This paper was published in Cookeville, Tn which lies in Putnam County.
by Dale Welch firstname.lastname@example.org 303 Tayes Ave. Monterey, TN 38574 931-839-2949
The corn still grows across the wagon road that leads to the Conley Cemetery, located in a remote area appropriately called 'Peaceful Valley,' near the Overton and Putnam County lines off Highway 84.
Last Sunday, members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and United Daughters of the Confederacy along with relatives paid their respects in a memorial service for the Confederate soldiers buried there so long ago.
Rain fell that day across 'Peaceful Valley' as though to also mourn those who died in service to the Confederacy. A prayer was said, kind words spoken and then a final 21-gun salute marked the occasion.
Among those Confederate dead in the cemetery lie four Texas cavalrymen, a Texas Ranger and an Alabama cavalryman who were murdered by Federal forces at the William and Cynthia Officer home which still stands on the Rock Springs Road, though now in poor condition.
On March 12, 1864, the six soldiers - 2nd Lt. Robert S. Davis (8th Texas Cavalry, Co. D), Coxswain John P. York (8th Texas Cavalry), Oliver Shipp (8th Texas Cavalry, Co. S), Samuel Garrett (Texas Calvary, Co. G), W. M. Slaughter (1st Regiment Texas Rangers) and W. A. Lipscomb (3rd Regiment Alabama Calvary) along with a young boy, Johnny King, who was from Manchester, Tenn., and who was traveling with the group - had stopped at the Officer home.
Officer's son, John Holford Officer, also a Confederate soldier, was at home on leave. The Officer family and the soldiers were seated around the dining room table eating breakfast when Yankee forces under the command of William B. Stokes rode up. The Officer's son, John, ran into the kitchen when he saw the soldiers ride up, and hid in the loft and was further concealed by "Uncle Abraham" Officer, a slave on the Officer farm.
The other soldiers had no time to go for their guns, which were stacked in the hallway.
When the Yankees rushed the house, they killed York, Shipp, Garrett, Slaughter and Lipscomb in the house. As Shipp ran through the house, he grabbed Mrs. Officer's hand. With bullets flying from Yankee guns, Mrs. Officer was hit in the shoulder. According to a later account by "Uncle Abe," Mrs. Officer slowly recovered.
Some of the Yankees had by that time found Johnny King, the young lad, hiding in a corner. "Uncle Abe" persuaded the Yankees that King was just a young orphan boy going from house to house for support. The argument saved King's life.
There was no mercy for Lt. Davis, who was already wounded. The Yankees took him out to a gate post in front of the house and riddled his body with bullets. Before they fired the finishing shots, Davis cried out, "You ought not to do this. I have never done anything but my sworn duty."
The Yankees set fire to the Officer house, but Mr. Officer kicked it out. He was told that he would be shot if he did it again. "Every time you try to burn my house, I will surely put it out," Officer replied.
Unknown to the Yankees, Officer's son was still hiding in the house. The Yankees finally relented and rode off when reminded by Officer that they had already done much damage to his family and his guests.
The bodies of the slain soldiers were take by ox cart and buried in a common grave, but not before one of the Officer family cut locks of their hair. A portion of the fence post were Lt. Davis was executed is now in the Overton County Library.
Another Confederate soldier buried in the Conley Cemetery is James Forester Parrott. As a lad, Parrott was traveling with his family along the Old Walton Road westward. He came down with the measles and was left by his mother who was traveling in a wagon train in the care of the George Thompson family.
Parrott's mother and six other children continued on their journey, never to return.
Parrott became a Confederate soldier in Nov. 1862 when he joined Company H of the 28th Tennessee Infantry. At Franklin, Tenn., the then-Sgt. Parrott was captured after he was wounded in the ankle. He was admitted to the US Army hospital in Nashville where his right leg was amputated near the knee.
After serving time as a prisoner-of-war Sgt. Parrott was released on June 16, 1865, and walked home with a wooden leg to his wife and two sons.
Parrott died a few years after the war, in 1868. Some of his descendants tell that he was on horseback just a little way from home when he was ambushed. Always, when he was on horseback, always tied his wooden leg around the saddle horn to keep from losing it.
After he was shot, his horse returned home, the leg still tied to the saddle horn, and his family went out looking for him. They found him too late.
Members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans' Jackson County Reenacting Club (4th Tennessee Cavalry and 4th Tennessee Infantry, Company E) and the Sally Tompkins Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy participated in the event. Both groups are part of national organizations which promote the memory of their ancestors who fought in the Confederate service.
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