E. S. Rugeley
Chapter 542

United Daughters
of the
Confederacy



Confederate Veteran Memorial Day
Marker Dedications


 

CHRISTOPHER HARRIS "KIT" WILLIAMS

O G Jones' Co, Texas Light Artillery

Born: February 28, 1838

Died: March 27, 1916

  

ROBERT ABNER PARTAIN

Co D Yager's, 3rd Battalion, Texas Cavalry

Born: August 1, 1836

Died: February 22, 1897

 

 HENRY FORTENBERRY

Co C Ford's Battalion, Arkansas Cavalry

Born: 1841

Died: 1905

 

 ABEL HEAD "SHANGHAI" PIERCE
Co D Yager's, 3rd Battalion,
Texas Cavalry

Born: June 29, 1834

Died: December 26, 1900

 

JONATHAN EDWARDS PIERCE
Co D Yager's, 3rd Battalion,
Texas Cavalry

Born: December 6, 1839

Died: March 29, 1915

 

 “Lest We Forget”
 



CONFEDERATE VETERAN MARKER DEDICATION

 
 

 

CHRISTOPHER HARRIS "KIT" WILLIAMS
Cedarvale Cemetery


ROBERT ABNER PARTAIN
Partain Family Cemetery

 
 

HENRY FORTENBERRY

ABEL HEAD "SHANGHAI" PIERCE
JONATHAN EDWARDS PIERCE
Hawley Cemetery

 

 

 

E. S. RUGELEY CHAPTER 542

UNITED DAUGHTERS OF THE CONFEDERACY

BAY CITY, TEXAS

 

 

April 25, 2009                     2:00 p.m.

 

 

E. S. RUGELEY CHAPTER 542, UDC

CONFEDERATE VETERAN MARKER DEDICATION

 

CHRISTOPHER HARRIS "KIT" WILLIAMS

Cedarvale Cemetery

 

INVOCATION ……………….........…...…Jackie Jecmenek 

 

PLEDGE TO THE USA FLAG………….………..... Assembly

PLEDGE TO THE TEXAS FLAG ……………….... Assembly

SALUTE TO THE CONFEDERATE FLAG …….... Assembly

 

CALL TO REMEMBRANCE ……..........….Carol Sue Gibbs

 

DEDICATION ...………………………...….…Donna Johnson
 

Poem..........................................................Freda Daniel

 

TRIBUTE TO C. H. WILLIAMS .............…..Carolee Moore

 

BENEDICTION…………………...........…..Jackie Jecmenek

 

Ceremony will be continued at Partain Family Cemetery & Hawley Cemetery near Blessing

TRIBUTE TO ROBERT A. PARTAIN...........Lester Wallace

 

TRIBUTE TO HENRY FORTENBERRY......Lila Fortenberry

TRIBUTE TO ABEL H. PIERCE..................Steven Armour

 

TRIBUTE TO JONATHAN E. PIERCE.........Lee Hall Pierce

 


 


CHRISTOPHER HARRIS WILLIAMS

February 29, 1838 - March 27, 1916

Cedarvale Cemetery
Bay City, Matagorda County, Texas

 

Christopher Harris Williams, known as "Kit" Williams to family and friends, was the eldest child of Robert Harris Williams and Mary Lawson White.  He was born February 29, 1838 on the Robert Harris Williams plantation along Caney Creek in Matagorda.  As a teenager and young man, he attended school in Nashville, Tennessee where he received his early military training. He matriculated two years at Louisiana Medical School (now part of Tulane University) in New Orleans.  He returned to Matagorda in 1859 to resume work on his father's plantation and to practice medicine. 

 

When the Civil War erupted in 1861, Williams enlisted in the confederate army in Texas.  He saw service in Texas and in Louisiana.  He served as a drill master, enlisted in Jones Light Artillery, and was made 1st Lieutenant and later Captain.  He witnessed the battle of Galveston and aided in the capture of the "Harriet Lane."  His granddaughter, Pauline Rugeley, later recollected seeing the two souvenir cannon balls Williams retrieved from the beach after the war ended.

 

Williams married Theresa Pauline Marie Herbert, daughter of Peter Walter and Mary Bellefield Webb Herbert sometime before January 1, 1862.  They had two children, Rowena and Laura Roberta, later Rugeley, the mother of Pauline Rugeley.  Theresa Herbert died in 1873 and Williams was married again in 1881 to Alice B. Heidt, a young widow, in Bay St. Louis, Louisiana.  They had five children, of whom only Carlisle Harris Williams lived through adulthood.  Alice died July 30th, 1899, of cancer at age 52.  In his late years, Williams married his third wife, Mrs. Nannie Gunn of Virginia, in 1914, who survived him. 

 

Christopher Harris Williams died March 27, 1916 at the home of Dr. and Mrs. H. L. Rugeley, old family friends.

 


REV. ROBERT ABNER PARTAIN

August 1, 1836 - February 22, 1897

Partain Family Cemetery
Near Blessing, Matagorda County, Texas

 

 

Robert Abner Partain was the youngest of four children of early Texas settlers, John C. Partain and Nancy Smalley. He was born August 1, 1836, in New Orleans, Louisiana. This happened because his mother and siblings participated in the "Runaway Scrape". Many settlers made their way to Louisiana to escape Santa Anna and his army. Santa Anna's army was plundering the Texas countryside and killing settlers in the pursuit of Texas Revolutionary forces.
 

Robert was a cowboy, rancher, soldier, family man, and a preacher. He was a circuit rider and preached where he was asked. He entered service as a private at Camp McCulloch on April 14, 1862 and served in Co D Yager's, 3rd Battalion, Texas Cavalry during the War Between the States.

 

He married Jeannette Parham O'Neal and they raised a family of eight children. After Jeannette died, he married Ella Burns, daughter of Columbus Burns who was a early settler in the Cuero area. Robert and Ella had three children.
 

Robert was asked to pastor the First Baptist Church in Bay City until the church

could find a regular pastor.

 

There are still 4th, 5th, and 6th generations from Robert Abner and Jeannette Partain still living in Matagorda County, Texas.

 


HENRY FORTENBERRY
 

1841 - 1905

Hawley Cemetery
Near Blessing, Matagorda County, Texas


 

Henry Fortenberry was born in Rhea County, Tennessee, March 1841, and died in Matagorda County, Texas, in 1905. He was the son of Henry L. and Lucinda Fortenberry.

 

In 1860, he was residing in Spring River, Lawrence County, Arkansas, with his parents. While there, Henry joined the Confederacy, serving as a private in Co. C, Ford's Battalion, Arkansas Cavalry. It was organized on August 27, 1864. The company was probably disbanded, December 1864, after Major General Sterling Price's Missouri Campaign of September-October of that year.

 

By 1870, Henry was married to Melissa A. McMinn. She was born June 1842 in Mississippi to Abraham and Mary Ann Williamson McMinn and died 1 July 1910 in Matagorda County, Texas.

 

The Fortenberry family moved to this state before 1880 following the lead of many Confederate veterans. They settled in Jackson County where Henry supported his family by farming. Later, they relocated to Matagorda County in the Midfield-Blessing area.

 

Five children were born to this union: Henry Lofton and James Jay, born in Arkansas, Daniel Forest, Mory Idle and Annie Jane, born in Texas.

 

Henry and Melissa are buried in Hawley Cemetery, Blessing, Texas.

 

 

ABEL HEAD “SHANGHAI” PIERCE

 

June 29, 1834 - December 26, 1900


Hawley Cemetery
Near Blessing, Matagorda County, Texas

 

Abel Head “Shanghai” Pierce was born at Little Compton, Rhode Island on June 29, 1834.  He left Rhode Island when he was sixteen and spent seven years working in Virginia and eventually arrived at Indianola, Texas in December 1853.  He worked for W. B. Grimes as a cowboy.
 

A. H. “Shanghai” Pierce served in the Confederate Army, along with his brother Jonathan Edwards Pierce, joining Company D 3rd (Yager’s) Batt’n. Texas Cavalry as a Private on April 10, 1862.  His service ended in 1865.  After the war, Shanghai trailed cattle from the Gulf Coast to New Orleans and then to the Kansas railheads: Wichita, Dodge City and other towns north.  With the earnings, he purchased land and began his extensive holdings in several counties.  He laid the groundwork to import the first Brahman Cattle from India to America in 1906.
 

Shanghai Pierce married Frances “Fannie” Lacy on September 27, 1865.  They had a daughter, Mary known as “Mamie” and a son, Abel who died as an infant.  Fannie Pierce, who was born February 5, 1839, died on December 18, 1870.  Shanghai married second Hattie James of Galveston, but they had no children.


Abel Head Pierce died December 26, 1900 and is buried in Hawley Cemetery, Deming’s Bridge, now Blessing, Texas.  His life-like statue looms tall over his gravesite where he had it erected several years earlier.  Shanghai Pierce made a great impact on all who knew him in Texas and throughout our Nation.

 


JONATHAN EDWARDS PIERCE
 

December 6, 1839 - March 29, 1915


Hawley Cemetery
Near Blessing, Matagorda County, Texas

 

Jonathan Edwards Pierce was born at Little Compton, Rhode Island on December 6, 1839.  He left Rhode Island and joined his brother, Abel, in 1858 to work on the ranch of W. B. Grimes near the present town of Blessing, Texas.

 

Jonathan Edwards Pierce served in the Confederate Army, along with his brother, A. H. “Shanghai”, joining Company D 3rd (Yager’s) Battalion Texas Cavalry as a Private on April 10, 1862.  His service ended in 1865.  Jonathan and Nannie Deborah Lacy, born August 11, 1845, were married on May 2, 1866, after he and his brother returned from the Civil War.

 

He became a rancher and cattleman with large holdings and he and Nannie built “Rancho Grande” on the Tres Palacios River.  Four children were born to them: John Phillips, Pearl, Abel Brown and Grace Harriet.  Nannie Lacy Pierce was accidentally thrown from her carriage and died nineteen days later on February 15, 1896.

 

Jonathan E. Pierce married second Grace Lawrence and their children were: James Lawrence and Grace.  After Grace Pierce died Jonathan married Laura Duffield and they had a son, Jonathan E. Pierce, Jr.

 

Jonathan Edwards Pierce was a founder of Blessing, Texas and much of the Tres Palacios area of Matagorda County.  Jonathan Pierce, Sr. died on March 29, 1915 in Galveston and was buried at Hawley Cemetery, near Deming’s Bridge in Matagorda County, Texas.

 



 



 


CONFEDERATE MARKER DEDICATIONS

Saturday, April 25, 2009

 

WELCOME

On behalf of E. S. Rugeley UDC Chapter 542, I would like to welcome you to this marker dedication. It is appropriate that we honor these men today as tomorrow, April 26th is Confederate Veterans Memorial Day. From sea to shining sea we link hearts, minds and spirits to honor faithful veterans, some whose resting places have been previously unknown, unmarked or neglected. May our hearts be lifted up to the Lord as we have the invocation.

 

INVOCATION
O, Lord, we thank you for those who have gone before us, whose service has enriched our lives today. We remember especially the life of Christopher Harris Williams. We thank you for the members of his family who are here today as a legacy of his life. We ask your blessings on this program as we honor him. In Jesus' name, Amen.

 

PLEDGE TO THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES

PLEDGE TO THE TEXAS FLAG

SALUTE TO THE CONFEDERATE PLEDGE

 

CALL TO REMEMBRANCE
Nothing is ended until it is forgotten. That which is held in memory still endures and is real. We are grateful for the records of the past which bring inspiration and courage. We are appreciative of the lessons taught by Memorials to events and deeds of long ago. We pray that our lives may always be patterned to give such devotion and service as did our forefathers of this great Southland. We the members of the E. S. RUGELEY CHAPTER, UNITED DAUGHTERS OF THE CONFEDERACY, now dedicate this marker in grateful recognition--of the noble service of CHRISTOPER HARRIS "KIT" WILLIAMS
, Confederate Hero of Matagorda County, Texas.

ROBERT ABNER PARTAIN

HENRY FORTENBERRY

ABEL HEAD PIERCE

JONATHAN PIERCE
 

May this marker be blessed. May it remind all who pause not only of the noble deeds of this Confederate Hero, but of the continuing need for unselfish service. From this moment of dedication, we trust there may come inspiration for broader vision and finer service.

 

DEDICATION

DEDICATION


Not for fame or fortune;

Not for place or rank;

Not lured by ambition;

Or goaded by necessity;

But in simple

Obedience to duty

As they understood it,

These men suffered all,

Sacrificed all

Dared all--and died.

 
Who Will Tend Their Graves ?


       Who will tend their graves? Who will watch over their mortal remains? Who will make sure faithful soldiers are remembered?
       As we would not be forgotten when we are gone, let us not forget.
       Let us honor the sacrifices of the confederate soldiers. They walked dusty trails in the heat of the summer and muddy rutted roads when it rained. They huddled closely in their trenches and nearly froze during that terrible winter at Petersburg . Without proper food and clothing, in sickness and in health, they fought even when all seemed lost.
       We will remember the cause for which they stood. From the red clay fields of Georgia to the hills of Virginia and North Carolina they fought for the rights of the states to govern their own affairs. From west Texas to the palmettos of South Carolina they stood for hearth and home. They fought for their rights as their forefathers did in the first American Revolution.
       Today, we also remember the faith that sustained them. Many came from godly homes and churches. The Bible was their textbook and their prayer books were well worn.
       They all fought and many died as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. Let us never forget their faith.

       We also remember the homes from which they came. They had fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, sweethearts and wives, and little ones who never knew their daddies. Each night at suppertime the vacant chair daily reminded them how great was their loss.

       If those who lie mute in their graves could speak, they might say: Thank you, friends, for finding my mortal remains. Thank you for caring enough to honor my comrades and me. I see you now with hearts joined across America with prayers on your lips and each of us in your hearts. How can we thank you?

 

POEM

The marching armies of the past

Along our Southern plains,

Are sleeping now in quiet rest

Beneath the Southern rains.

 

The bugle call is now in vain

To rouse them from their bed;

To arms they'll never march again ---

They are sleeping with the dead.

 

No more will Shiloh' plains be stained

With blood our heroes shed,

Nor Chancellorsville resound again

To our noble warrior's tread.

 

For them no more shall reveille

Sound at the break of dawn,

But may their sleep peaceful be

Till God's great judgement morn.

 

We bow our heads in solemn prayer

For those who wore the gray,

And clasp again their unseen hands

On our Memorial Day. -----

POEM

"Conquered, we are not degraded,

Southern laurels have not faded;

Mourn, but not in shame, for Dixie!

Deck your heroes' graves with garlands,

Till the echo comes from far lands,

Honor to the dead of Dixie!"

 

 

POEM

"May the names if the dead that we cherish

Fill memory's cup to the brim;

May the laurels they've won never perish,

Nor star of their glory grow dim.

May the States of the South never sever,

But the champions of freedom e're be;

May they flourish Confederates forever,

The boast of the brave and the free.

 

 

 

 

TRIBUTES

C. H. Williams - Carolee Moore

R. A. Partain - Lester Wallace

Henry Fortenberry - Lila Fortenberry

A. H. Pierce - Steven Armour

J. E. Pierce - Lee Hall Pierce

 

PLACING THE WREATH
Join me as we place this wreath in honor of our Confederate ancestors.

 

This wreath is a perfect circle and we place it as an act of remembrance. As this circle cannot be divided, it reminds us of our hope of eternal life. May we one day be joined with those whom we have loved.

Amen.

 

BENEDICTION

May we go from this place, O Lord, with a strong determination to shoulder our share of the responsibilities in memorializing those who have gone before. Through Christ, our Savior, we pray. Amen


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

  • Kenneth Thames, Philip H. Parker VFW Post 2438, not only researched the service of all five of the soldiers, he ordered the markers and took care of the details of having the markers set.

  • Philip H. Parker VFW Post 2438 has provided the funds to pay for the setting of Mr. Fortenberry's marker. E. S. Rugeley Chapter 542 provided the funds for the setting of the Kit Williams marker. Family members from the families of Robert Partain, A. H. Pierce and J. E. Pierce paid for those settings.

  • Taylor Bros. Funeral Home provided storage for the markers until they were placed.

  • Hawley Cemetery Association board members provided refreshments for us today.

  • Ona Lea Pierce, Matagorda County Historical Commission Chairman, helped with much of the planning. She contacted Pierce family members, coordinated the refreshments, had the Partain Cemetery cleaned and worked at Hawley as well.

  • Hawley Cemetery Association and the family of R. A. Partain are responsible for cleaning and fencing Partain Cemetery and repairing the existing markers.

  • Many of our UDC members had other obligations and could not be here today. I want to thank Freda, Jackie and Donna for all they have done. Their dedication to UDC and their experience is invaluable.

 


 

Copyright 2009 - Present by
E. S Rugeley Chapter 542 United Daughters of the Confederacy
All rights reserved

This page was created
April 28, 2008
This page was updated
Apr. 28, 2009

HOME