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| || FORLORN SOLDIER |
119 Airport Road
Fabricated: Before 1895
Type: Brownstone figure
Fabricator: James G. Batterson, attr.
FORLORN SOLDIER, Hartford, is significant historically because of its link with the stonecutting shop in Hartford conducted as part of James G. Batterson's monument business. As suggested by the plaque, Kelly Brothers bought the Batterson stoneyard, then on Charter Oak Avenue, in 1895, later moving it to Airport Road, ca.1938. This figure was left behind, standing on a corner of Charter Oak Avenue. The Kellys, after observing the deterioration of the soldier over the years, moved it to Airport Road in 1968. The Kelly Brothers property on Airport Road was perhaps an acre or so. The shop and almost all the land were sold in 1967 to the Pistritto family, who continue to operate a marble importing and building supplies business on the site. The small parcel at the front, next to Airport Road, where FORLORN SOLDIER stands, was purchased by the Metropolitan District.
The Kelly brothers, Michael H. (1860-?), John, and two others, came from Ireland, where they had served their apprenticeships in the trade of stonecutting. Michael worked on the cathedral at Armagh, Ireland, and, with his brothers, other cathedrals in England and Ireland. Michael's sons, John Patrick and Robert I. Kelly, continued the business, as did the third generation, Peter and J. Michael Kelly.
FORLORN SOLDIER is significant artistically because it is an example in brownstone of a typical soldier figure usually executed in granite on Civil War monuments. A 1968 newspaper account suggested that the figure was a reject because through error the wrong foot was forward. It appears, however, that regulations varied on this issue, as do monuments throughout the state.
FORLORN SOLDIER is a typical Civil War monument figure in brownstone standing at rest, badly deteriorated. The small parcel where it is located formerly was part of the adjoining stoneyard that is successor to the Hartford shop of James G. Batterson.
The small brownstone base of the statue is a low truncated pyramid, displaying a bronze plaque on its front face (see lettering below). The soldier's right foot is forward, with a remnant of the rifle butt next to it; the rifle is missing. Hands are missing, but from the position of the arms it is apparent that hands were on the rifle muzzle, left over right. The overcoat is worn with cape thrown back off the shoulders. Bayonet and accoutrements are fastened to the waist belt. The figure looks to his right, wearing kepi and beard, with hair long and full at the back of his neck.
The stone is badly cracked, ex-foliated, spalled, crumbled, and delaminated. Hands, rifle, part of the face, and other components are missing. The statue has been vandalized. Various attempts at repair have been undertaken from time to time.
Front (west) face of base, raised caps on bronze plaque:DUM TACET CLAMAT
REJECTED AFTER THE CIVIL WAR FOR A FAULTY FOOT
POSITION, THIS BROWNSTONE UNION SOLDIER WAS
ACQUIRED IN 1895 BY MICHAEL H. AND JOHN KELLY,
STONE CUTTERS, PLACED AT THE CORNER OF CHARTER
OAK AVENUE AND UNION STREET IN HARTFORD WHERE,
BUFFETED BY FLOOD AND BRUSHED BY VANDALS, HE STOOD
UNTIL 1968 WHEN J. MICHAEL KELLY, A GRANDSON, MOVED
HIM TO A FAIRER SITE, RESTORING HIS BATTERED ENTITY
WITH THE LOVING CARE HE HAD BEEN SO LONG DENIED.
The Hartford Courant Magazine, May 25, 1986, p. H1, il; November 17, 1968, pp. 16 and 17, il.
"Hartford's Outdoor Sculpture," Trinity College, 1981, p. 74.
Georgiana S. (Mrs. Robert I.) Kelly, letters, May 28, 1986 and June 2, 1986.