CLARENCE MacKENZIE, Green-Wood Cemetery

Deep within Green-Wood Cemetery, along Linden Avenue, is a section created by the Cemetery to inter Civil War veterans, known as Soldiers’ Lot. Several German immigrants who served their adopted country are here, as well as soldiers who fought at the battle of the Wilderness, Antietam, Gettysburg and Shiloh.

The first Brooklynite to die in the Civil War was the drummer boy for the 13th Regiment, Clarence Mackenzie. He was killed at Annapolis by friendly fire from the gun of a soldier who was training nearby: a bullet entered the tent where he was sleeping. In 1878 he was memorialized by this “bronze” memorial (actually most metal monuments are made of zinc). He was twelve years old.

 

Most of the metal monuments seen in Green-Wood and other northeast USA cemeteries were manufactured by the Monumental Bronze Company of Bridgeport, CT. The zinc memorials were made between the 1880s up to World War I. The company remained in business up to 1939.

You can see the advantages of such memorials: there has been little to no deterioration over time. Oddly, the very oldest gravestones and monuments in the northeast, from the 1600s and 1700s, have showed little effect from wind and rain and whenever they’re in less than perfect condition, it’s likely because of vandalism. Such isn’t the case of marble and limestone monuments that became popular in the 1800s…they all show deleterious effects from outdoor conditions.

Photos by Robert Mulero, the webmaster of Street Lights of New York City and the co-author of The History and Design of New York City Streetlights, Past and Present  (2016, Dorrance)

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10/31/18


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2 Responses to CLARENCE MacKENZIE, Green-Wood Cemetery

  1. ronald s says:

    The zinc was sometimes referred to as “white bronze” at the time. There is a newer “white bronze” now that is a copper/tin/zinc alloy.

  2. Al Tz says:

    What of what looks like twigs at the base of his statue. Is that a custom like visitors leaving small stones on a monument?

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