Not New Hampshire: Sculptor Carl H. Conrads of Germany and West Hartford CT

Photograph of Carl H. Conrads, Sculptor, from a 1920 Hartford Courant newspaper.

Carl Henry Conrads (erroneously called Charles Conrads in some sources) was not a New Hampshire native, nor did he ever live within our state’s boundaries.  But he did sculpt some of our most famous statues, including those of John Stark and Daniel Webster for Statuary Hall in Washington DC, and the statue of John Stark for the Concord New Hampshire state house.

The statues for Statuary Hall at the capitol– John Stark & Daniel Webster, were modeled by Carl Contrads after statues in bronze that were already in the state house park at Concord, New Hampshire. That original of the Webster statue was by Thomas Ball and was presented to the state by Benjamin Pierce Cheney. The original statue of Stark was by Conrads and was erected by the state.

According to ‘Works of art in the United States Capitol Building,’ compiled by Charles E. Fairman, 1913, page 17, Carl Henry Conrads was born in Breisig on the Rhine, Germany. He began life as a carver in wood, then studied modelling at Munich until 1860 when he came to the United States. He worked for a short time in New York before volunteering for the Union Army during the Civil War. Carl H. Conrads returned home to Germany at least one time, shown by the passenger list of the ship Cimbria, that sailed from Hamburg Germany to New York City, arriving in the United States on 20 November 1872. He listed his occupation as stone worker. His obituary below provides more details.

His obituary in the Hartford Courant, Hartford CT, 25 May 1920, page 20
CARL H. CONRADS DIES SUDDENLY. Sculptor and Veteran of the Civil War.
Carl H. Conrads, well known sculptor and veteran of the civil war, died suddenly at 10 o’clock last night at his home in West Hartford. He was born in Brelsig, Germany, February 26, 1839 and came to America in November 1860. He enlisted in the army March 3, 1861. He was on his way to his parents who were in Texas, but owing to a blockage he was forced to remain in New York. He enlisted in Company G, 20th New York Volunteers and served thirteen months then he re-enlisted in Battery F. United States Artillery and served eleven months more. He was discharged June 1, 1863. He was in several big battles including Antietam, the seven days before Richmond, the battle of Fredericksburg. He witnessed the naval fight between the Cumberland, Merrimac and Monitor, seeing is plainly from the shore. At the close of the war he remained in New York for a short time and in 1866 came to Hartford where he was sculptor for the late James G. Batterson until 1903 [Editor’s note: at the New England Granite Works].  Mr. Conrad has made some well known pieces, among his works being the soldier statue at South Manchester [CT], the General Sylvanus Thayer statue at West Point, N.Y., the Alexander Hamilton statue in Central Park, New York, the Daniel Webster and General John Stark statues in Statuary Hall in the Capitol in Washington. “The Minute Man of 1776″ and “Soldier of the Civil War” [Cary Memorial Hall] at Lexington, Mass, the colossal soldier statue for the Antietam monument, measuring twenty-one feet high and a great many cemetery pieces scattered throughout the country. On April 23, 1874 he married Helen R. Goetz (Stadtmueller). They had no children but adopted Clara Sprenger, who married Robert H. Ellsworth of Oregon. Mr. Conrads moved to West Hartford [CT] in 1900, a few years before his retirement from active work.

Several sources indicate he is buried in Lot-94 of Fairview Cemetery, West Hartford CT including a history of West Hartford, and Connecticut, Hale Collection of Cemetery Inscriptions for Fairview Cemetery.   A list of his additional works and more biographical facts can be found on Carl Conrads’ Wikipedia page.


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