Confederate Veterans on Robert E. Lee’s 200th birthday
By Jim Goodson
The Sons of Confederate Veterans honored the 200th birthday of Robert
E. Lee, Friday, to promote their efforts to honor
military men and families who served the South during
the Civil War.
“We call it the War of Northern Aggression,” commander
Ken McClure said Friday. “The Confederacy simply wanted
to exist as its own nation.”
The SCV and its women’s auxiliary, the St. Andrew’s
Southern Belles, are dedicated to researching, finding
and establishing appropriate military markers at the
gravesites of men who served the Confederacy during the
bloody conflict of 1861-1865. So far, 55 veterans’
gravesites have been identified and honored.
“Confederate veterans deserve the same military markers
as any other United States veterans,” McClure says. The
markers are virtually identical to those that honor U.S.
veterans, except that they contain the Cross of St.
Andrew, the emblem of the Confederacy.
The SCV is a direct descendant of the Confederate
Veterans of America, which lots its last member with the
1959 death of Gen. Walter Washington Williams, reputed
to have been the last surviving Civil War Confederate
veteran. He was a Mississippi native who died in
Houston. During the war, he served with the famous
The Cross of St. Andrew Camp 2009, based in Alto,
represents Cherokee County veterans. It’s a part of the
East Texas Brigade of the Texas Division of the Sons of
In addition to establishing proper gravesite markers for
Confederate veterans, local SCV members restore
cemeteries. An old, forgotten cemetery between Rusk and
Alto was found to contain the graves of two Confederate
veterans. In 2004, the Box Cemetery was totally
reclaimed, a list was compiled of all buried there and a
sign containing its names was hung at the entrance to
In the blistering heat of August 2006, a reclamation
project was begun at the Old Palestine Cemetery three
miles east of Alto. Five months earlier the SCV cleaned
and cleared out an old, forgotten cemetery in the Lake
Stryker area which contained the plots of two
Confederate veterans who were ancestors of Cherokee
County historian and SCV member Shelley Cleaver.
Its most recent historical event was a triple marker
dedication ceremony Nov. 26 at Cedar Hill Cemetery in
Rusk, where 103 Confederate veterans are buried.
Veterans honored were also Cleaver ancestors: John F.
Francis of the 25th North Carolina infantry, his son
James M Francis and Cleaver’s great-grandfather James F.
Tatham, who was a second lieutenant in the 19thTennessee
A women’s auxiliary supports the activities of the Camp
2009. The Saint Andrew Southern Belles attend all
functions and play an important role within the
“We think it’s important to remember our heritage and
honor our ancestors,” Cleaver said. “This was the most
difficult time in our nation’s history and these people
endured incredible hardships. When the men went away to
fight, the women were left behind to fend for themselves
and their children the best they could on the frontier.
“Their bravery and courage should always be remembered.”
Information from Jacksonville Daily Progress,
January 20, 2007