EAST PROVIDENCE — The City of East Providence will unveil a refurbished World War I Memorial at the Ancient Little Neck Cemetery on Sunday, May 18, 11 a.m. The memorial was originally hung on the entrance to City Hall during the 1920s where it remained until fire destroyed the City Hall in 1976.
The brass memorial plaque was salvaged but unfortunately, the plaque was never reattached to the new City Hall and remained in the building’s basement for many years. While reorganizing records in the basement in preparation for a display in the lobby on the Ancient Little Neck Cemetery, the City Clerk uncovered the lost treasure hidden behind several old framed prints.
“I was astonished that such an important piece of East Providence history was forgotten. Mike Znosko, Keeper of Ancient Little Neck Cemetery, informed me of funds available in an account for the cemetery which could be used to mount the plaque on a large piece of granite,” said City Clerk Kim Casci-Palangio.
It was decided that a good home for the memorial would be the Ancient Little Neck cemetery where many war veterans from various wars in our history are buried, a total of 106 Veterans: 11 from the Revolutionary War, 1 from the Colonial War, 43 from the Civil War, 15 from the Spanish American War, 32 from World War I, 2 from World War II and 2 from the Korean War.
“We give our thanks to the City for all they have done in keeping the cemetery in good condition since 1655. It’s a group effort on behalf of those at City Hall, Public Works and Parks Department,” Mr. Znosko added.
The Ancient Little Neck cemetery, located in Riverside off of Penrod Avenue, is the State’s oldest historic cemetery. Among those buried in the cemetery are John Brown, Jr. son of the man who purchased Wannamoisett from the Wampanoag Indians. Elizabeth Tilley Howland, a passenger on the Mayflower ship and one of the original settlers of the Plymouth Colony. Captain Thomas Willett, son-in-law of John Brown of Wannamoisett, noted for serving as the first English Mayor of New York. George Read, who in 1865 received the Congressional Medal of Honor serving as the No. 1 Gunner on the USS Kearsage which sank the USS Alabama while in France during the Civil War.
From 1914-1919, 800 East Providence citizens served during World War I and the plaque recognizes those 23 East Providence residents who fought and died during World War I in defense of our Nation.
“On behalf of the entire City Council I’m pleased we are able to rededicate this important World War I memorial,” said Councilwoman Chrissy Rossi who will be in attendance for the unveiling.
A list of the names as they appear on the plaque follows and it is the City’s hope that descendants of those listed may read this announcement and make themselves known or are available to attend the unveiling:
“In Righteous Immortal Glory Nobly Served Their Nation: Fred A. Almquist; Harold H. Jentzel; John D. Austin; Arthur W. Johnson; John E. Benson; William H. Lepper, Jr.; Edgar P. Black; Raymond J. Mowry; Donald E. Carlton; William D. Packer; Joseph E. Castro; Howard G. PaRker; Terrence J. Daley; Albert J. Payette; Albert Fleming; Manuel Ross; John Gonsavles; Albert C. Shepard; Fredrick A. Harmon, Jr.; Richard J. Stark; Ray L. Harris; Howard M. Wilmart; Robert B. Harvey.”
The dedication is free and the public is invited to attend. The ceremony will include the dedication of two flags flown over Washington, D.C., donated by Congressman David Cicilline and an official unveiling will take place with representatives from the City and State. For additional information on the dedication contact Mrs. Casci-Palangio at 435-7590.