Feature Story

Albert's Memorial

Albert Woodworth’s body is buried in Northfield's Elmwood Cemetery in a grave lot shared with several slaters who were friends of his widow. Albert had joined the Northern Army during the War Between the States. He left behind his widow, Ellen (Woodworth )Flanders Woolworth and six children.

Albert Woodworth was born on June 6, 1816 in Royalton, Vermont. It was there that he went to school and later learned to work as a blacksmith. He married Elizabeth “Betsey” Sawyer in 1843. They moved to Bradford, Vermont. Their children, Frances Maria (1843), William (1844), and Charles (1847) were born there. The family then moved to Bradford Center sometime before 1850. He had started a “Wooded-ware Manufactory” by 1858 that appears on Walling’s Map of the area. His widowed mother joined the family after his father’s death. Three other children were born to this family, Susan Mabel (1851), Fred, (1854), and George Washington (1857). Baby George was sickly and died five months after his birth. He was buried in Bradford.

About this time Albert had purchased a 120-acre farm on Turkey Hill in Northfield, Vermont from John and Lucinda (Woodworth) Dutton. Lucinda was Albert’s first cousin. Albert and his family moved to Northfield in the spring of 1858. Betsey died in June. Albert buried her in Bradford near her infant son. Lucinda ‘s sister, Ellen (Woodworth) Flanders, a young widow with a small son, Wilbur Flanders, became his housekeeper and later his wife. They became the parents of Edward who was born in 1862.

When the call came from Father Abraham, Albert, his 16-year-old son Charles and John Dutton enlisted in the 11th Vermont Regiment Company I. This Regiment was later redesigned to become the Vermont 1st Artillery Regiment. The men left Northfield on December 3, 1863. William remained behind to help with the farm. William enlisted in Montpelier when he was 20 years old on March 31, 1864.

Many soldiers never returned home. John Dutton died of sunstroke at age 46 in City Point, Virginia on August 12, 1862. His wife Lucinda placed a cenotaph in Elmwood Cemetery in his memory. Charles was wounded during the battle of Charlestown, West Virginia on August 21, 1864 and died a week later in Baltimore, Maryland on August 28, 1864 aged 18. His body was returned to Bradford where he was buried with his Mother and brother. Albert was wounded in the head during the Battle of Cedar Creek on October 19,1864. He died in Winchester, Virginia on October 27th. His body was returned to Northfield for burial. After the War ended William returned to Northfield, a broken man. He remained in town until about 1866 when he disappeared and never contacted his family again. His older sister Frances searched for him for many years. She wrote countless letters to anyone she thought might be able to help her. She finally located him in 1912 after his death in Sioux City, Iowa. He had lived for 58 troubled years.

The memorial that was chosen for Albert is quite interesting. It stands 48 ½ inches tall. The top is horseshoe shaped and the entire stone stands firmly on a 25 ½ by 4-inch base. The horseshoe arch features two raised ridges and ends in a sloped triangle where it joins the main part of the stone. The width of the stone tapers from 22 ½ inches to 19 inches. There are at least nine other stones in Elmwood cut from the same pattern as Albert’s. The markers range in size from 18 inches to almost 46 inches. The same artist sometime between 1863 and 1873 probably carved them. None are as tall as Albert’s.

Albert’s name is spelled out in the font Old West Bold in all capital letters. It is contained in a horseshoe shaped panel. Below his name is a recessed shield. This contains a furled flag with stars in the upper left corner. The stars are weathered and difficult to count. There are three folds in the flag, the last curling under it in the direction of the stars. Two tassels decorate the flagpole. The remaining words are written in Roman italic. Albert’s memorial reads:

A member of Battery I
VT. heavy Artillery
Died at Sheridan
Hospital Winchester Va.
October 27 1864
From the effects of a wound
Received at the battle of
Cedar Creek AE 48 yrs.
Husband & Father
He nobly for his country fought and fell

Ellen chose 45 words to leave with Albert’s remains. One can see a complicated design to honor Albert’s commitment to serve his country and his family. This was an expensive memorial. Perhaps Ellen knew that her family would leave Northfield to seek other opportunities and no one would remain to remember Albert.

The monument itself is beginning to show its age. There is a considerable amount of surface damage both from moss and weathering. Sadly, many of the stones in Elmwood have been blackened over time.

Ellen Woodworth married for a third time on January 4,1869. William R. Williams was a slate maker born in Wales. They sold the farm and moved to Iowa where they spent the rest of their lives.

Elmwood Cemetery was donated to the people of Northfield by Gov. Charles Paine.” The Northfield Cemetery Association was formed on April 1, 1854. The Curators then enclosed the land and designed a plan for lots, avenues, walks and open areas. A fence was planned for the perimeter of the cemetery. Death waits for no man. On the 26th of that month Daniel Stevens was buried there before the grounds were completely enclosed.

In 1855 the name of the cemetery was changed to “Elmwood Cemetery.” By 1877 there were 575 persons interned there. Today the cemetery is no longer active. There are many beautiful and substantial monuments reflecting the caring and wealth of the community members. Many granite workers carved the rough stone into beautiful memorials for themselves and their loved ones. We are fortunate to have uncovered Albert Woodworth’s story. There are so many other stories left to be told.

Mary E. Comiskey and Linda de Neergaard
Northfield, VT