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Farmingdale monument to honor Civil War vets

Philip Darby was one of the Farmingdale residents

Philip Darby was one of the Farmingdale residents that fought in the Civil War. The village is dedicating a monument to him and 12 others for their service Memorial Day weekend. (Jan. 26, 2011) Credit: Handout

A monument 150 years in the making is set to be erected in Farmingdale Village.

The Farmingdale-Bethpage Historical Society and Eagle Scout Patrick Looney, 19, have been working to bring to the village a carved granite statue called "Tree of Life" to memorialize 13 soldiers from the Farmingdale area who reported for duty during the Civil War, according to village historian Bill Johnston. Part of the tree will be missing to represent those who were killed in the war.

“I’d say the genesis of the monument is a book called ‘Harking Back,’” Johnston said.

Looney, a Farmingdale resident, read the book -- which details the history of the Bethpage purchase and other Long Island events -- and learned of 13 soldiers who departed Farmingdale on a train to fight in the Civil War. He was working on his Eagle Scout badge when he set out to find more information about the soldiers. When he couldn’t, he asked the historical society for help.

Johnston said historical society trustee Serena Carter Brochu dove into the project, visiting cemeteries and scrounging through pension and other government records to piece together the soldiers’ identities over the course of the last four years.

“They were able to identify quite a few,” Johnston said.

The $11,000 monument, which is being paid for through private donations, is set to be unveiled on Memorial Day on the village green at Village Hall. Deputy Mayor Patricia Christiansen said Farmingdale also plans to reposition its existing World War I, World War II and Korean/Vietnam memorials on the green. Although officials are still planning the landscape, one idea is to place the monuments chronologically to create a veterans memorial walk.

Donations can be sent to: Farmingdale-Bethpage Historical Society, P.O. Box 500, Farmingdale, NY 11735; checks should say "civil war memorial" in the memo line.

Pictured: Philip Darby was one of the Farmingdale residents who answered the call to serve during the Civil War.

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