The Phipps Bros.: Civil War to Town Hall Memorial in 156 years
Among those from South Dedham who volunteered to serve in the Civil War were three brothers: Charles, Benjamin, and Eugene Phipps. Their grave markers stand side-by-side in Old Parish Cemetery.
The young men’s father, Loami Phipps, was a cabinet maker likely employed at the Everett Furniture Factory located in the center of South Dedham village. All three of the brothers can be found on the 1850 U.S. Census, along with their parents, in South Dedham. They appear again in the 1860 Census, as a family, right in the heart of the village. And then, the Civil War happened.
Benjamin and Charles enlisted within a week of each other in September, 1861, in the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment as Privates. Benjamin, 19, who listed his occupation as a varnisher and probably worked at the Everett factory with his father, mustered into Company C on September 12. A week later, 24-year-old Charles, a teamster, joined Company A of the same regiment.
Although the Twenty-fourth was splintered and assigned to different brigades for much of the war, on May 1, 1864, the regiment was reunited in Virginia. From August 14 through August 16, 1864 the regiment fought in the battle of Deep Bottom, Virginia. Among the soldiers killed in action on August 16, 1864, was Charles W. Phipps, eldest of the Phipps children. Less than a month later, Benjamin, still only 22, was mustered out and returned home.
The third brother, Eugene (his given name was Amos Eugene), was the youngest of the brothers. Despite his young age – born in 1851, he would have been 14 in 1865 – he enlisted in Company E of the First Rhode Island Regiment and was mustered into the Rhode Island Light Artillery (R. I. L. A.) unit on March 16, 1865. Just three months later, with the end of the conflict, Company E was disbanded and Eugene was discharged on June 14.
In July of 1866, only a little more than a year after the war ended, Benjamin Phipps died in Walpole of sunstroke at the age of 24. Eugene Phipps left South Dedham and lived most of his life in Boston. He became a house painter. In 1907, he died at the age of 56 as the result of an accidental fall.
Near the center of Old Parish, at the edge of the slight rise of a grassy slope, the three brothers were reunited. Each brother has his own official marble regimental marker.
While researching the life stories of veterans interred in the cemetery, the Old Parish Preservation Volunteers discovered that for some unknown reason, the names of the three brothers were omitted from the Civil War Veterans Roll of Honor in Memorial Hall when the tablets were installed in 1928. Since all three were residents of South Dedham when they enlisted, their names should have been included. When this was brought to his attention, Veterans Agent Ted Mulvehill quickly worked to right this omission.
On November 11, 2020, the service of the brothers will be officially acknowledged and the names of Amos Eugene Phipps, Benjamin F. Phipps, and Charles W. Phipps have been added to Norwood’s Civil War Veterans Roll of Honor plaques in Memorial Hall. You may also visit their graves in Old Parish Cemetery which will be open on Veterans Day between the hours of 1 and 3pm.
Other Phipps family members are buried in lot 79 of Old Parish Cemetery as well. The graves of father, Loami, who died in 1870 of consumption, and mother, Loriana, who died of the same disease in 1876, are unmarked. Laura Phipps, the youngest of the Phipps siblings, died in 1863 of scarlet fever at only 6 years of age; she has a small marker next to her brothers.