The Newton Civil War Soldier’s Monument stands near the entry to the Newton Cemetary. It was built in 1864 to commemorate the Newton men that died in that war.
It had fallen into disrepair over recent decades but was restored last fall, thanks to a Community Preservation Act (CPA) grant.
Katy Holmes from Newton’s Planning Dept was asked to research and write about the history of the monument for the grant application. As she worked, Katy was drawn deeper and deeper into the individual soldier’s stories. She has compiled a biography, from all available records, for each soldier who’s name appears on the monument. Throughout this year, Katy has been releasing biographies on the month of each soldier’s death.
For April, here’s one soldier’s story:
Seth Cousens, Jr.
Seth Cousens, 29, a carpenter, enlisted with 22 other Newton men whose names are listed on the Monument on August 13, 1862 with the Mass. 32nd Regiment, Company K. Six months later, on February 6th, 1863, Cousens was discharged with typhoid fever and returned home to Newton Center. He died at home on February 26, 1863.
Company K was formed by Joseph Cushing Edmands, a Newton man who was a first sergeant in the Mass. 24th, and who, after recovering from illness at home in the spring of 1862, formed a new company comprised largely of Newton men.
In late summer of 1862, the Mass. 32nd was sent to Fort Monroe in Hampton Roads, Virginia. By this time, Edmands had been promoted to Major. From Fort Monroe, they marched to Centreville and fought at the Battle of Bull Run on August 30th. The Mass. 32nd also fought at Antietam, MD from September 16-17th; Blackford’s Ford on the 19th; and was in Sharpsburg, MD until October 30th.
From there the regiment moved to Falmouth, Virginia and fought in the Battle of Fredericksburg. An expedition to Richards’and Ellis Fords followed in late December. Cousens was discharged not long after.
Cousens was born in Lyman, ME in 1834 to Seth and Betsey Cousens. Seth Sr. was also from Lyman ME. Census information shows that Seth was still living in Maine in 1850, but by 1854 was living in Newton. In 1857, Cousens married Mary Ann Watson in Boston, MA and continued to live in Newton. Seth Cousens died in Newton Center upon his return home, and is buried in Lyman, ME.
His widow, Mary, moved to Augusta, Maine, where she appears in directories until 1882. Cousens appears alphabetically on the monument and his name was listed there when the monument was dedicated in July 1864.