Names and minutes of the Ladies Memorial Association of Perote, Bullock County, Alabama
REMINISCENCES OF PEROTE IN BULLOCK
By A Native
Catharine Elizabeth (Hixon) Rumphi
(This transcribed excerpt was written before 1958)
The Ladies Memorial Association (in Perote, Bullock County) was organized April 27, 1874, and on May 21, 1874, the Constitution was presented. It had the distinction of being the second one in the south, Columbus, Georgia being the first. They had 43 charter members.
The 26th of April, Memorial Day in Perote has always been almost like a homecoming. Then is when we have our new clothes. A prominent speaker gave an address and some child recited a suitable poem for the occasion and appropriate songs were sung. After this dinner was served under the trees in front of the Methodist Church.
- From the Minutes of the Ladies Memorial Association.
- “Perote, Ala.
- April 27th, 1874
At the call of a member of the ladies of Perote the citizens of the town and vicinity assembled on the morning of this day at the Perote Cemetery and after decorating the graves of the Confederate Soldiers with flowers they repaired to the Methodist Church, Rev. W. S. Turner read the 70th Psalm, beginning at the 10th verse, offered prayer at the Throne of Grace.
Capt. G. W. Dawson was then introduced to the audience as the orator of the occasion and delivered an appropriate, beautiful and touching address.
Rev. W. S. Turner gave notice that as soon as the Memorial Association shall be organized he will move that a copy of the excellent address be solicited for the use of the Association.
Rev. Mr. Turner stated that the meeting had been called not only for the purpose of decorating the soldiers’ graves and hearing the address of Capt. Dawson but also to organize a Memorial Association in order to perpetuate the beautiful custom of commemorating the services of our Confederate dead by putting flowers on their graves, and having a suitable address delivered annually on the 26th of April.
Mr. Turner then moved that Mrs. Eliza Laney act as president and Miss Lula Bryan serve as secretary Protem. The motion was adopted.
Mr. Turner then read a list of officers, managers and committee which had been prepared by a number of gentlemen and ladies.
On motion of Dr. W. A. Walker the list as a whole was adopted as follows:
- Mrs. Eliza Laney -President
- Mrs. Jesse Locke – Vice President
- Mrs. James Harp-Vice President
- Mrs. William S. Turner-Vice President
- Mrs. William A. Walker-Vice President
- Mrs. Abbie Rumph – Corresponding Secretary
- Miss Lula Bryan – Recording Secretary
- Mrs. W. J. Lewis-Treasurer
- Mr. Charlie Laney-Historian
Board of Managers:
- Mrs. Charles B. LaHatte
- Mrs. George W. Dawson
- Mrs. Ezra Baxter (Catherine Graham Hixon)
- Mrs. J. D. Rumph, Sr.,
- Mrs. S. B. Sullens,
- Mrs. J. B. Fryer,
- Miss Sallie Patterson,
- Mrs. J. C. DuBose,
- Mrs. J. W. Crossley,
- Mrs. J. O. Zeigler,
- Mrs. J. McCall,
- Mrs. M. Ivey,
- Mrs. T. B. Miles,
- Mrs. I. M. Johnson,
- Mrs. J. Adair,
- Mrs. J. H. Peach,
- Miss Sallie Tinsley,
- Mrs. J. P. Brooks,
- Mrs. D. A. Hixon.
Advisory Committee of Gentlemen:
- Dr. J. D. Rumph, Sr.,
- Col. Jesse Locke,
- Capt. G. W. Dawson,
- Mr, James Harp,
- Dr. W. A. Walker,
- Dr. W. D. Bryan,
- Dr. J, O. Zeigler,
- Mr. Malachi Ivey,
- Col. E. W. Starke,
- Mr. Ezra Baxter,
- Prof. C. B, LaHatte,
- Mr. T. B. Miles,
- Mr. S. L Latham,
- Mr. J. B. Fryer,
- Mr. I. M. Johnson,
- Mr. J. R. Adair,
- Dr. W. R. Moye
On motion of Rev. W. S. Turner, the Association then adjourned to meet at such a time as the President may appoint., Lula Bryan, Sec’y. “
- From the minutes of the Ladies Memorial Association:
- “The History of the Perote Guards Flag”
- Union Springs Herald Thursday, May 5, 1927.
One of the most interesting facts concerning the history of Perote and one which should inspire within every one of you, a patriotic pride, was the return of the Perote Flag. This fact alone was the means bringing about the return of all Southern battle flags captured by the Northern Forces during the War of the Rebellion.
The Perote Flag was made by Miss Martha Crossley who later became Mrs. James D. Rumph, and Mrs. Long of Hurtsboro, and other interested friends. Miss Crossley was noted throughout the entire community for her exquisite work and painting. So it was she who designed, and decorated and presented the flag, with the assistance named.
The flag was made at a time when peace abounded throughout the borders of our land, and many feared that it was that dread calm that precedes the terrible storm. “In time of peace prepare for war” was the sound maxim upon which the Alabama Legislature wished to encourage volunteer organizations and so the ladies of Alabama wished to encourage them. It was made at a time when a new firm had been set up, the Southern Confederacy, established as firm a foundation as stable as the Rock of Ages.
The flag was presented to the Perote Guards September 1860, by the ladies of Perote. The address preceding the presentation of the flag was made by Miss Crossley on the steps of this church. She said in brief:
Take this flag and with it accept the best wishes of the donor for the success of the Company. We consign this flag to your care with the full faith that you will never use it for any inglorious purpose, that you will follow it wherever duty or honor leads and that you will never allow it to succomb (aic) to mortal foe until the last gallant Guard be stricken to the dust and can no longer bear it aloft.
That flag may have a part in the facture of coming events, near the flashing of the guns, in the midst of the strife, if so, let it be found floating erect, triumphant over the brave hearts and strong arms that so nobly defended it, covered all over with glory, and emblazoned in letters of gold, with the fulfillment of the motto, “Justice and protection for each new partner or a new firm.”
The Perote Guards were organized at Perote, Bullock (then Pike) County, in 1859 and composed mostly of students of the Perote Institute.
At Barancas Barracks, near Fort Barancas, Florida, February 1861, the First Alabama Regiment was organized. The companies composing the regiment were the Eufaula Rifles, Eufaula Pioneers, the Perote Guards with George W. Dawson as Captain, Clayton Guards, Guards of the Sunny South, Wilcox True Blues, Tallapoosa Rifles, Rough and Ready Pioneers, and Red Eagles.
Captain Dawson in a speech made at the first Memorial Exercises ever held at Perote said:
“You have come today to honor the memory of the men who represent a soldiery as brave as any that England’s “Iron Duke” ever led upon the field of Waterloo, as any that followed the star of Napoleon Bonaparte, as any that marched with Washington in the dark days of 76.
Among Alabama’s thousands, none were so prompt to respond to her call, none more willing, none sooner in the field than the company that carried your flag. Clad in a uniform made by the ladies of Perote, carrying the flag they received from you at the hands of Alabama’s noblest daughters, they marched with the blessings given amid tears and smiles bearing with them the idols of many of your hearts.”
It is interesting to note just here that the Second Memorial Association was organized at Perote, the first having been organized at Columbus, Georgia.”
“During twelve months a part of the First Alabama Regiment was contending with the Northern Forces at Fort Pickens. At the end of the year, the companies were reorganized and the Perote Guards became Company G, with M. B. Locke as Captain. After a brief furlough of 30 days the Companies assembled again to help in dismounting the batteries, which portended the evacuation of Fort Barancas. On March 5th the regiment left for Memphis, Tenn. from which it was transferred by boat to Island No. 10. Island No. 10 was located near the corner of Tenn., Kentucky, and Missouri. Batteries were at once set up. Next day March 15, the enemy’s fleet appeared and began the attack. A battle took place which meant the loss of many of the boys belonging to various companies in Alabama. (D. A. Hixon was one of the soldiers captured and sent as a prisoner to Ship Island) Among the flags captured was the Perote flag. The flag carried by the Perote Guards was taken by the 18th Wisconsin Infantry called ‘The Norwegians.”
The Perote Guards, forming a part of the Pensacola Campaign 1861, Island No. 10, 1862, Port Hudson 1862-63, Meridian, Mobile and Georgia 1863-1864, Tennessee Campaign and the Campaign in the Carolinas.
There were 197 men on the muster roll of the Perote Guards, not one of them ever deserted, put a substitute in his place or attempted to evade the Confederate service. All except a few who lived to return home were buried on the battlefields and in the Confederate Cemeteries of the North.”
Mr. Christian W. Rumph fought in the Battle of Murphreesboro, Tennessee, Mr. Lawrence Hixon was killed and buried at Bell’s Landing, Tennessee. (Bible record) Mr. Malcolm Finlayson was mortally wounded and died here and is buried in Perote. Dr. McLester was killed in action.
Perote Homecoming, June 8, 1926, was the biggest day Perote has had in my recollection. Invitations were sent to all persons who had lived in Perote and were still living, whose addresses we could get. They came from far and near, some as far away as Texas.
(Union Springs Herald). “Those of sturdy Scotish (sic) Clans and their descendants, reveled in the associations of the past, that were hallowed by the most sacred-ties of home, heart and sentiment for this was no ordinary barbeque, but a reunion of the heart and an occasion when handclasp lost all formality and shone forth as a symbol of love and sincerity. One cannot call the assemblage of 500 persons a cross section of America, rather it was easily a section of the best and most typical life, in which the blue eyed Saxon blood showed what could be done in its racial purity when allowed to run its own course.
There were the Brabhams, the Finlaysons, Hixons, Rodgers, Taturns, Youngbloods, Lees, McMillans, Copes, Camerons, Cades, Laneys, Peaches, Hightowers, Sellers, Crossleys, Fosters, Davises, Jenkins, Rumphs, Feagins, Faulks, Popes, Blues, Mains, Jones, Wests, Culvers, Harrisons, Engrams, and others. A full half thousand rallied together in honor of the homefires and that which has made America great.
An orchestra dispensed music of 1926, no kilties, nor even a Scotch air, but the trio composed of A. B. Laney and his sisters, Mesdames J. G. Lundy and J. B. Murphy, showed what home singing can do and they earned an encore as easily as an opera star.
From among the many professional men sent out by Perote, John H. Peach of Sheffield, past president of the Alabama Bar Association, delivered a cultured address to which doubtless a full hundred of his lineage listened including the following eight brothers and sisters, all graduates from an Alabama College: George H. Peach, Dr. Henry E. E. Peach, both of Clayton, Mrs. R. L. Petty, Clayton, Mrs. R. A. Foster, Brantley, Mrs. Arthur H. Feagin, Union Springs, Mrs. Crawford Hightower, Montgomery, Miss Susie Peach, Clayton, Mrs. Clarence West, Louisvile, Alabama. It is not known that this record can be equalled in Alabama or elsewhere, although it appears that this is Perote’s way of doing things.
Among those taking part in the extensive program covering two hours in the forenoon and three in the afternoon, may be mentioned Mrs. Winton Blount, Mrs. C. M. Franklin, and Mrs. A. W. Oliver of Union Springs, Prof. S. W. Hixon, principal of the Perote School, delivered the address of welcome to which Mrs. E. A. Dannelly of Ozark responded, both addresses being marked by an earnest, direct appeal brought applause.
James W. Culver came from Texas to deliver a telling address, pregnant with the spirit of the home and other short addresses were by Mesdames R. W. West, Mrs. J. B. Cranberry, and Mr. Clarence Owens, a piano solo was by Mrs. Minnie McLester Hope. The oration by W. R. Rodgers, aged 78 years was the same as delivered on the occasion of his graduation from the Perote Academy 50 years before, Mr. Rodgers had all the qualifications of an orator, and showed all the fire and spirit of one half his age as he delivered a passionate patriotic appeal.
The home-coming was originally sponsored by the Parent Teacher Association, through the teachers Misses Nella Carroll, Effel Rumph, Lettie Cowart, Mildred Turnipseed, Elizabeth Kirkland with Prof. Hixon in charge. The project soon met with enthusiasm that hundreds instead of dozens came. The Department of Archives and History was represented by Miss Frances Hails, Miss Lois Yelverton, and Leon Meirovitch. Miss Hails in a brief address asked for historical material and was given some choice records and mementoes of the past.”
(Taken from the Union Springs Herald)
“The Ladies of Perote made fatigue suits for the Perote Guards and presented them to the company on their leaving for Ft. Barancas, Florida.”
The 28th of May, Emancipation Day was a big day for the negroes in Perote. They hired a band to come from a distance, met at the Baptist Church on the north side of town and marched through town to the Methodist Church where they had a picnic in the woods back of the church. “Uncle Jim McWilson,” an old colored man led the procession and he really felt his importance.
iCatherine Elizabeth (Hixon) Rumph was born in Bullock County and has lived during her entire life time there. She is the daughter of a Confederate Veteran who was some time a prisoner at Ship Island off the coast of Mississippi and grew up in the environment of the small country village about which she writes and among interesting Confederate associates, Mrs. Rumph has collected Americana, folk lore and historical data and contributed in no small way to the life of this rural community
The Alabama Historical Quarterly, Vol. 20, No. 03, Fall Issue 1958
Discordance: The Cottinghams Inspired by true events and the Cottingham family that resided in 17th century Somerset, Maryland, and Delaware, colonial America comes alive with pirate attacks, religious discord, and governmental disagreements in the pre-Revolutionary War days of America.
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