Sunday, March 30, 2014

Townley Alabama Man Saves Civil War-era Cemetery

The following account was provided by the Alabama Division SCV Chief of Heritage Defense Cherokee Brasher from the "Daily Mountain Eagle", Jasper AL:

For years, the final resting place of Private J.R. Townley was lost under a pile of weeds.

The property on Highway 124 was previously owned by Louie Self’s grandfather. When Self bought the land in 1997 and began clearing it, he uncovered approximately a dozen graves.

Most were marked by simple rocks. The few headstones that remained date back to the mid 1800s.

Self was particularly interested in Townley’s grave. After vandals broke his original marker, Self glued it together the best he could.

He also contacted the Major John C. Hutto Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp in Jasper and applied for a new grave stone through the Veteran’s Administration.

“It took five years because there was four J.R. Townley’s in the Civil War. It took them this long to find out which one he was,” Self said.

A dedication ceremony and memorial service was held for Townley on Sunday, March 16.

Members of Sons of Confederate Veterans camps in Walker and Winston counties were among the participants.

A biography of Townley’s military service was also presented to those in attendance.

Townley was born Feb. 20, 1834, and enlisted in Company A of the 13th Battalion, Alabama Partisan Rangers on Sept. 6, 1862, in Jasper.

The battalion served as scouts and pickets in Mississippi and east Louisiana from December 1862 to June 1863.

Townley died March 13, 1863. His family retrieved his body and brought it back to Jasper for burial.

The cemetery in which he was laid to rest was never registered with local or state authorities.

That has now been rectified. Four new graves have been added to Self Cemetery in recent years, two of which were for veterans of the Vietnam era.

A decoration day is held each year.

Graves without headstones are now marked with white crosses. With no names available, Self has no way to contact any relatives of the deceased.

A small church that Self built near the cemetery stores the flowers that he puts out himself in memory of those whose names have been lost to history.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Confederate History and Heritage Month Observance Flag Setting

On Saturday morning March 29th, the Prattville Dragoons will observe the upcoming Alabama Confederate History and Heritage Month of April by setting Confederate Battle Flags at the graves of the Confederate veterans laid to rest at the Prattville Oak Hill Cemetery off Wetumpka Street.  Adjutant Wayne Sutherland recently completed a project to transfer the plat showing all the names of those laid to rest at Oak Hill from hand written documents into an Excel format for digitization and safe keeping and ease of revision and replication.  This is an annual event to honor these brave and noble deceased Confederate heroes observed on the last Saturday before the month of April.  Members and friends of the Dragoons will assemble at 8am and, after enjoying some fellowship and perhaps a doughnut or some coffee cake, flags will be set at all the Confederate graves in this historic city cemetery.  Come join us!  It is encouraging to often see flags set at last year's event still flying at many of the graves.  This is the first of many events planned for this Sesquicentennial Confederate History and Heritage month. On March 12th, 2014 members of the Alabama Division Sons of Confederate Veterans met with Governor Robert Bentley for the signing of a Proclamation proclaiming the month of April as Confederate History and Heritage month.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Alabama Division Sons of Confederate Veterans I-65 Confederate Flag News

A work crew assembled at the I-65 Flag Site on Saturday March 22 and worked on several projects to improve the area. The primary task was to clear the fence line of vegetation that was hindering the view of the flag and would have only gotten worse if left unattended. This was accomplished and the results were a much more open view of our site from the Interstate. Other tasks were also worked and Dragoons will again assemble this coming week for two other jobs that need to be completed.  The work crew consisted of Prattville Dragoons who are also members of the I-65 Flag Committee plus some extra hands. The workers for this day were Billy Parker, James Spears, Jeffery Jones, Danny Smyth, Jeffrey’s grandson Trey and I-65 Flag Committee Chairman Larry Spears. A big Thank You to these gentlemen who worked diligently to improve the site, advance the Cause and honor Confederate heritage.  Keep ‘er flying!
Dragoons Clear Brush from the I-65 Flag Site
Larry Spears and Billy Parker
Replacing the I-65 Confederate Battle Flag

Monday, March 24, 2014

Prattville Dragoons Camp Meeting for March 2014 - Part 3 (Officer's Reports)

Dragoon Officer Reports for the 2013-2014 year were presented by the Commander, Communications Officer and Treasurer at the March camp meeting.  Commander Stuart Waldo with Adjutant Wayne Sutherland's help provided a summary of the camp membership including the loss of two deceased Dragoons with the addition of three new SCV members and the transfer of two additional into the camp. Dragoons stepping into leadership rolls this year include Color Sergent Brent Jenks, Quartermaster David Brantley and Camp Historian Sam Reid.   Participation in community events included entries in the Prattville July 4th and Christmas parades and the Vida Christmas parade as well as the recent Millbrook Mardi Gras parade where the Dragoons are always well received.  The Dragoons joined the Prattville Chamber of Commerce.  Informational and recruiting booths were manned at the Prattville Cityfest and the gun shows at the Montgomery Shriner's Temple. Dragoons largely comprise the I-65 Flag Committee including Chairman Larry Spears.  Camp 1524 funded donations to the First White House and the Alabama Archives for flag preservation.  School outreach included distribution of AL Division Sesquicentennial educational posters and presenting JROTC Hunley awards.  Confederate cemetery and grave preservation is an important responsibility for the SCV and Dragoon members participated in the Rasberry family cemetery renovations, Prattville Oak Hill Cemetery plat digitization into an Excel spreadsheet file, Larry Miller's continued care for the Dragoon monument at the Prattville Primary School, tree removal at the Mt.Zion Cemetery and mobilization for the renovation of the Prattville Indian Hills cemetery.  Community education and information included annual Robert E. Lee birthday announcements in the local Progress papers and Google ads.  The Dragoons have websites on Google blogspot, Facebook (managed by Quartermaster David Brantley) and Twitter.  1st Lt. Harold Grooms has spearheaded Dragoon camp meeting article submissions to the Prattville Progress. Communications Officer Crowley continues to offer his service as Jefferson Davis including presentations to the Shelby County Historical Society and the UDC.  Of course the annual Christmas Social and camp picnic are highlights of the social calendar.

The annual Dixie butt fundraiser was another success providing funds for the camps numerous activities.  Treasurer Billy Leverette's report enumerated all the projects which were sponsored including the annual $500 Archives donation for historical Confederate flag preservation, Robert E. Lee and Nathan Bedford Forrest advertisements in the local Progress papers as well as and Google ad campaigns.  Expenses for the newspaper publication include printer ink and postage.  A donation was made to the Memphis Citizens to Save our Parks to keep the Charge to defend the Confederate soldiers good name and heritage and preserve the city parks historical monuments and naming.  A donation was also made to the First White House for their latest gasolier preservation project.  Chamber of Commerce membership dues, Cityfest festival space for the Dragoon informational and recruiting table and parade entries and expenses rounded out the report.  Communication Officer Tyrone Crowley's report provided detailed newsletter expense information for the costs of the postage as well as the toner cartridges.  Tyrone again thanked Treasurer Leverette for their generous contribution of a Brother printer and paper which has reduced the potential costs for the camp newsletter publication.  Many members also receive their newsletter electronically thru email which reduces postage costs.  112 copies of the Camp Dispatch are sent every month either by mail or email to members and others.  Tyrone received a round of applause for his hard work creating a great camp newsletter. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Prattville Dragoons Camp Meeting for March 2014 - Part 2 (The War for Southern Independence - Clash of Civilizations)

The Guest Speaker for the Dragoons March camp meeting was Mr. Mark Thomey who presented a discussion entitled "The War for Southern Independence - Clash of Civilizations" or "They Just Ain't Like Us".  Even to this day, 150 years after the ceasing of hostilities, the differences persist. This is largely due to the origins of the people from whom these peoples descended.  The Yankees story begins with the Puritans and Pilgrims of Plymouth MA, bearing in mind Thanksgiving was celebrated years earlier at the first permanent settlement in the New World, Jamestown, VA).  The puritan community was a theocratic oppressive society and residents committed countless atrocities against the native Americans and against those within their own community - reference "Moby Dick" and "The Scarlet Letter".  They were a rigid condescending people, intolerant of those not like them and they believed they had a divine mission to convert those to their way of thinking and this belief persists today. They explored religious concepts but instead of affirming and reinforcing the unchanging scriptures in the Bible, this gave rise to divergent theologies like Universalism.  They tried to tear down those who did not agree with them.  The Puritan church died out by the end of the 1600s but the Yankees continued the principles of intolerance, adopting a Hamiltonian philosophy of centralized government to micromanage business and people's lives. 

This philosophy contrasted to that of the people  living below the Potomac River.  The Southerners came from Ireland, Scotland, Wales as well as France and Spain.  Because of the diverse European influence, our ancestors possessed a different world view.  The South, although Protestant, adopted almost a medieval catholic hierarchic social structure but because of the strong adoption of the foundation of Christian charity, they minimized class envy and conflict. They developed an independent freeholder society and adopted a Jeffersonian political philosophy of dispersed power structure and an agrarian society. In schools today they teach of a balance of power but only refer to the judicial, legislative and executive branches of the federal government and not the balance between federal central power and the states and individuals.  The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1709 by Jefferson and Madison laid out the concept that the people and the states have the right and power of nullification and was the response to the Alien and Sedition Act of this same era which forbade anyone from saying or writing anything against the President of the United States resulting in the arrest of many people.  This was the beginning of the struggle between Southern and Northern ideals and beliefs, between the Southern agrarian culture and that of Northern industrialism.  An agrarian culture is one of an overall worldview with fixed limitations on government powers and a belief and appreciation in nature as God's creation.

After the War of 1812 and the Era of Good Feelings, the South desired to be left alone and for the government to abide by the Constitution.  They didn't go looking for federal monies for developmental and industrialization projects and simply wanted the federal government to provide for the national defense and foreign diplomacy.  But the North wanted tariffs against imported goods to protect their burgeoning industries.  The Tariff of Abominations of 1828 resulted in SC nullifying the law and President Jackson threatened to invade the state to enforce the tariff collection.  The SC governor refused to back down and after cooler heads prevailed, most of the Tariff was largely eliminated.  The South opposed tariffs because it forced them to purchase more expensive goods from the Northern states and also created a conflict with their European trading partners with whom they desired free trade for their cotton and agricultural products. The tax money from the tariffs also invariably found its way exclusively to fund Northern infrastructure and industrial projects like canals, rail and gas works.  Then came the abolitionist movement who invented their won morality without Biblical foundations who condemned Southern culture as corrupt and debauch but, this was in reality a small movement and didn't find any mainstream support until after the start of the War for Southern Independence.  In fact, their beliefs were so unpopular that thousands of Union troops deserted after Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation as they believed they were fighting for the equally preposterous "preservation of the Union", ignoring that they were attempting to force the states into what was created as a voluntary Union. One wonders why the abolitionists weren't satisfied that they were rid of the evil slave holding states.  In fact, the North wanted to subjugate the South to what the North desired including confiscatory taxes.  The loss by the Confederacy resulted in the South being conquered and ruled by foreigners who did not share our values and beliefs.  While Southerners were and are of a self-sustaining tolerant easy going culture, the Northerners were and are an intolerant peoples unhappy unless they are making the world over into their own image. Reference "The Southern Essays of Richard Weaver" including "The South and the American Union".

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Prattville Dragoons Camp Meeting for March 2014 - Part 1

The Dragoons held their monthly camp meeting on Thursday March 13th at the Shoney's on Cobbs Ford Road in Prattville.  A reminder calling service was used for the first time with good success a number of members indicated it served it's intended purpose and prompted their attendance; thirty people were present.  Chaplain Tom Snowden opened the meeting with an invocation and Color Sergent Brent Jenks led those congregated in pledges to the US, Alabama and Confederate flags.  The Charge to the Sons of Confederate Veterans was then recited.  Special guests included Butch and Pat Godwin, Charles Kee and George Denmark from Selma who were recognized for their generous efforts in felling some old trees at the Mt.Zion cemetery keeping these from damaging Confederate grave markers and saving the Dragoons considerable expense in alternate service providers. Recognition certificates were presented to these fine compatriots by Communications Officer Tyrone Crowley and Commander Stuart Waldo.  Adjutant Wayne Sutherland was also recognized for his tireless work digitizing the Prattville Oak Hill Cemetery grave plat into an Excel spreadsheet for permanent archiving and for use at the annual flag setting to commemorate Confederate History and Heritage Month.  As our special guests and the featured speaker were driving from some distance, the agenda was revised to allow these portions of the program first and allow for their departure before the business portion of the camp meeting.  Upcoming events were announced followed by the elections for the slate of camp officers.  Reports from the Commander, Communications Officer and Treasurer were then presented.  Additional announcements included an invitation for camp WWII or Korean War veterans to be recognized by the UDC at the upcoming Confederate Memorial Day program at the Alabama State capitol on April 28th.  Personalized embroidered dress shirts were offered for sale from Sew Fine Embroidery of Tallassee.  Included with the agenda was a flyer for "Defend with a Ten" initiative encouraging everyone to donate to the legal struggles to preserve the Confederate parks in Memphis from revisionist activists seeking to remove monuments and even graves and rename parks in that city in an attempt to diminish the honorable history of the Confederate defenders there. The SCV closing followed by a Benediction offered by Chaplain Snowden concluded the camp meeting. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Upcoming Events Highlighted in the Prattville Dragoons SCV Camp 1524 Dispatch Newsletter

Upcoming Events
Confederate Memorial Park "Living History" Day – 4-5 April 2014.  Excellent educational opportunity for parents and children, and this year there will even be a skirmish on Saturday 5 April (same day as Dragoon picnic).  See for more about the Park and this event.
Dragoon Picnic, Saturday 5 April 2014, 10 am - 2 pm, at Confederate Memorial Park.  At 9 a.m. we will set flags on all 300+ Confederate graves at Confederate Memorial Park, Cemeteries 1 and 2.  Bring your children and grandchildren, who always enjoy this activity and help us finish in under an hour.  Afterwards, we will all enjoy food and fellowship at Pavilion #2, next to the Confederate Library.  Dragoons will provide paper and plasticware, BBQ and camp stew, and members are asked to bring other dishes, salads, and desserts to share.  We will have a sign-up sheet for food at the March meeting, so check with your wife.
Confederate Memorial Day at the Capitol - 28 April 2014, 10 a.m.  The United Daughters of the Confederacy is hosting the annual observance of Confederate Memorial Day on Monday, 28 April at 10 am at the Capitol Confederate Monument in Montgomery. Plans include period music, an honor guard and a speaker, but the highlight continues to be the Confederate Roll Call. A microphone is passed around the audience and each person attending is allowed to name one of his/her Confederate ancestors, and state his rank and unit.
Confederate Memorial Day at the Dragoon Monuments - 28 April 2014, 6 p.m.  This is our annual service in memory of our Confederate ancestors, held at 6 p.m. for those who may have had to work and thus missed the 10 a.m. ceremony at the Capitol and for the Prattville public to attend.  Location:  4th and Washington Streets, parking lot on west side of Prattville Primary School.
Alabama Division Annual Reunion - Athens, Alabama, 16-17 May 2014. For further information as it becomes available, go to
SCV National Reunion - Charleston, South Carolina, 16-19 July 2014. For further information as it becomes available, go to

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Prattville Dragoons Chaplains Column for March 2014

The following inspirational words were offered by Dragoons Chaplain Tom Snowden in the recent Camp Dispatch for March 2014.

Chaplain’s Column: There Is No Greater Love - John 15:12-14
            Perhaps the most intense love and protective instinct in the experience of mankind is that of parents toward their children. There is little that most mothers or fathers wouldn’t do for a baby. If an automobile posed a threat to the little one, it wouldn’t surprise us if they jumped in front of the moving vehicle without a second thought.
            Wouldn’t you like to be cared for with this kind of intensity? Well…you are. In fact, the Lord’s love toward us is far deeper and more secure than that of even the most caring parent. And what God did for us is proof. Romans 5:8 says that while we were living in disobedience, He sent His only Son to die for us on the cross.
            Think about a father giving up his child for people who choose to rebel against him. What a sacrifice and cost! Jesus's death took the place of the punishment that we deserved. If we accept this gift of salvation and decide to follow God, He no longer sees us as guilty. Instead He justifies us, makes us righteous, and changes our ultimate eternal destiny:  instead of facing an everlasting separation from Him, we will enjoy His presence eternally. Even more, almighty God adopts us as His children forever. Our heavenly Father guides, protects, and counsels us as we walk through life—and promises us that we are secure in Him throughout eternity.
            How incredible that the Creator of the universe would love you and me in this way! I hope all of you who are reading this know and experience the security of His care? The way I see it, gratitude and praise should flow from our hearts. Additionally we should love others deeply out of thankfulness for the love that we have received.
            I have always been amazed at the advice worldly people give to someone who is hurting. “When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on!” Can you see someone dangling over a cliff, holding on to a rope, and trying to tie a knot? It takes two hands to do that! Well I am just glad we have a powerful loving Father to talk to who encourages us to talk with him in prayer.
            This month we have had a tremendous number of prayer requests. It is so good to know that so many of our members believe in the power of prayer. This encourages me to pray more with love and concern for others who are in need of the Master's healing hands. I hope it will also influence others who are reading this in the same way.
Please pray for the following on our prayer list:
            1. David Brantley’s wife Jennifer                                       2. Allen Herrod
            3. John Durden                                                              4. Cecil Williamson
            5. J. J. Oakley                                                               6. James Whittington
            7. Harry Rawlingon                                                         8. Larry Miller
            9. Stan Stuckey                                                             10. Henry Howard
            11. Pat Goodwin’s Grandchildren                                     12. Brooke Stuart
            13. Mike Whorton’s Wife - Joanie                        14. Wayne Sutherland
            15. Benny Harris’s wife Glenda
Yours In Christ
Tom Snowden, Chaplain