Interesting Places I've Photographed
Miles Morgan Statue
Topic: Sculptures of Springfield
GPS: N42° 06.078; W072° 35.334
Miles Morgan is known as "The Hero of Springfield".
The statue of Miles Morgan in Springfield's Court Square, with his boots, iconic hat, and musket, probably most closely corresponds to the mental image most people have of a pilgrim. He is more than just the quintessential example of an early settler. In fact, he has an interesting life story.
Morgan was born in Bristol, England in 1616, emigrated to Boston in 1636. He accompanied William Pynchon west, into what was then the new frontier, and settled near the Connecticut River at what is now Springfield, MA. To this day, this area is called the Pioneer Valley. There he built a fortified blockhouse. Although only 20 years old, Captain Miles Morgan was made second in command to Colonel William Pynchon. A new community developed and the blockhouse became fortress of safety when the settlement was attacked by Native Americans and burned during King Phillip’s War. The early settlers held out under his protection until help could be summoned to their rescue.
His personal family story parallels that of the better known story about John Alden and Priscilla Molines aboard the "Mayflower". He first met his future wife, Prudence Gilbert, at the dock in Bristol and they sailed together to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. After settling in Springfield he traveled back to Beverly, MA where Prudence had settled. There they were married and then returned with his new bride back on foot, through the pathless forest, to the Pioneer Valley. Eventually, he returned to England and died in Wales in 1699.
The bronze statue was created by Jonathan Scott Hartley and was erected in 1882 to honor Miles Morgan's services in settling the town, governing the colony, and fighting the Native Americans during the King Phillip's War. The granite base is decorated with a bronze garland of oak leaves and contains the inscription:
AN EARLY SETTLER OF
ERECTED IN 1882 BY ONE
OF HIS DESCENDANTS OF
THE FIFTH GENERATION
The unnamed decendant of the fifth generation is probably the financier Junius Spencer Morgan who was born in Holyoke, MA in 1813. He was the was the father of J.P. Morgan.