Saturday, December 31, 2016

Pigeon Forge TN - Old Mill

Spent the Christmas holidays in Pigeon Forge with my family and for lunch one day we went to the Old Mill Restaurant.  The Old Mill has two restaurants, a forging workshop, a pottery store (for pottery made on the premises) and of course the grist mill with everything from flour to grits offered in their country store.  After enjoying a delicious country lunch of fried catfish, okra, corn fritters, mashed potatoes and, corn chowder we looked around a little and found these educational displays (below) providing the history of the Old Mill area. The first was just outside the Old Mill Restaurant and and has two panes, one entitled "A Civil War Secret" and the second "Antebellum Tennessee: A State Divided". The former detailed the history of the Old Mill during the War for Southern Independence indicating that the Pigeon Forge area was occupied by Union forces thru a period of the War and that at one time uniforms were made in the facility as the mill owner (John Sevier Trotter) supported the North as apparently did most of the residents of Sevier with less than 5% supporting secession as they had no trade interests with the Northern industries/factories and no plantations which were affected by the changing Northern tax and trade policies which fueled the Southern states secession.  The son of the mill owner William Trotter actually fought as a Captain in the Union Army and survived the War but died in 1865 of disease.  The display provided further statistics such as the number of Tennesseans who fought for the Confederacy (approx 180,000) and the Union (approx 50,000) and that Tennessee was the last state to secede from the Union and join the Confederacy. More battles were fought in Tennessee than any other state except Virginia.

The second display was outside the country store and gave the history of the Old Mill which is on the National Register of Historic Places.  The Old Mill was part of a grant of land made to Mordecai Lewis in 1810 who served as a judge and coroner in Sevier County.  Following his death, his children built a mill on the river here in 1830.  Iron ore was also mined here and provided material for a forging operation.  The post office was located in the mill and it became the focal point for the area farmers to gather to share news.  In 1849 John Sevier Trotter bought the Mill and named in the Trotter Mill.  In 1859 a bridge was built across the Pigeon River and a number of homes were built along the river bank. During the War, uniforms were made for the occupying Union soldiers at the mill but leather shoes were also made for the Confederate Home Guard and a hospital was even set up on one floor of the mill to treat wounded from the battles.  In 1875 a huge flood wiped out the bridge and damaged the mill.  The mill was refitted as a flour mill in 1885 and a grain room built where the general store now stands before another flood caused damage in the community including destroying the bridge in 1920.  The mill and its wheel was used for electricity generation for the small community from 1921 thru 1933.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Prattville Dragoons SCV Camp 1524 Salvation Army Kettle Bell Ringing

On a cool clear Saturday 10 December, members of Camp 1524 participated in the Salvation Army Kettle Bell Ringing at Winn Dixie in Prattville to raise money for this worthy charity. Many thanks to compatriot Karl Wade who suggested this community service project and organized the volunteers into shifts.  The kettle ringing is the primary fundraiser for the great work that the Salvation Army does including community shelters and kitchens and disaster relief all advancing a Christian message of giving. The kettle the Dragoons manned on December 10th raised over $1405 in donations, a fantastic total. Over 85% of donations made to the Salvation Army go directly to needy beneficiaries. 

Pictured below are Wayne Sutherland, Louis Turner, Larry Spears, Edward Morgan, Bill Branch, Stuart Waldo, Bill Myrick and Karl Wade. Also participating but not pictured was Ryan King. Thanks to all who participated. This was a great way to get in the spirit of the season as we met many gracious, friendly and generous members of the Prattville community who cheerfully donated or at least gave us a smile and a "Merry Christmas!”

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Prattville Dragoons Christmas Social 2016

Mrs. Cathie Leverette was kind enough to be our roving photographer at our Christmas social on Friday December 9. Just follow the link below and you should be able to see all the pictures she took. Thank you Cathie for sharing these with us! 
 Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1524 had over 60 attending their Christmas Social and a most joyful time was had by all. The event was held at the beautiful Buena Vista antebellum mansion which had holiday greenery decorating the exterior. The catered meal was furnished by Smokin S restaurant and included smoked turkey, dressing, sweet potato casserole and green bean casserole along with desserts and beverages.  Chaplain Tom Snowden led everyone in singing Christmas carols and also sang himself.  1st Lt. Harold Grooms’ Red Neck Christmas was hysterical especially with Harold dressed in his overalls and carrying a shotgun to dress the part. General Lee egg nog was made again by Tyrone and Carol Crowley with ingredients furnished by the camp officers.  Just good ole Southern socializing during the social hour, dinner and afterward was also a highlight of the evening. Thanks to Division Commander Jimmy Hill for attending as well as Division 2nd Lt. Commander Randall Hughey and Brigade Commander Butch Godwin. The Dragoons also welcomed guests from the Henry Semple camp, the Tallassee camp and other camps. Jean Bradley, President of the Cradle of Confederacy Chapter, UDC and her daughter were also in attendance.  Quartermaster Myrick and his wife provided the pretty table centerpieces which were drawn as doorprizes along with nice gifts including books, stuffed animals, pictures and a knife set. 

Enjoy the photos compliments of Treasurer Leverette's wife Cathie and have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Carol Crowley Mixing the General Lee Eggnog

1st Lt Grooms and Bill Branch

Commander Waldo and Karl Wade

Those Enjoying the Evening in Period Dress

Montgomery's Philip Davis with the Dragoons Newest Member

Add caption

1st Lt Grooms 

Foyer as Guests Arrive

Officers of the Prattville Dragoons

Guests in the Parlor

Banquet Supper Line

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Dragoons Participate in Vida Community Christmas Parade

Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1524 Prattville Dragoons participated in the unique Christmas Parade in the small, serene town of Vida in Autauga county on Saturday 17 December. The parade was a fantastic success with many entries including several local politicians, fire and EMS, classic cars and homemade floats. There was a delicious meal for parade participants served in the Vida Community Center after the parade including camp stew cooked in a large cast iron pot outside over an open fire, smoked pork butt and the fixins and, even a large assortment of homemade desserts.  

Pictured below with the camp Christmas banner are 2nd Lt. Commander George Jenks, Karl Wade, Bill Gill, Don Drasheff, Ryan King, James Spears and Commander Stuart Waldo. Compatriot Chris Booth rode with his wife, Judge Joy Booth and Tyrone Crowley arrived too late to participate due to another Christmas related obligation he had that day.  Dragoon James Spears, our camp's World War II vet helped carry the banner the entire length of the parade route along with 1st Lt Jenks.  Karl Wade rode in the Commander's Charger which was flying a couple of Confederate Battle flags.  Bags of candy and hundreds of SCV coins and mini-Battle flags were handed out to the spectators lining CR-19 thru the community. 

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

SCV Camp 1524 in the Prattville Christmas Parade 2016

The Dragoons participated in the Prattville Christmas parade Friday night December 2 with a lively group of about 20 members and family. We were very well received, as usual, and the most exciting time of the evening was probably when a spontaneous cheer arose from the very large crowd on Main St. as we approached with flags flying proudly in the breeze and the cheer continued for a great distance as we continued on the route. The crowd of spectators was huge and crowded onto the road frantically screaming for candy.  Many specifically asked for our usual mini-Battle flags and SCV coins which we were forced to withhold this event due to special rules.  Member James Spears, at age 89 and a WWII veteran, insisted on carrying the banner (with compatriot Louis Turner) to lead our procession and walked the entire route. Dragoon Ryan King stood on the back of the float waving a 3 X 5 Battle Flag from side to side and yelling "Merry Christmas."  Commander Waldo drove and his family rode in the truck pulling the trailer float which was adorned with a Christmas tree, lights and tinsel.  Adjutant Sutherland and Comms Officer Larry Spears walked along the side of the truck greeting spectators and acting to move them clear of the truck and trailer.  Other members were just as spirited and dedicated to showing our colors including Color Sgt Edward Morgan, his son and mother along with Tyrone Crowley who rode the float.  1st Lt Grooms, SCV compatriot Shannon Fontaine, Dragoon Bill Gill and of course Quartermaster Myrick walked along the float handing out candy and showing Christmas cheer. We were mobbed with children asking for candy, adults saluting us and shaking hands and cries of encouragement and thanks for our participation could be heard.  The Dragoons conducted themselves as Southern ladies and gentlemen and were extremely pleased with the reception we received.  The parade ended all too soon and everyone enjoyed feeding off the enthusiasm of the biggest crowd any of us could remember in this parade. A grand way to kick off the Christmas holiday season. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Prattville Dragoons Christmas Parade Float Preparations

Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1524 fielded an entry in this season's Prattville Christmas parade.  So the morning of the parade, a number of Dragoons and family gathered to help assemble our float which consists of an arrangement of historical flags from the period of the War Between the States as well as a Christmas tree in the center of the trailer decorated with tinsel and lights and more tinsel and lights hung down both sides of the trailer.  Communications Officer Larry Spears and his father James Spears, Quartermaster Bill Myrick, Color Sgt Edward Morgan and his mother, and compatriots Tyrone Crowley and Bill Gill met downtown to help decorate the float.  Edward helped pull the float to the parade start area after storing the trailer for the week.  Quartermaster Myrick constructed the flag and the tree stands and provided the hay which is set down the center of the trailer and provides seating for those riding on the float. The Dragoons' float did not win an award but it looked very good lighted up in the darkness during the parade and decorating the float was an enjoyable activity for those members who participated. 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Autauga County Cemetery Tour of November 19, 2016 - Part 6

The last stop on the Autauga county area historic cemetery tour on Saturday November 19th, 2016 was Liberty Baptist Church.  Prattville Dragoons members Tyrone Crowley, Larry Spears, Bill Myrick and Bill Gill attended this enjoyable and educational field trip.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Autauga County Cemetery Tour of November 19, 2016 - Part 5

Four members of Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1524 attended a tour of Autauga county area historic cemeteries on Saturday November 19, 2016 including Tyrone Crowley, Larry Spears, Bill Myrick and Bill Gill.  The following are photographs of Myrick Chapel.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Autauga County Cemetery Tour of November 19, 2016 - Part 4

Pratville Dragoons Tyrone Crowley, Larry Spears, Bill Myrick and Bill Gill attended a tour of Autauga county area cemeteries on Saturday November 19th, 2016.  Included in the tour were the cemeteries at Confederate Memorial Park in Marbury.  These cemeteries are those where the Dragoons place Confederate Battle flags in memory of the over three hundred Confederate veterans interred there each April as part of Confederate Memorial Day and Confederate History and Heritage Month observances.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Autauga County Cemetery Tour of November 19, 2016 - Part 3

Prattville Dragoons members Tyrone Crowley, Larry Spears, Bill Myrick and Bill Gill attended a tour of Autauga County historical cemeteries on November 19, 2016.   The following are photographs from the Marbury Cemetery.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Commander's Column for December 2016

If you are like me, you breathed a sigh of relief when the election cycle reached its culmination and a new course was perhaps set for the country.  Unfortunately, there have been militant reactions from both supporters and detractors of the administration-elect but I believe many feel the tide against our history and heritage may perhaps be alleviated given time and different leadership from the top down. I believe we are all hopeful that the misplaced and misguided political correctness which has led to attacks on our heritage including our symbols and monuments will be tempered or reversed. The Alabama Division Sons of Confederate Veterans has committed as an imperative the passage of the Monument Protection Bill so that blatant revisionist actions against our state’s historical vestiges honoring the heroes from all our state and country’s past conflicts will be respected and protected.  As might be expected though, some of the announced new federal executive administration appointments have already garnered vehement opposition.  While Alabamians were excited and proud that Senator Jeff Sessions will be appointed Attorney General, the announcement was met with slanderous accusations against this long service respected public servant.  Despite his defense of civil rights cases and vocal support for civil rights leaders in the state of Alabama he has been demonized as a career KKK racist for having been named after Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard and for having expressed admiration for the heroism and ideals embodied by the Americans who fought in the WBTS.  These hypocritical detractors are the same who stigmatized anyone who referred to the current President’s middle name of Hussein.  The mainstream media, despite being largely discredited during the past election cycle, continues a desperate attempt to marginalize traditional patriotic thought and values. I suppose I bristle at this dilemma as it exposes my certain un-electability with the apparent offense of my given and middle names.  (Wink.)

If there is a respite in the attacks against us for honoring our Southern and Confederate heritage, it can come none too soon but unfortunately it won’t come in time for the upcoming Prattville Christmas parade.  The Dragoons were asked to help the city present a face of unity to the community which entailed a request to forego our popular mini-Battle flag handouts along the parade route.  While some may see this as capitulating to a politically correct request, I believe Camp 1524 has made strides with community leaders in educating everyone as to our Charge and positive community mission and involvement and to further this, I believe agreeing to this request was prudent to maintain our commitment to be a positive influence and organization to our neighbors and to support the local police force.  I believe it is imperative for the camp to field an entry in this holiday event as we have in the past to make a statement that we still support and defend our heritage even in the face of a small minority of detractors and in that regard, our float will remain unchanged with the full display of historic flags.  A strong contingent of Dragoons will also be an important show of commitment to our Cause. The Christmas season is a wonderful time of the year to fraternize with compatriots at all the numerous holiday events.  We look forward to enjoyable festivities at the Christmas parades and the Christmas Social at Buena Vista.  The float preparation, walking the parade route with the Christmas lights shining and greeting everyone with holiday cheer and candy canes is always a great start to the December holiday season. The annual Christmas Social at the beautiful historic Buena Vista mansion offers another opportunity to enjoy a program with Christmas dinner, General Lee eggnog and Christmas carols sung together and played on the grand piano with friends from our camp and around the Division. It is a refreshing affirmation when we still can enjoy a fraternity of like-minded individuals such as the Prattville Dragoons.  Thank God for Sweet Home Alabama. Thank God for our country. Actively pray for our elected leaders, that they will have inspired wisdom and fortitude. Thank God for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, our families, friends and neighbors.  I hope you and yours enjoy a very Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and a wonderful holiday season.  

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Upcoming Events for Confederate Compatriots

1.) Dragoons Christmas Social - December 9th at Buena Vista including program and dinner. See last page for sign-up.
2.) Announcing the 2017 Alabama Division Education Conference 25 March 2017 in Prattville! This will be similar to the first annual Education Conference held here last year. This is a state wide event and the public, especially educators, is invited. Last year’s event was very successful and well attended. The keynote speaker for this event will be none other than the great Dr. Thomas DiLorenzo, author of The Real Lincoln. His talk will be on "Why Lincoln was Hated and Reviled by Americans North and South During His Lifetime.” Returning will also be Brion McClanahan, an expert on the Constitution and writes for the Abbeville Institute.
3.) Autauga County Cemetery Tour – December 10: Tour group will meet at Probate Office in Prattville at 8:00 am. The first stop of the tour will be at Ashbury Cemetery (Old Autaugaville), then it will travel to Ivy Creek, Hall Family Cemetery, Old Harmony, and maybe the Roy Family. The Carter-Golson Cemetery may be added as our last stop.
4.) Alabama Division trip to the Naval Museum in Columbus, Georgia on January 7th 2017 - The museum opens at 10 am Eastern Standard time. The Division will pay $1 towards the admission price. Adults $7.50, Seniors/military $6.50, $6 for students and children under 6 are free. Shannon Fontaine will be our tour guide. 
5.) Prattville Christmas Parade – December 2 – City of Prattville Christmas parade, starts at 7:00 PM
6.) Vida Christmas Parade – December 17 – City of Vida Christmas parade
7.) SCV Executive Committee Meeting – February 18, 2017 - Dalraida Methodist Church in Montgomery. The meeting will start at 9:30 am. We are also asking each camps Adjutant and Chaplain to attend the meeting.
8.) 2017 Division Reuninon – June 9th and 10th in Cullman. There will be more information coming.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Prattville Dragoons Chaplains Column for November 2016

Chaplain’s Column: The Ultimate Giver
Scripture: Romans 11:33-36

Amid all the preparations, decorations, and celebrations of the Christmas season, we need to set aside some quiet time to reflect upon the divine gifts that forever changed the course of human destiny. When that tiny baby entered our world in Bethlehem, the first of a never-ending stream of blessings was unleashed from heaven.

We generally focus on the Father’s gift: He gave His Son to be the Savior of the world (1 John 4:14). But all three members of the Trinity have a part in this divine display of generosity, which continues into eternity. Jesus came to offer His life as a ransom for many, and after His death and resurrection, He and the Father sent the Holy Spirit to live inside believers forever (Mark 10:45; John 14:16; 16:7). The Spirit in turn gives spiritual gifts to all believers and produces His marvelous fruit in their lives (1 Cor. 12:7-11; Gal. 5:22-23).

The divine presents don’t end on earth. They continue in heaven when the Lord judges Christians and grants them rewards for good works that they could never have accomplished apart from His strength (1 Cor. 3:13-14; John 15:5). All the credit and glory belong to Him, and yet He graciously showers praise on His followers (1 Cor. 4:5).

We serve a caring, generous God. Think about the nonstop outpouring of blessings from His throne, and ask, “How will I respond today?” He needs nothing from you, but He wants every part of you—not to ruthlessly control but to show you the "surpassing riches of His grace in kindness" (Eph. 2:4-7).

I am wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and please remember those on our prayer list.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Autauga County Cemetery Tour

Confederate Compatriots,

If you are interested in the early inhabitants of the Autauga county area you will enjoy this cemetery tour hosted by expert local historian Larry Caver. 


Cemetery tour of Western Autauga County, Dec. 3, 2016; tour group will meet at Probate Office in Prattville at 8:00 am. Tour will begin at Ashbury Cemetery (Old Autaugaville), then will travel to Ivy Creek, Hall Family Cemetery, Old Harmony, and time permitting the Roy Family cemetery. The Carter- Golson cemetery may be added as a last stop.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Confederate General Patrick Cleburne

Franklin, Bloody Franklin...
At 4PM on November 30th 1864, twenty thousand Confederates under the command of General John Bell Hood charged two miles of open field against heavily entrenched federals in Franklin Tennessee. In five hours of fighting the south lost six Confederate Generals. Patrick Cleburne, John Carter, John Adams, Hiram Granbury, States Rights Gist, and Otho Strahl were all killed leading their men in the assault on the Union breastworks at Franklin.
Adams was found upright in his saddle, riddled with bullets, with his horse’s legs on either side of the works. Cleburne vanished in a cloud of gun smoke and was found with a bullet in his heart. In comparison, five Confederate generals were killed at Gettysburg, three were killed at Sharpsburg, three at Chickamauga, and two at Spotsylvania. No other engagement of the war saw as much devastation in the Confederate general officer corps as did the Battle of Franklin. 
As a side note, General Cleburne was found in his socks, and some conclude that his boots were stolen. However, there is a story among Southerners told from one who witnessed it, that he gave his boots to one of his troops who needed them before the battle. Regardless, his loss was devastating to the South. We end with a fitting quote of the General's which is still as valid as when he uttered it:
"I am with the South in life or death, in victory or defeat. I believe the North is about to wage a brutal and unholy war on a people who have done them no wrong, in violation of the Constitution and the fundamental principles of government. They no longer acknowledge that all government derives its validity from the consent of the governed. They are about to invade our peaceful homes, destroy our property, and murder our men and dishonor our women. We propose no invasion of the North, no attack on them, and only ask to be left alone."

Southern Historical Society

Autauga County Cemetery Tour of November 19, 2016 - Part 2

Prattville Dragoons compatriots Tyrone Crowley, Larry Spears, Bill Myrick and Bill Gill attended a tour of Autauga County cemeteries on November 19, 2016. The following are photographs from the Pine Flat Cemetery:

Monday, November 28, 2016

Autauga County Cemetery Tour of November 19, 2016 - Part 1

Prattville Dragoons compatriots Larry Spears, Tyrone Crowley, Bill Myrick and Bill Gill attended a cemetery tour on Saturday November 19th hosted and led by Larry Caver who shared his knowledge of Autauga county history and genealogy.   Tyrone hosted the Dragoons at his home for lunch and Bill Gill drove the group around and provided Little Debbie snacks.  First stop was Pine Hill Cemetery.