The History of the Confederate Monuments in Greensboro1
(Published in 1908)
After several years of agitation and earnest work, the citizens of Greensboro raised a sufficient amount to purchase a modest monument and erected it in the Greensboro cemetery to the memory of the Confederate soldiers. The work was completed in March 1872. and the treasurer, Mr. Charles E. Waller, reported the total cost of the monument, including erection, to be $204.50.
THE OLD CONFEDERATE MONUMENT Erected in 1872 in the Greensboro Cemetery. (HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALABAMA From Its Earliest Settlement by William Edward Wadsworth Yerby, Montgomery, Alabama)
On the 26th of the following April, the monument was duly dedicated. The following account of the proceedings was written for The Beacon by the late Col. Harvey, then editor of that paper:
“Pursuant to a custom which has been observed for five or six years, Friday, the 26th of April, was observed by the citizens of Greensboro as the day for decorating the graves of those Confederate soldiers whose remains were interred in our cemetery.
“A procession was formed at the Presbyterian church, about 4 p. m., composed of the Sunday School scholars of the different churches, the Greensboro Brass Band, and Fire Company, and the citizens of the place generally, in the following order: Greensboro Brass Band. Greensboro Fire Company, with Banner. Orator, with Committee of Citizens. Presbyterian Sunday School. Methodist Sunday School. Episcopal Sunday School. Citizens on Foot. Carriages with Citizens.
“Col. Allen C. Jones, as Marshal of the occasion, marched the procession through Main street to the cemetery, where a stand had been erected for the speaker, and where a large crowd had collected in advance of the procession.
“The ceremonies of the occasion were opened with prayer, by the Rev. R. H. Cobbs—after which, Col. Jones introduced John T. Walker, Esqr., as the orator.
“Mr. Walker’s address was highly appropriate, chaste, beautiful and eloquent. “Through the praiseworthy efforts of a few of our citizens— prominent among whom are Dr. Jas. D. Osborn, Chas. E. Waller, Esqr., Mrs. Dr. Ward. Miss Julia Tutwiler and Miss Mary Jackson—a handsome marble monument has been erected in the Greensboro Cemetery, having inscribed upon it the names of those Confederate soldiers. from this place or vicinity who lost their lives in battling for the “Lost Cause”—so dear to them and to those who now revere and honor their memories. The monument was decorated with beautiful wreaths of flowers and evergreens.”
Thirty-two years later
Thirty-two years after the erection of the monument in the cemetery—that is to say, in April, 1904— the beautiful monument on the Court House square was completed. It represents much labor on the part of the Ladies’ Memorial Association of Greensboro, who for many years worked to raise the necessary amount to pay for it. The cost was about $1,500.00.
On May 12th, 1904, the monument was duly unveiled with appropriate ceremonies. Mrs. Mary G. Pickens, Chairman of the Committee and Treasurer of the Monument Fund, read the report from the Memorial Association, the concluding portion of which was as follows:
“We commend the monument to the loving care of the Memorial Association, Daughters of the Confederacy and Veterans. It is placed on a spot given for that purpose by the Hale county commissioners, and we give it into the sacred care and protection of our Mayor and Town Authorities and our entire community, and sincerely thank all who have helped us in any way.
Respectfully, MRS. R. J. NELSON, MISS MARTHA YOUNG, MISS MARY E. AVERY, MRS. C. J. PIERCE, MRS. MARY G. PICKENS.”
Wm. E. W. Yerby accepted the monument in behalf of the town as follows:
“Ladies of the Memorial Association: In behalf, and in the name of the Mayor and Council of the town of Greensboro, we accept the beautiful monument you have here erected in memory of our Confederate soldiers, and pledge the city’s honor to throw around it that care and protection it may demand, for we realize that this shaft of granite and marble represents many years of labor on your part, and it silently speaks, in strains as sweet as angels use, of your love and devotion to the memory of those heroes whose valor and patriotism fill one of the brightest pages of the world’s history. Nearly forty long and eventful years have passed away since the close of that bloody, fratricidal strife, but the memory of the gallant deeds and heroic conduct of the boys who wore the gray, is as fresh and green in the hearts of our fair and beautiful women as if the tragic event in our country’s history had happened only yesterday. To you all honor and praise! While we need no columns of brass or of stone to cause us to remember our heroic dead, nor to remind us of our duty to those who were their companions in arms on many hard fought battle fields, yet it is mete and proper that our love for them, and the cause for which they fought, should be expressed in tangible form, so that those who come among us from afar may know we revere their memory and gallant deeds, and that their glory shall never be forgotten “while fame her record keeps, or honor points to the hallowed spot where valor proudly sleeps.”
“Yon marble minstrel’s voiceless stone
In deathless song shall tell
When many a vanquished age hath flown
The story how they fell;
Nor wreck, nor change, nor winter’s blight,
Nor Time’s remorseless doom Shall dim one ray of glory light That gilds their deathless tomb.”
Ex-Governor Wm. C. Oates then delivered a patriotic oration, at the close of which the stature of the Confederate soldier adorning the top of the monument was unveiled, and the ceremonies ended.
THE NEW CONFEDERATE MONUMENT. Erected in 1904 in front of the Court House. (HISTORY OF GREENSBORO, ALABAMA From Its Earliest Settlement by William Edward Wadsworth Yerby, Montgomery, Alabama)
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