accompaniment." Then will come the introduction of Father John Conoley by Dr. Murray W. Seagears, following which Father Conoley will make his address to the people of St. Johns county. The assembly call to the Federal building by Bugler Fred Oldfather will be next in order, and the crowd will then gather in the Post Office building for the unveiling of the tablet.
Presentation of memorial tablet to Father Conoley, Dr. Barton B. Bighler; address to the American Legion, with presentation of the tablet, to Hon. Peter Perry, Rev. John F. Conoley; unveiling of the tablet, Miss Gertrude Howatt; presentation of the tablet, in the name of the citizens of St.. Johns County to the American Legion, Hon. Peter R. Perry; "Star Spangled Banner," Municipal Band.
The tablet, which is beautifully wrought in bronze, was designed by C. Adrian Pillars, the well-known sculptor, and it was executed by the Gorham Manufacturing Company whose work is of the very finest. It has been erected in honor of those young men from St. Johns county who fought in the World War, and in memory of those who died.
The public generally is invited to attend the exercises tonight, and witness the unveiling and dedication of the tablet.
Unveiling of Bronze Tablet Was Impressive (St. Augustine Evening Record, November 24, 1920) Wonderfully impressive were the ceremonies which marked the dedication and the unveiling of the bronze tablet that has been placed in the south wall of the lobby of the Federal building in honor of the men of St. Johns county who served in the world war, and in memory of those who died while in the service of their country. The ceremonies opened Tuesday evening at 7:45 o'clock in the Plaza with a selection by the Municipal band led by Director C. G. Oldfather. The Municipal band is always ready to aid with programs of a civic or a patriotic nature, and it is one of the most valued organizations of which the city can boast. Following the singing of the hymn "America," with band accompaniment, Dr. Murray W. Seagears made the introductory speech of the evening, presenting the principal speaker, Father John Conoley. He paid eloquent tribute to Father Conoley's patriotic work during the war, dwelling first upon his labors in St. Augustine, where he organized the Cathedral Comforts committee, which was later merged with the local chapter American Red Cross. Dr. Seagears spoke of Father Conoley's splendid work as a chaplain at Camp Devins, Massachusetts, and referred to his successful and commendable efforts in aid of the vocational training school program undertaken by the United States government for its wounded or otherwise incapacitated soldiers. In conclusion Dr. Seagears presented to the very large gathering "Father John Conoley, Our John," A storm of applause followed these words, and Father Conoley came forward to make what proved to be a remarkable address, one full of fiery eloquence. It was marked by the appeal, the sympathy, and the forceful presentation of facts that have won for Father Conoley the name of a gifted and popular speaker. He recalled the days of stress and strife when the crash of immense armies was heard, and spoke of the 650 men of St. Johns county who had gone forth a potential sacrifice, to fight on the side of right, truth and justice in the mighty struggle. Of these 650 he said only seven had passed to the Great Beyond while in the service of their country, and he paid a wonderful tribute to those who had offered up their lives in the cause of humanity. Four of these men he said he had known personally, and he referred to their loyalty, love of righteousness, and joy of living. The youngest of all, he said, "was the lad whose name led all the rest on the memorial tablet of bronze, which was later to be unveiled, and the grave of this boy, William Dyson, is in the National cemetery in our own city.
Throughout his talk Father Conoley was greeted by bursts of applause, the hand-clapping of hundreds of hearers being spontaneous, following some impassioned statement, or fervent patriotic appeal.
At the conclusion of Father Conoley's talk, the assembly call to the Federal building was sounded by Bugler Fred Oldfather, the notes coming sweetly and clearly upon the cool, clear air. With people crowded into the post office lobby, and assembled in St. George street which had been blocked to traffic between Cathedral and King streets, Dr. Barton H. Rigler in a few well chosen words presented the commemorative tablet to the speaker of the evening, Father John Conoley. Father Conoley in turn made a brief speech presenting the tablet to Hon. Peter R. Perry, mayor of the city of St. Augustine, and post commander St. Johns post, American legion. Mayor Perry received the gift in the name of the city and of the American legion, the patriotic organization whose duty and pleasure it will be to cherish this gift that commemorates the deeds of the living and stands as a memorial to the dead.
With the municipal band playing "Star Spangled Banner," Miss Gertrude Howatt stepped forward and drew aside the veil of white tulle which covered the tablet and the beautiful gift of the people of St. Johns to the American legion was revealed. The tablet is circular in shape, and is most artistic in design. It is the work of C. Adrian Pillars, the local sculptor, whose fame is now widespread, and whose work is known throughout many parts of the country. The names engraved upon the tablet in enduring bronze are those of William Forward Dyson, Burt Pacetti, Stuart Pellicer, S. Bellamy, S. Tomlinson, E. W. Cornell and I Boudwell, [Editor's note: No first names for the African Americans.] the last four being negroes. A beautiful wreath of white chrysanthemums, asters, galax leaves and ferns surrounded the tablet and was revealed in all its loveliness as the white veil of tulle was removed by Miss Hewatt.
Participating in the unveiling and dedication ceremonies were: Rev. John F. Conoley, with military escort; Hon. Peter R. Perry, Mayor of St. Augustine; Dr. Barton R. Bigler, Dr. Murray W. Seagears, Miss Gertrude Howatt, members of the American legion, members of the Municipal band. The committee in charge was composed of Mrs. Ernest W. Howatt, Chairman; Gen. and Mrs. W. N. P. Darrow, Mr. and Mrs. Grosvenor Parker, Mrs. Robert P. Kettle, Dr. Murray W. Seagears, Dr. Barton B. Bigler.
It should be noted that in his brief address Dr. Bigler made special reference to two persons who had made the bronze commemorative tablet a possibility and an established fact. Mrs. Earnest Howatt had been instrumental, with the aid of a few young girls, of raising the funds, all of which had been received in small sums, and she had conceived the idea of a commemorative tablet. The second person mentioned was Mr. Pillars, the sculptor, who had given so generously of his time and talent in executing a wonderfully artistic piece of work, one which would prove a fitting memorial to the service men of St. Johns county.