World War I Casualties from Hudson City
Hudson City Residents Who Gave Their Lives During World War I
On the afternoon of July 4, 1922 thousands of Jersey City residents turned out at Pershing Field to view the unveiling of the memorial, America Triumphant, erected by popular subscription in memory of the 147 Hudson City war heroes, residents of the old Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Wards, who gave their lives in World War I. The ceremony was preceded by a military procession from the Armory on Mercer Street to Pershing field. Many more thousands had gathered along the line of march decorated by what was said to be the greatest flag display Jersey City had ever seen.
At Pershing Field the memorial containing the America Triumphant statue, cast by the famed sculptor, James Novelli, and a bronze tablet containing the names of the one hundred and forty seven heroes, was unveiled by a local Civil War veteran and his grandson, a veteran of the world war. A bi-plane overhead slowly dropped a single rose for each of the lost sons of Hudson County until an immense bouquet lay at the foot of the monument.
But the intervening years were not kind to the memorial. Good hearted efforts to maintain the statue with layers of paint caused it to lose its patina and intricate detail. The granite bounder on which it rests was covered in a garish paint that belied the solemnity of the piece. Even worse, the original tablet containing the names of the citizens who made the supreme sacrifice for their country was lost for years.
Thanks to the efforts of the Pershing Field Garden Friends Association, which includes the 2007-2008 President of The Hudson County Genealogical Society, Bob Murgittroyd and donations from concerned citizens, the memorial was recently restored and the bronze plaque of names replaced. The restored memorial also won a 2008 preservation award from the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy.
The Hudson County Genealogical Society is now making the list of those who gave their lives available for browsing online. The original list has also been appended with additional data from a Pershing Field memorial transcription project undertaken by students of the 7th grade from the Academy School in May of 1999. While transcribing other memorials in the park some soldiers names were found to be on other memorials and included additional data such as rank and company of service.
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About Pershing Field
There are many monuments to various Jersey City residents located throughout the city. Certainly the largest number of monuments are located in Pershing Field Park in the Hudson City section of the city. This park was originally intended to be part of Reservoir 3 of the water system, but due to financial difficulties was not developed for water storage. During July and August of 1917 it was used as a training ground for members of the Armed Forces. In 1919 it was dedicated as park land and named in honor of General John Pershing, Commander of the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe during World War One.
Below: slide show of the rededication of "America Triumphant" in 2008. Photos by Jeff Kopalowitz
About Hudson City
Hudson was a city that existed in Hudson County, New Jersey, United States, from 1855 to 1870.
Hudson Town, a predecessor of Hudson City, was formed by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 12, 1852, from portions of North Bergen Township.
Hudson City itself was incorporated on April 11, 1855, from portions of Hudson Town and North Bergen Township.
On May 2, 1870, both Hudson City and Bergen City were annexed by Jersey City.