Friday, November 11, 2011

Healey Square, Beverly, Massachusetts

In June 1862 the USS Mound City, a Union iron clad ship, was damaged in battle in Arkansas near Saint Charles.  Out of 170 men on board, only a handful survived, the rest were scalded to death inside the metal ship or were shot trying to escape.  I had no idea that my 3x Great Grandfather, Joseph Edwin Healey, died in this battle, nor did I even suspect that he was a sailor in the Civil War, since he was 39 years old at the time of his death.  I had never found his death record in Beverly, Massachusetts, nor anywhere in the Massachusetts records, and I suspected that he died at sea somewhere since he was a mariner.  I was surprised to find out that he was a Civil War sailor killed in action.

This is a photo of Mike Collins, the city engineer for Beverly, Massachusetts.  He first contacted me last summer when he began a project to restore the signs marking the squares in Beverly named for veterans.  Some of the signs were missing, and some were old wooden signs, like the one he is holding above.  He had marked 16 squares around town for restoration, and was researching the men behind the names when he found my blog and website while looking for Joseph Edwin Healey.  We connected via email, and I was able to fill him in on family information and he was able to tell me about Joseph Edwin Healey's military service.

Yours Truly, Mike Collins, Jerry Guilebbe (Beverly's Veteran Services)
and Beverly Mayor, William F. Scanlon, Jr. 
Working online with Mike Collins and Jerry Guilebbe (he works for Veteran's Services in Beverly), I found out about the Battle of Saint Charles and about my ancestor's horrific death.  Mr. Collins redesigned a cast aluminum sign for Healey Square, and this same design will be used for the other signs to be replaced around Beverly.  Friday, November 11, 2011, the sign was re-dedicated in Beverly along with a crowd of onlookers and Veterans.  It was great to finally meet Mr. Collins and Mr. Guilebbe in person, and to see the sign marking Healey Square.

The Beverly Civil War Monument
For my blog post describing how Mike Collins originally contacted me about Joseph Edwin Healey's story please click on this link:

Click here for a link to the Salem News Story about the Healey Square sign

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. Very nice Heather! You won't forget this day.

  2. Of all the ways we learn new information about our ancestors, this has to be one of the neatest!

  3. What a meaningful story! Your illustrations are excellent. I'm also fascinated because in my city this fall our Public Library is reaching out to descendants of the men and women whose portraits hang on the library walls. We're hoping to gather and share good stories, as you have.
    - Sandy Ward, Holyoke, MA