By Elizabeth WerlauWhere Milton Avenue intersects with Route 9W in the village of Highland (Town of Lloyd, Ulster County, NY), a monument stands to commemorate the Civil War service of the 156th Regiment – specifically the men of the Lloyd, NY 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 19th Army Corps.
The land on which the monument stands was donated by Aaron Rhodes, a veteran of the Civil War. Rhodes was born in Marlborough, NY, in 1844. He enlisted on March 11, 1862, in Poughkeepsie, when he was 18 years old and was wounded at the Battle of Antietam that following September. Rhodes survived his injuries and mustered out on March 11, 1865.
Articles from local papers of the time paint a picture of a poor man who became a highly successful businessman within the Town of Lloyd. As a young farmer, Rhodes purchased a Lloyd farm for the sum of $5,000. Within the first year of purchase, the farm produced such a prolific peach crop that Rhodes was able to pay the entire mortgage. He continued to produce peaches, grapes and strawberries in great abundance for many years.
Rhodes later became a landlord, purchasing several lots along White Street (today’s Milton Avenue) and constructing homes that he would rent out. The January 26, 1910, edition of the Kingston Daily Freeman noted that Rhodes owned both Ford and Chalmers Detroit automobiles and that “Mr. Rhodes is an up-to-date man and lets no improvements go by;” the August 10, 1911, edition of the Kingston Daily Freeman reported that there were about 50 automobiles in the Town of Lloyd and Aaron Rhodes owned two of them. He was also written of as a skillful fisherman and “one of the best euchre players in the area.”
Rhodes’s stately home at the intersection of White Street and the new state road was often written of in the newspapers. His lawn was described as “one of the finest in the village,” although due to its location subject to damage by crossing vehicles. According to Dr. William B. Rhoads, author of Ulster County, New York: The Architectural History and Guide, the house was designed by Poughkeepsie architect William J. Beardsley. Construction on the home was completed by 1896 (pp.87-88).
Aaron Rhodes donated a portion of his land in 1905 for the purpose of honoring the men of the 156th. Funds were raised through local subscription and the monument, a granite and bronze statue created by the W.H. Mullins Company of Salem, OH, was erected in 1908. The monument cost approximately $1,500 and depicts a sergeant facing south while standing at attention.
The monument reads: To the Memory of the brave and patriotic men of this regiment who served their country faithfully in the third brigade, second division, 19th Army Corps. 1862-1865. This monument was erected by their comrades and friends September 19, 1908. 156th Regiment, New York State Volunteer Infantry.
The late Town of Lloyd Historian Beatrice Hasbrouck Wadlin wrote in Times and Tales of Town of Lloyd that “Edmund Paltridge of Modena, Town of Plattekill and grandfather of Vincent Hopper, served in the Civil War and helped to raise the funds for this monument after he had moved to the Town of Lloyd. A roster of soldiers is in possession of Vincent Hopper” (p. 253). Local newspapers credited Paltridge, who was a member of the 156th and commander of the Highland Post G.A.R. at the time, with conceiving of the idea of the monument.
A dedication ceremony was held on September 19, 1908, with approximately 3,000 people in attendance. Wadlin notes that “Fighting Bob Evans of the Spanish American War spoke” at the ceremony (253). The ceremony concluded with nine-year-old Alma Rhodes pulling a cord “that lifted the stars and stripes and exposed the statue to public view” (Kingston Daily Freeman, September 21, 1908). (The full text of the article “Ulster Veterans Unveil Highland Monument” can be found on the Hudson River Valley Heritage website: http://news.hrvh.org/cgi-bin/newshrvh?a=d&cl=search&d=kingstondaily19080921.2.91&srpos=45&e=00-00-0000-99-99-9999–20–41—-%22aaron+rhodes%22-all)
In 2001- 2002, the Town of Lloyd Historical Preservation Society waged a campaign to save the home, which was slated for demolition for the purpose of widening Route 9W. Unfortunately, the once imposing edifice was ultimately torn down.
Today, the memorial is part of the Lloyd Post 193 American Legion Veterans’ Park. In May of 1996, the American Legion dedicated another monument on the site “In Memory of the Men and Women of the Town of Lloyd who Served our Nation in War and Peace.”
Numerous resources are available on this subject. The following are a sampling. An invaluable resource is the Hudson River Valley Heritage website’s (www.hrvh.org) historical newspaper collection.
Additional information on the monument and park: http://www.monumentsandmemorials.com/report.php?id=1630&function=&level=complete#table-7
Additional information on Aaron Rhodes: http://www.nyheritage.org/blog/2012/09/18/the-civil-war-sesquicentennial-those-who-served/
Additional information on the 156th: http://dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/civil/infantry/156thInf/156thInfMain.htm http://www.civilwarintheeast.com/USA/NY/NY156.php
Additional information on Ulster County and Hudson Valley Civil War monuments: http://www.nycivilwar150.org/counties/ulster/ulster_monuments.html http://www.valstar.net/~jcraig/monument.htm