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Westfield 350 lecture series continues

Ed Stanard will be leading the lecture about the Solomon family on Wednesday. Stanard is a historian who primarily focuses on the American Civil War. His research into the Solomon brothers began when he received an email in the late 1990s from a man in Australia. (Photo submitted by Ed Stanard)

WESTFIELD- The First Congregational Church will host the fourth lecture in the Westfield Wednesday’s 350th Historical Lecture Series this Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

This lecture is titled, “The Solomon Brothers of Westfield, in the Civil War and Beyond.” Local historian Ed Stanard extensively researched the story of the Solomon family and their lifelong adventure around the world, which includes an extended stop in Westfield.

John, Henry, and Phineas Solomon were three English brothers from a family of nine children. They had moved to the United States from England as a family in the 1850’s. They first lived in New York City before moving to Westfield Massachusetts and ran a cigar business on Elm Street. Samuel Solomon, the brother’s father, was a cigar manufacturer in Liverpool, England.

Stanard will detail John and Henry Solomon’s time in the 10th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment, Westfield’s Company K, at the onset of the American Civil War.

“I was contacted by a gentleman in Australia in 1997,” said Stanard, “He asked me if I was aware that the Thompson brothers were in the 10th Massachusetts volunteer Regiment and were buried in Australia.”

A photo with an unknown date of Jack Solomon (right) found in
The National Library of Australia (Photo submitted by Ed Stanard)

The Solomon brothers opted to change their last name to Thompson due to the prevalent anti-Semitism in Australia in the late 19th century.

Stanard was prompted to research the brothers when he received the email in 1997 due to him being a well-known historian of the American Civil War and the 10th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment. He frequently took part in reenactments as a part of Company C of the 10th Massachusetts Civil War as well as participating in living history events. His previous research into the 10th MVR stemmed from his great-great-Grandfather, who had served in the same regiment.

The grave of Henry Solomon in Australia. According to Stanard’s research, hundreds of veterans of American wars are buried in Australia. (Photo submitted by Ed Stanard)

Stanard will speak about the Solomon’s presence in Westfield, where they established one of their cigar manufacturing facilities. He will detail the brother’s journey from their childhood in England, their time in Westfield and involvement in the Civil War, and the rest of their lives in Australia where their graves are found today.

Stanard’s lecture, like many of the others, was originally slated to be held at The Westfield Athenaeum. However, due to the popularity of the first few lectures, it has been moved to the First Congregational Church at Park Square to accommodate more attendees.

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