If you know, let us know. Send your responses to [email protected] or phone 749-1000, extension 18.
The bronze eagle atop the boulder at Wilson Circle (see below) has been flying for more than a century, dedicated to the 31 men who fought for the Union during the Civil War. The late Island historian, Patricia Shillingburg, found that the census of 1860 counted 509 people living on Shelter Island, of which approximately 140 were males between the ages of 13 and 45. That means that 22 percent of the able-bodied men went south to war.
Their names are listed on a plaque just below the eagle.
There’s another plaque attached to the boulder itself, which was dedicated in 1922 to those Islanders “who answered the call to fight for world-wide freedom — 1917-1919.”
Dorothy Bloom was the first to identify the eagle, calling to tell us that her great-grandfather, Henry Howard Preston, is listed among the men who fought to preserve the Union.
Carleen Washington — who lives in North Carolina now, but recognized something she passed every day going to school when she saw it on our website — emailed us with the correct information, as did Tom Speeches. Faith Cummings and Jack Conway testified to their knowledge of the Island by posting the spot-on answer to our Facebook page.