Over the centuries, Kingston residents have served in the armed forces when necessary, and throughout that time, the town as a whole has honored that service and sacrifice. Here is a brief look at a few of the monuments around town that set in stone the town’s gratitude to its citizen soldiers.
The same spirit that led Kingston to gain independence from Plymouth in 1726 made the town ready to support opposition to British rule fifty years later. In the winter of 1775, Kingston selectmen joined other towns of Plymouth County in signing a remonstrance against the crown, and began to prepare for the crisis soon to come. Men were recruited for a company of “minute men” and when Lexington called, shipbuilders and farmers dropped their tools and marched first to Marshfield, then on to Concord. Kingston sent her full quota to the Continental Army — 61 men, half of the adult male population from a town whose residents numbered just over 900. The town also provided coats for these troops, and sent others to man the fort built in 1777 at the Gurnet alongside men from Duxbury and Plymouth.
Subsequent wars brought equal responses from the town’s citizens. In the War of 1812, 30 Kingston men enlisted, most serving coast guard duty at the Gurnet. With an economy heavily dependent on shipping and ship-building, Kingston’s prosperity was certainly threatened by this war with Britain, and citizen responded once more. In the War of the Rebellion, now more commonly called the Civil War, Kingston sent 189 soldiers to fight, 19 more than the required quota. Of a population of 1626, one in nine served; a total of 14 were casualties of the hostilities. The town treasury paid out more than $11,000 ($5,574 from private donations) in soldier’s relief.
In 1883, a monument was raised on the Town Green, also known as the Training Ground, to honor those Kingstonians who fought for national unity. Mrs. Abigail Adams personally funded the monument, while the Martha Sever Post No. 154 of the Grand Army of the Republic paid for the dedication ceremonies, pictured below.
In 1926, the town honored the 132 doughboys and nurses who fought in World War I with a monument on Patuxet Hill, at the intersection of Green and Summer Streets; the formal dedication took place on Memorial Day, May 30, the following year. The machine guns were donated by the Kingston American Legion.
The monument to those who served in the Second World War was erected in 1953 on Main Street near the bypass over Route 3. Another memorial to veterans of foreign wars, specifically Korea and Vietnam, stands in front of the Faunce School on Green Street, while the newest Kingston monument, this one honoring soldiers missing in action, was dedicated at Gray’s Beach on Patriot’s Day, 2005. Life Scout Joe Gibbons spent a year on the project.