"Erected byThe Town of Warehamin memory ofher loyal sons1904King George's WarIndiansRevolutionary WarNavyWar of 1812 - 1815Mexican WarCivil WarPhillipine War"
The history represented by this monument reaches way back, almost to the beginning of the Plymouth colony itself. Okay, not really but far enough prior to the Revolution that King George's War must be explained. No surprise, but it involved an internecine dispute over the assention to the throne of Austria in 1744. King George saw an opportunity to tweak the nose of the French and possibly take some land in Canada, namely the areas around Cape Breton.
Four years of expeditionary forces hiking north and beseiging a French fort at Cape Breton ended with the Crown's men taking the fort. Ultimately George gave it up when the various royals of Europe negotiated a settlement. Aside from losing about eight percent of the adult male population of the northern colonies, the only thing the Crown brought away from the conflict was knowledge of how to manipulate the native indians into fighting proxy conflicts. Oh, that and a continued and increrasing dislike for all things French.
Politically, the French have long memories and keep a grudge going however possible. The Indian Wars sharpending their axes and when it came time to choose sides during the American Revolution there was little to debate - France supported the American rebels against the English Crown.
The long list of names under the heading "Revolutionary War" could be a "Who's Who" index of the era's fighting spirit. General Israel Fearing's exploits begin with short milita call outs of a few days at a time and include the protection of the seaside village of Fairhave where Fearing and many of Wareham's sons push away a British attempt to burn the village.
Most of the names from the Revolution are just clues to revolutionary and pioneer stories. Jabez Besse was a sone of Warham born here in 1748. He died in Kennebec County, Maine, at age 78 in 1815. Those eight decades are full of exciting tales of courage, deprivation and stubborn adherence to an attitude of survival at a time when the concept of community health care meant that your family took care of you and you did your best to ensure they stayed healthy.
It's difficult to find most of those names through a cursory search of burial records, etc, but in many case it is possible to find sons and grandsons with the same the same name fighting in 1812, the Mexican War and Civil War. Were all of the Patriots sterling examples of good citizenship? Probably not. But being of good moral character and outstanding fiscal reputation isn't required when fighting to overthrow the yoke of tyranny and oppression.
If you live here in Wareham, research a few of these names and those from the wars later in history. You will come away from the experience with a better understand of how your streets were named and how deep your own roots may go.