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CHEROKEE COUNTY HISTORY


Cherokee County, Texas

        Cherokee County History   

100 YEARS AGO TODAY IN CHEROKEE COUNTY
 
BY: KENNETH MCCLURE, COMMANDER, SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS, CROSS OF
 SAINT ANDREW CAMP #2009, CHEROKEE COUNTY TEXAS C.S.A.   
 
On October 31, 1907 a very large crowd of citizens comprised of men, women and children 
of all ages came on horses and in horse drawn carriages and on foot  from all over the 
Cherokee county area to gather on the court house  square in Rusk to attend the official 
unveiling ceremony for their recently  constructed Confederate statue that was erected in 
honor of over 2,000  men from Cherokee county that proudly served in the Southern army  
during the war of northern aggression that was thrust upon the south in 1861. The statue 
was bought from a company in Italy with funds raised by over 400 people and businesses that 
contributed $1,859.96 for the purchase of the monument. I am very proud of the fact that all 
of my g,g,grandads and g,g, uncles that served and are buried here in our county contributed 
funds to the purchase of our statue. The United Daughters of the Confederacy, Captain Frank 
Taylor chapter #668 was formed in early 1903 in Cherokee county and was the primary driving 
force behind these fund raising efforts to obtain the new monument according to present day 
U.D.C. member Mary Taylor of Jacksonville. At the dedication ceremony on October 31, 1907 
there were a large group of Confederate veterans from the United Confederate Veterans Ross / 
Ector camp #513 of Cherokee county present and they were assisted by the ladies of the U.D.C. 
who were there in force to conduct the ceremony in honor of the remaining surviving veterans 
from the war that ended 42 years earlier in 1865. The event was hosted by U.C.V. Commander 
Mertice Jerome Whitman and included a roll call of all living veterans present and a roll call 
for all veterans who had passed away. The new impressive statue was then unveiled by Ms. Frankie 
Tatham of the U.D.C. while the crowd responded with applause and the band played Dixie. Ms. Tatham 
was the daughter of John F. Tatham who was a Captain during the war and later served as city Marshal 
of Rusk after the war. Present day S.C.V. Cross of Saint Andrew camp member Shelley Cleaver is the 
great grandson of Captain Tatham and he has the actual badge that he wore while serving as city 
Marshal. The dedication ceremony for the new statue concluded with good fellowship and good food 
for all in attendance. In April of 2001 the statue was in need of repair from exposure to the 
elements over the years and the rifle had been broken off according to many accounts , when the 
statue was moved in the late 1930's and early 1940,s  when the courthouse was renovated and enlarged. 
Thanks to fund raising efforts launched by the U.D.C. and S.C.V. chapters in the east Texas area 
and to local citizens and businesses again answering the call, the required funds were raised and 
the statue was thoroughly cleaned and a new musket was sculpted and secured back in the soldiers 
hands atop the monument. On April 27,2001 East Texas brigade area SCV and UDC groups held a 
re-dedication ceremony for the re-paired and re-armed statue. On this occasion Bernard Hilburn 
led the rifle squad and Kenneth McClure led the color guard. Scott Bell along with John Garbutt 
and Kenny Wallace were three of the main driving forces behind getting the fund raising efforts 
started to repair the statue and all made presentations at the ceremony. As of today Wednesday 
October 31,2007,one hundred years have now passed since the statue was originally dedicated on 
October 31,1907 and it still proudly stands today, not as a symbol of rebellion or of any political 
statement but as a tribute to all of the gallant men from Cherokee county who bravely left their 
homes and families during time of war knowing they may never return home to their loved ones to 
defend their country from an invading army during what most folks call the American civil war better 
known down here as the war of northern aggression.  A very special thanks to all who have contributed 
to preserving this historic Cherokee county landmark for past, present and future generations. 
DEO VINDICE