Wadsworth Monument

Temple Hill Cemetery
Geneseo, N.Y.

Year Built: 1867

This monument, which is the gravestone of General James S. Wadsworth, was designed by Charles Brigham in 1867 and executed by Arioch Wentworth & Co. of Boston. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and is also part of a National Historic District.

The monument is constructed of granite with copper embellishments, is about eight feet long and five feet wide at the base, and about two feet wide and five feet long at the top. It is about ten feet tall, and is surmounted with a flag-draped urn made of bronze. On the four corners are miniature cannons. On the west side of the monument is inscribed in bronze “Brigadier-General James S. Wadsworth, Died May 8, 1864, From a Wound received in the Battle of the Wilderness, Aged 56 Years.” Originally, the family wished the monument to be cast of marble.

Above this inscription is an emblematic design in bronze, composed of a sheaf of wheat, a cluster of fruit, scythe, sickle and a reapers knife. On the east side is another design, of a sword, epaulets and laurel wreath. Under this are the names, Manassas, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, The Wilderness.

In 1850, Arioch Wentworth began in marble trade. Over the next 36 years, he built a great fortune in marble, dominating the Boston market. His mechanical ingenuity has much to do with this—Arioch alone is able to build machinery that can cut and fashion marble into ornate moldings. He retired in 1886.

Brigham completed the design of the monument in December 1866 and the various ornaments that festoon it in January, 1867. Mrs. Wadsworth approved the design in February , 1867 and it was completed by Wentworth in March, whereupon it was set-up in his yard. Mrs. Wadsworth apparently came to Boston and was very pleased with it. It was sent to Geneseo, New York in April, 1867.


• National Historical District

• National Register


• Day Diaries, Charles Brigham, 12/8/1866, 12/11/1866, 1/22/1867, 1/30/1867, 1/31/1867, 2/4/1867, 3/16/1867, 3/21/1867, 4/1/1867, Sturgis Papers, Boston Athenaeum Library.

• The Wadsworth Monument, Harper's Weekly, February 10, 1866.

• John Hubbard Sturgis Papers, day diaries and letter from Charles Brigham indicating that he designed monument and that Mrs. Wadsworth is pleased with it; January 22, 1867 letter and day diaries from December 6, 1866 to March 21, 1867.

• Main Street National Historic District, 1977, National Park Service #77000948.

• Letter from Charles Brigham to John Hubbard Sturgis, 1/22/1867, 3/11/1867, 4/5/1867 and 9/30/1868 Sturgis Papers, Boston Athenaeum Library.

• "Charles Brigham," MacMillan Encyclopedia of Architects, Adolph Placzek, entry written by Margaret Henderson Floyd, 1982, p. 288-9 (Wadsworth Monument, 1867).


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