Clark Memorial Park
Clark Park Memorial in Beaver, Pennsylvania is a large stone memorial that contains the names of sixty-one Union Army soldiers from the small town of Beaver. Four of whom were shot and killed during the Battle of Gettysburg. Surrounded by plants the memorial is frequently visited by the public and daily foot traffic in the town.
Backstory and Context
Beaver was founded in September of 1791 when the Pennsylvania Legislature authorized a survey of the area to create plans for a town. In 1792, Daniel Leet was commissioned to lead that team and instructed to create "commons" - town lots reserved for public use. After weeks of work mapping the outline for the community, “Beaver Town” was officially incorporated. Clark Park was named in honor of George Rogers Clark, a frontier military officer who represented the United States in battles against and treaties with are Native tribes.
This plot of land was the home of the original Beaver Cemetery from 1814 until it was moved in the 1860s. The headstones were removed, and many of the graves were relocated to the new cemetery (Beaver Cemetery). Although the cemetery in Clark Memorial Park did not have any new burials, some of the human remains were not moved owing to the difficulty identifying the locations of graves and the names of those who were buried here. Among the soldiers who are known to be buried at Clark Memorial Park, four died in active service: William J. Marks, Thomas Shawness, Howell Walton, and Richard Walton. There is speculation that four others, Alfred Cairns, Frasher Dillon, Joseph F. Kennedy, and Richard Naltin, may have also died in battle due to their deaths being between the years of 1862 to 1865.
Several of the men who were buried here and later moved to Beaver Cemetery died in the battle of Gettysburg, a turning point in the Civil War. One of those men is Colonel Richard P. Roberts who was killed in the Wheatfield at Gettysburg. Another is Sergeant David W. Scott who was shot in the jaw before being taken prisoner. A tooth and fragment of his jawbone, as well as many personal belongings and letters, are now on display at the Beaver Area Heritage Museum.
In 1959, stones from the old cemetery were used to erect a monument in Clark Memorial Park. The large stone monument contains the names of the 61 Union army soldiers whose remains still remain in the park, and is frequently visited by the local schools and people of the town. The monument is maintained by the Borough of Beaver.
- “Civil War Veterans Buried in Beaver Cemetery and Clark Park.” The Beaver Area Heritage Foundation, beaverheritage.org/civil-war-veterans-buried-beaver-cemetery-clark-park/.
- History.com Editors. “Battle of Gettysburg.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 29 Oct. 2009, www.history.com/topics/american-civil-war/battle-of-gettysburg.
- Times, Jeffrey SneddenFor The. “Beaver Was Planned with the Public in Mind.” The Times, The Times, 25 Feb. 2015, www.timesonline.com/article/20150225/News/302259816.
- Snedden, Jeffrey. Beaver was planned with the public in mind, The Times. February 27th 2015. Accessed September 10th 2020. https://www.timesonline.com/article/20150225/news/302259816.
- Clark Memorial Park, Borough of Beaver. Accessed September 10th 2020. https://ecode360.com/31552284.