Ancestors in Arms
- I am proud of my family’s record of service to the United States. My father Edmond Yates, and uncles Paul Richardson and Bill Terry served in WW II. My Great Uncle Francis Yates died in WW I and is commemorated on the WWI Memorial at the corner of High and Pettee Streets.
- My Great Grandfather Samuel Corey Richardson was a native of Newton Corner (Richardson Street may have been named for his family.) He served in the 40th Mass. Regiment that took part in the Battle of Fort Wagner where the 54th Regiment, led by Col. Robert Shaw showed the bravery of African-American soldiers.
- My Great Grandfather was wounded in the Battle of Olustee, Florida. The Union retreat was covered by the 54th Regiment. As I said to the grandson of Congressional Medal of Honor Winner Sergeant William Carney, the 54th saved my Great Grandfather from being sent to Andersonville Prison, where wounded Yanks would not have lived to return to Newton, and have a family that included my Grandfather.
- I would like to work to honor Newton’s Civil War Heritage. If you would like to help or if you know anything about the 40th Regiment, please contact me.
In 2014, I was deeply honored to speak at the re-dedication of the Newton Memorial to Civil War Soldiers. I had worked actively with a broad range of city workers and citizens across the city to complete the repairs of the Memorial as well as organize the ceremony. I was particularly touched to have the Honor Guard from the 54th Regiment, the heroic group of African-American soldiers honored in the film, "Glory". The 54th's valiant defense of the Union retreat in the battle of Olustee had probably saved my great grandfather's freedom and even his life (and inherently mine).
I am proud to have advocated for the repairs of all three historic burying grounds, and to have worked on their maintenance as a member of the Historic Burying Grounds Committee of Historic Newton. I look forward to honoring the soldiers of World War I on the 100th anniversary of that struggle.