Compiled by Paula Kowalewski Sullivan from various online sources including The Sun Chronicle, history books like Jordan Fiore's Wrentham 1673-1973 A History, along with interviews with local Wrentham folks and Jackson Frye.
Jackson “Jack” Frye, currently a junior at King Philip Regional High School and a member of Boy Scout Troop 131, has been raising funds to design and build a Revolutionary War Veterans monument he plans for the Wrentham Town Common as his Eagle Scout project.
The Eagle Scout Service project is an opportunity for Scouts to demonstrate leadership of others while performing a project for the benefit of their community. This is the culmination of the Scout’s leadership training, and it requires a significant effort; completing it is a requirement of a Scout to attain the Eagle Scout rank. According to The Sun Chronicle, Scoutmaster Ed Crisci had told Jack that he had spoken about the lack of such a monument with several town employees. “They made it clear to him that it would likely be a project that they would be interested in having a Scout take on,” Frye said. “As a history buff, this was right up my alley.”
In this particular case, the project will, as required, benefit an organization other than the Scouts: Wrentham’s Town Common will see a new monument to commemorate Wrentham residents who served in the American Revolutionary War. This monument will join the other war veteran memorials on the Common or in town as shown below.
When he pulled together a yard sale in town to raise funds for the monument in October 2022, Jack told The Sun Chronicle, “I am a history buff that was dismayed by the fact that we did not have a monument on the Town Common commemorating the Wrentham residents that fought in the Revolutionary War.”
The Revolutionary War arose from growing tensions between residents of Great Britain’s 13 North American colonies and the colonial government, which represented the British Crown. Skirmishes between British troops and colonial militiamen in Lexington and Concord in April 1775 kicked off the armed conflict, and by the following summer, the rebels were waging a full-scale war for their independence. According to Wrentham, 1673-1973: A History, “News of the fight at Lexington and Concord was spread by fast-riding messengers and on April 19 five companies of minutemen… marched from Wrentham in the provincial service.… From the reconstructed company lists, it appears that most of the able-bodied men in town served in the army at some point in the early part of the war…. Many Wrentham men served in the Revolutionary war with distinction.”
The History continues: “Although no military actions took place in the town itself Wrentham was the scene of one interesting event at the close of the Revolution.” In December 1782 when General Rochambeau's French Army marched through Town on its way from Yorktown to Boston, they camped out at what was then Cobb’s Field (where KPRHS is now). Earlier, in April 1776, Gen. George Washington had refreshments at Man’s Tavern, which had been in Wrentham’s town center.
As he told The Sun Chronicle, Jack Frye met with selectmen Chairman Joseph Botaish, Greg Stahl from the Wrentham Historical Commission, town Veterans Agent Stephen Travers, and Ray Rose, a veteran who is the cemetery/parks manager and tree warden for the DPW, and who spearheaded the recent Persian Gulf Memorial on the common. “They were all very enthusiastic,” Frye said, adding the project was approved by the board of selectmen and Town Administrator Kevin Sweet.
Jack is not the first Scout to help memorialize Wrentham’s veterans and their memorials. In 2017, Kevin Duduch, a senior at KPRHS, started his Eagle Scout project plan to light the World War I veterans’ flagpole/monument area on the island at the intersection of routes 140 and IA in the center of town. And in 2012, Troy Neubecker worked on his Eagle Scout project to remember those locals who served and died in the 9/11 attacks; that memorial stands in front of Town Hall. But Jack was inspired both by his love of history and a desire to create a project with impact – he told us it would be great to create something significant, something that if he ever left and lived elsewhere and then came back to Wrentham with his kids, he could point to the monument and tell them “I had a role in creating that” with pride.
Jack is working with local government folks along with Todd Duffy from Tribute in Stone, a local granite business that specializes in memorial monuments, to finalize the design. DPW’s Ray Rose had a large piece of granite at the DPW yard that was mined in town and will be donated for the main piece of the monument. But even with this stone in hand, the cost of the project will likely be over $30,000, so fundraising is in Frye’s future.
We asked about current funding for the project and Jackson told us there are Boy Scouts of America rules to follow first and he’s been abiding by them as he works his way through other funding possibilities. In addition to the October yard sale funds, Jack is going to pursue local online donations, and the code at the end of this piece can be scanned to learn more and to donate. He is also researching the Sweatt Fund as a possible source for funding.
“As a history junky, this has been Jackson’s dream for years. His commitment to his Eagle Scout project is astounding,” his cousin Kelsey Boillat told The Sun Chronicle. In fact, in meeting with Wrentham local Bill Jones, who can often be found at Town Hall converting hand-written historic documents into computerized / digital versions, Jack learned that the Wrentham Historical Commission has records of soldiers who served from this town, even including many from the Revolutionary period.
We asked Jack about timing and completion on the project. He told us, “We’re hoping construction takes place in the Spring.” He’s already talked to the Wrentham Landscape Committee [https://www.facebook.com/people/Wrentham-Landscape-Committee/100064644165919/] who have offered to help with monument plants once it’s in place. You can also follow progress by visiting Jackson’s Eagle Scout Project: Wrentham Revolutionary War Veteran Monument FB page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/634873144764840
With Wrentham’s 350th events throughout the year, keep an eye out for activity on the Common!
← Scan the code to learn more and to donate. Or if it’s easier for you, send a check payable to Troop 131 of Wrentham to: Jackson Frye 131 Gilmore Road Wrentham, MA 02093