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Norfolk/Wrentham - Local Town Pages

Scout Plans Revolutionary War Memorial for Town Common

Jackson Frye, second from left, with former state Rep. Shawn Dooley, Ed Crisci, and Nate Crisci at a yard sale Frye organized and ran in October to raise funds for his Eagle Scout project.

By Grace Allen
A Wrentham Boy Scout is turning his love of history into an Eagle Scout project to acknowledge and honor Wrentham residents who fought in the Revolutionary War.
Jackson Frye of Troop 131 is designing, planning, and fundraising for a Revolutionary War memorial to be installed on the town common this spring. 
“The Wrentham residents who served in the war deserve to have a memorial,” said the King Philip High School junior. “They fought for and helped establish our country.”
Since he was a small boy, Frye has always been interested in history. Playing with toy soldiers segued into a fascination with battles and wars, followed by an interest in the countries involved, including their histories and culture. As Frye got older, the lack of a proper memorial for the town’s Revolutionary War soldiers weighed on his mind. When it was time to choose an Eagle Scout project, the decision was easy. 
An Eagle Scout project must be developed, planned, and led by a Boy Scout, and benefit a religious, school, or community organization. Nationally, only about 6% of Boy Scouts achieve the Eagle rank because it requires commitment, leadership, and plenty of hard work, all while balancing school and other activities.
For his project, Frye is working with Tribute in Stone, a local monument company, to design the memorial. The monument, which will be between 6 and 8 feet tall, will consist of granite quarried in Wrentham and topped by a bronze eagle. The eagle is being fabricated by a veteran in Idaho.
The names of the Wrentham residents who served in the war are still being researched, says Frye, noting Wrentham at the time covered a much larger area, which included Dedham and parts of Franklin, Plainville, and Norfolk. 
He anticipates his final list will have between 20 and 30 names on it, but they won’t be carved into the memorial. Instead, Frye plans to use an interactive technology to list the names. Visitors to the memorial can scan a QR code and see a list of names on their phones. This way, the list can remain fluid so future historians or anyone else can add more names as they are discovered.
In a unique twist to the project, the granite being used for the monument was discovered just a few years ago on the side of the road near Wampum Corner. Greg Stahl, a local contractor who is also the chairman of the town’s historical commission, was working on a job and spotted the large piece of stone in the bushes. 
Stahl believes the granite was part of a railroad bridge that once crossed West Street just past Wampum Corner. The bridge was part of the Old Colony Railroad, which operated from 1845 to 1893. The railroad then became the New York, New Haven and Hartford line, which ceased operations in 1959. The bridge was most likely dismantled in the 1980s, surmised Stahl, with several pieces of granite discarded on site.
Stahl also believes the granite used in the bridge was quarried in a nearby area known as Wampum Rock, the last known site where Indians lived in Wrentham. 
The Historical Commission took possession of the granite block, with the purpose of using it for a Commission-sponsored monument in the future. When the group became aware of Frye’s Eagle Scout project, it became clear where the piece of granite belonged.
“This was a situation where things happened in the right order for Jackson to get a piece of Wrentham history to build his monument with,” said Stahl.
Frye agreed. “It’s a very nice aspect of my project.”
Monuments are not inexpensive, and Frye’s project will cost $37,500. He has raised more than $12,000 so far, through donations and a large yard sale held last fall. Frye was also recently awarded a $15,000 grant from the State Historical Records Advisory Board, to be used towards the project.

The October 30 yard sale, held in Wrentham center, raised $6,500.


Frye believes the project has helped him hone his writing and presentation skills, as well as his leadership and organizational abilities. He is coordinating the effort with town officials, vendors, and Scoutmaster Ed Crisci, to work through the logistics of the complicated project.  Frye is also speaking before town organizations with a goal of eliciting financial support for the project. 
Joe Botaish, the chairman of the Wrentham Board of Selectmen, said the board is impressed with Frye’s project and his commitment to commemorate the residents who participated in a war that happened close to 250 years ago. 

Scan this code to donate to Frye’s Eagle Scout project.


“There’s a lot of history in Wrentham that people may not be aware of,” said Botaish. “This memorial will serve to further show people what an interesting and great community we have.”
Frye hopes the monument will be finished and installed sometime in late spring. He plans to have an unveiling ceremony, too, noting the town is celebrating its 350th anniversary this year. The memorial to those long-ago residents is certainly overdue.
If you’d like to donate to Frye’s Eagle Scout project, scan the attached QR code. Donations should be made to Boy Scout Troop 131, with “Jackson Frye” in the Eagle Scout Candidate box. 
Or, checks made out to Troop 131 can be mailed to Frye at 131 Gilmore Rd., Wrentham MA 02093.