BRONSTEIN PARK, formerly known as Hanover Square is located on Hanover and
Beech Streets in Manchester, New Hampshire. The official City of Manchester web site describes it as “the small, 2.84-acre park is located within walking distance of Central High School on Hanover and Beech Streets. The scattering of trees across the park provides both shade in the hot summers and beauty in the colorful spring and autumn seasons. The walkways have benches lining the sides so visitors may sit and enjoy their surroundings.”
In a previous blog post, I described in detail the renaming of this park to honor Ben Richard Bronstein. In this article, I will focus on the other memorial found within the park’s boundaries.
If you visit Bronstein Park, you will find a bronze statue and monument prominently placed. The “Hiker” (see photograph above) is a replica of the original bronze statue by Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson. The bronze model represents a khaki-clad American soldier of 1898 holding a rifle. The statue was mounted on a granite pedestal eight feet high and five feet wide. On the side of the pedestal is a Maltese cross with a medallion in the center. The words “Cuba,” “Porto Rico,” “Philippine Island,” and “U.S.A.” appear on the four sides of the cross. On the opposite side of the pedestal was placed a bronze plate, on which was inscribed the following words: “This monument was erected by the City of Manchester to her sons who on land and sea defended the nation’s honor in the war with Spain, the Insurrection in the Philippines, and the China Relief Expedition. 1898-1902. — Dedicated July 4, 1929.”
During the Spanish-American War, the 1st New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry was examined and mustered into service by Captain W.S. Edgerly, United States Army between the 7-13 of May in 1898 at Concord NH, and was mustered out on 31 October 1898 at the same location. On 17 May the troops were entrained at Concord, their immediate destination being Camp Thomas, Chickamauga Park, Georgia. After a few weeks, the 1st NH Regiment was transferred to the Third Brigade, First Division, First Corps. At the time of mustering in, the regiment contained 47 officers and 952 enlisted men. None were killed in action, however 3 officers and 29 men died of disease resulting from their service, and 13 deserted.
It is extremely difficult to obtain a list of men from Manchester who served in the wars between 1898-1902. I do know that my great-uncle, James J. “Jimmy” Manning served. He was the son of Irish immigrants, Thomas & Mary (Lyons) Manning born 12 Aug 1877 in Manchester NH and died 20 Mar 1965 in Manchester NH. He survived the war and married Helen “Nellie” Harlan, and had 7 children, of whom many of their descendants continue to live in Manchester NH.
[Editor’s Note: This article is one of several I have written at the request of Don Pinard, Department of Public Works, Chief of Parks, Recreation and Cemetery Division, City of Manchester, New Hampshire. It is a volunteer project (on my part) to better record and share the stories of the men memorialized by the city’s “Military Squares.” All the information specifically within the body of this project is shared copyright free with the City of Manchester and its representatives, with the exception of photographs provided by family or friends who still retain whatever rights conveyed to them by law.]
Historical Sketch of Dover’s (NH) Participation in the Spanish American War (includes some history and muster rolls of the 1st New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry.
United States Index to Service Records, War with Spain, 1898 (FamilySearch database)
History of the Spanish-American War, by Richard Titherington, 1900