Friday, October 2, 2015

Prattville Dragoons Camp Meeting for September 2015 - Confederate Memorial Park

Camp 1524 had another outstanding monthly meeting on Thursday September 10th with approximately 45 people present. Confederate Memorial Park Director Bill Rambo  shared the history of the Park and Old Soldier’s Home from its inception in 1902 until the present. Rambo kept everyone entertained with laughter throughout while educating all in the park’s history.

The Alabama Confederate Soldiers' Home was founded by Capt. Jefferson Falkner and Thomas Goode Jones (a post-War governor of Alabama), creating the United Confederate Veterans camp in Montgomery expressly to establish the Confederate Veterans Home.  The first cabin was built around 1902, the E.L. Moore cottage and a number of additional buildings were also constructed as the first veterans moved into the homes.  There was such an overwhelming response by Confederate veterans wishing to move there that Falkner decided in 1903 to hand over administration of the Home to the state. There were six commandants in the history of the Home, the first three were former Confederate officers, and the last three were doctors.

There was a 25 bed hospital which was full from the outset and it included a screened porch around the lower floor where additional beds could be situated.  Each cottage slept eight, two in each bedroom, and all had the same floorplan. A mess hall was constructed which had a dairy barn on its lower level. Memorial Hall was a central building constructed of massive timbers supporting the porch and housed a library, commandant's office, a special room for the United Daughter of the Confederacy visitors, an auditorium upstairs.  The Hall was the scene of the "last casualty of the War" when a Yankee veteran visited the Home and after fraternizing with some of the Confederate veterans attempted to toast General Sherman when one of the octogenarian Confederate veterans rose and attempted to punch the Yankee, fell down the porch stairs, breaking a few ribs and subsequently died of pneumonia while convalescing in the hospital.

In 1939 the last widows were moved from the Home to Montgomery and when the local lumber mill closed, the surrounding community of Mountain Creek disappeared.  Between 1939 and the 1960s, the state was supposed to care for the old Home through the Forest and Soil Conservation Department but it fell into disrepair including trees growing in the cemeteries. Near 300 Confederate veterans are buried in the two cemeteries, originally staked by wooden markers which were replaced by stone markers placed by the UDC starting in 1912.  In 1925, Capt. Falkner's remains were moved to the Cemetery #2.  In 1965, Governor Wallace established Confederate Memorial Park which continues today.  The park includes a Sons of Confederate Veterans research library. A museum was completed in 2001 and opened in 2007 after resistance from Auburn University historians who sought to stifle the Southern perspective presented in the museum as 90% of the text found in the museum are letters, words from actual Confederate veteran residents. Governor Riley finally ordered the museum opened.  The museum is divided into period rooms, the War period including the Battle of Selma which includes an historic Spencer repeating rifle and, a veterans period room. 

Four new members to the Dragoons were sworn in including Wayne Killingsworth, Daniel Killingsworth, Cody Simon and David Saffold. Several more applications are still pending at National SCV Headquarters.  More applications were also received from potential members and assistance provided to others with the application process.

Commander Waldo announced the work day at Indian Hill Cemetery Saturday the 12th and other important camp business and also announced a trial meeting at a different venue in October or November.
Commander Waldo, Wayne and Daniel Killingsworth, Cody Simon and David Saffold

Bill Rambo

No comments:

Post a Comment