Confederate Memorial (Romney, West Virginia)
|Confederate Memorial Association
Hampshire County, West Virginia
The Confederate Memorial in 2010.
|For the men of Hampshire County who died fighting for the Confederate States of America in the American Civil War.|
|Unveiled||September 26, 1867|
Indian Mound Cemetery
Romney, West Virginia, United States
|Designed by||Gaddes Brothers of Baltimore, Maryland|
|"The Daughters of Old Hampshire Erect This Tribute of Affection to Her Heroic Sons Who Fell in Defence of Southern Rights."|
The Confederate Memorial (also referred to as the First Confederate Memorial) is a memorial in Indian Mound Cemetery in Romney, West Virginia. The memorial commemorates residents of Hampshire County who died during the American Civil War fighting for the Confederate States of America. The memorial was sponsored by the Confederate Memorial Association, which formally dedicated the monument on September 26, 1867. It is thought to be the first memorial structure erected to memorialize the Confederate dead in the United States. Romney also claims to have undertaken the first public decoration of Confederate graves on June 1, 1866.
Confederate Memorial Association
Early in the spring of 1866, a meeting took place at the Romney residence of former Confederate Colonel Robert White during which the idea to memorialize the men of Hampshire County who had died fighting in the Military of the Confederate States of America was conceived. Present at this engagement were White, his brother Christian Streit White and his brother's future wife Elizabeth "Bessie" Jane Schultze, and his sister Frances Ann White, who later married Samuel Lightfoot Flournoy. Following this meeting, interest in such a memorialization of the Confederate dead grew among the residents of Romney. Later in the spring of 1866, a group of Hampshire County women held a public meeting and organized the Confederate Memorial Association to honor the men who had died fighting for the Confederacy and to provide financial aid to their families. At this public meeting, the association appointed officers, adopted a constitution, and selected committees to arrange for the decoration of Confederate interments.[a]
The populace of Hampshire County had been overwhelmingly pro-Confederate in its sympathies during the American Civil War, but the county now lay within Unionist West Virginia. West Virginia's first state constitution disenfranchised Confederate veterans and partisans and forbade them from holding elected office. In spite of these impediments and risking the ire of Unionist authorities, members of the Confederate Memorial Association and their families marched through Romney to Indian Mound Cemetery and formally decorated the gravestones at the interment sites of Confederate dead on June 1, 1866. Few Hampshire County residents participated in this first decoration of the Confederate graves fearing reproach from Federal authorities, and others who had pledged to take part in the decoration later refused to do so for this reason.
This adornment in Indian Mound Cemetery is purportedly the first such public decoration of Confederate burials, although this claim is disputed by other cities in the Southern United States. It is thought that this decoration set a precedence that spread throughout the South during the Reconstruction Era. Relatives and loved ones of the Union dead buried in Indian Mound Cemetery also began to follow this precedent by decorating the cemetery's Union headstones.
Following the first decoration of the graves in 1866, momentum began to build for the erection of a permanent monument to the Confederate dead at Indian Mound Cemetery. The Confederate Memorial Association launched a fundraising initiative to raise money for the construction of the memorial, which consisted of a series of sewing circles, bazaars, and fairs. Further fundraising efforts were undertaken by Confederate veterans and the general public throughout Hampshire County, including entertainment shows and solicitation of funds. In addition to raising funds for the construction of the memorial, the Confederate Memorial Association was also able to provide some of the money raised to the widows and children of the Confederate dead. By October 15, 1866, the gross receipts returned to the association's treasury amounted to $1,170.91 USD, of which the Confederate Memorial Association provided $421.58 USD to the Confederate widows and orphaned children. Subsequent fundraising efforts and pubic exhibitions were undertaken until sufficient funds were raised in June 1867.
By June 6, 1867, the Confederate Memorial Association had raised the necessary funds and resolved to proceed with the selection of a monument design and the designation of a contractor for its fabrication. Confederate veterans were also closely involved in the monument's design selection process and citizens from across Hampshire County were called together to inform and select the memorial's design and inscription.
In July 1867, a committee of the Confederate Memorial Association narrowed the numerous proposals it had received for the memorial's inscription down to three finalists. The first proposed inscription spoke of Confederate soldiers as having "died in defense of what they believed to be right," while the second finalist stated "our sons and brothers, who fell as soldiers in the Confederate army." The third proposal of these finalists was adopted by the committee, which read: "The Daughters of Old Hampshire Erect This Tribute of Affection to Her Heroic Sons Who Fell in Defence of Southern Rights."
Once the design and inscription had been chosen, the association appointed committees to optate a contractor. That summer, the Confederate Memorial Association awarded a contract to the Gaddes Brothers firm of Baltimore, Maryland for the fabrication of a white Italian marble monument. The memorial was designed, sculpted, and manufactured at a cost of $1,133.63 USD. According to United Daughters of the Confederacy historian Mary Bell Foote, the words "Southern Rights" were initially omitted from the end of the memorial's inscription during its fabrication due to the "bitter" feelings in Baltimore following the American Civil War, and Federal statutes banning such monuments. After the memorial's components were packaged for shipping to Romney, the words "Southern Rights" were secretly etched into the white marble and the components were quickly boarded over and hurriedly shipped.
The memorial's components were delivered to Indian Mound Cemetery on September 14, 1867, and it was erected at its present location by male volunteers in Romney. Bob Fisher was paid $5.00 USD for raising the earthen mound around the monument's location, William Sheetz was paid $18.80 USD for building the memorial's foundation atop and the mound, and Sheetz was further paid $4.11 USD for boarding one of the Gaddes brothers at his residence during the monument's erection. Twelve days later on September 26, the Confederate Memorial was formally dedicated in a public ceremony.[b]
Location and design
The Confederate Memorial stands upon a raised mound ringed by five boxwoods within the original section of Indian Mound Cemetery, not far from within the cemetery's entrance. The memorial and its circular raised lawn are a centerpiece around which several family interment plots are located. Also adjacent to the memorial's location is the burial ground where Confederate and Union dead were buried during the American Civil War.
The Confederate Memorial is made of white Italian marble in the form of an obelisk and measures 4 square feet (0.37 m2) at its base and 12 feet (3.7 m) in height. The structure consists of two major stylized component blocks of white marble, topped by a sculpture of a cloth draped urn. Carved into the façade of the smaller top block of the memorial is a high relief that represents either Fame or an angel placing a laurel wreath upon the head of a dying soldier clasping his sword. Below on the façade of the larger block is etched the inscription: "The Daughters of Old Hampshire Erect This Tribute of Affection to Her Heroic Sons Who Fell in Defence of Southern Rights." The other three sides of the memorial contain the engraved names of 125 Hampshire County men who died for the Confederate cause. A number representing the total fallen Confederates was not included in the memorial due to remaining uncertainty at the time of the monument's construction. The memorial's foundation block bears the date of its erection, "1867."
The Confederate Memorial contains the engraved names of 125 Hampshire County men who died for the Confederate cause. These names consist of four captains, seven lieutenants (one of which was a chaplain, three sergeants, and 119 privates. Since the memorial's erection in 1867, several names of Hampshire County's Confederate dead were found to have been omitted from the memorial. These names have been included in a Confederate "roll of honor" along with those names etched in the memorial and the names of Confederate veterans. Each of these names is recited each Hampshire County Confederate Memorial Day. The following is the list of Confederate dead etched into the Confederate Memorial:
|Military rank||Inscribed names|
|Captains||G. F. Sheetz, A. Smith, G. W. Stump, J. M. Lovett|
|Lieutenants||M. Blue, J. Buzzard, J. Earsom, H. Engle, W. F. Johnson, J. N. Moorehead, F. D. Sherrard, Rev. J. S. Reese|
|Sergeants||B. W. Armstrong, J. C. Leps, G. Cheshire|
|Privates||A. T. Pugh, J. W. Park, S. Park, J. W. Poland, J. Peer, R. J. Parran, C. Parran, H. Powell, N. Pownall, J. W. Ream, G. W. Ruckman, L. Spaid, P. Stump, H. Senoff, A. Shingleton, J. Stewart, S. Swisher, E. Gaylor, M. Taylor, J. Taylor, E. P. Ward, I. Wolfe, J. Washington, M. Watkins, H. Wilson, G. Shoemaker, L. D. Shanholtzer, J. Strother, W. Unglesbee, B. Wills, J. Haines, J. F. Hass, M. Harmison, A. Hollenback, G. Hott, E. Hartley, B. Hare, –. Householder, M. V. Inskeep, J. Johnson, J. H. Johnson, T. Keely, J. Kern, S. Loy, E. Milleson, O. Milleson, S. Mohler, F. M. Myers, J. W. Marker, T. McGraw, I. Mills, J. Merritt, J. W. Pugh, O. V. Pugh, J. Kump, P. Noland, J. Rudolph, J. M. Reese, M. V. Reid, W. O. Lupton, J. Noreland, J. Starns, F. C. Sechrist, G. W. Strother, J. D. Adams, I. P. Armstrong, E. Allen, J. W. Baker, H. Baker, J. W. Barley, H. Bird, W. J. Blue, T. T. Brooks, R. Brown, J. W. Boro, I. D. Carroll, J. Cupp, J. S. Davis, J. A. Daily, J. Davy, S. Engly, J. Floury, J. Furlow, I. V. Gibson, R. C. Grace, T. T. Gross, R. Gill, J. P. Greitzner, A. Haines, J. J. Arnold, F. Abee, A. J. Baker, William Baker, J. Bumgarner, Morgan Brill, Mat Brill, G. Delaplains, J. Doughett, J. Engle, C. Garvin, G. R. Garvin, J. Hammock, T. Harrison|
In 1984, the Confederate Memorial underwent an extensive restoration to restore its original appearance. The monument had darkened due to weathering and other elements. The surfaces of the memorial were sanded and sealed for future protection. This restoration effort was funded through contributions from interested parties with a shared heritage and preexisting relationships with Indian Mound Cemetery and Confederate memorial endeavors. The names of these contributors were inscribed within the same treasurer's book used to record the memorial's inaugural contributions on June 6, 1866. The monument's restoration cost totaled $2,850 USD, far exceeding its original price to build.
Hampshire County Confederate Memorial Day
The tradition of decorating the Confederate graves in Indian Mound Cemetery has continued annually since June 1, 1866, and occurs on the first Saturday in June, which is known as Hampshire County Confederate Memorial Day or June Decoration Day. On this day, participants in the ceremony march down Main Street (U.S. Route 50) through Romney with American Civil War reenactors carrying Confederate flags. A handmade evergreen garland measuring 30 feet (9.1 m) in length is suspended from the Confederate Memorial, along with evergreen wreaths. Flowers and Confederate flags are also placed at each of the Confederate headstones. The decorations are usually placed at the memorial and upon the Confederate gravestones by reenactors. Throughout the existence of Hampshire County Confederate Memorial Day, renowned orators have been invited to speak at this decoration ceremony. In addition, a roll of honor is recited at the memorial, followed by a musket salute. Descendants of the founding members of the Confederate Memorial Association continue to participate in these traditions at the Confederate Memorial and in Indian Mound Cemetery.
The construction of the Confederate Memorial marked the beginning of a post-war revitalization for Hampshire County following the American Civil War. The memorial became a symbol of the county's restored confidence and embodied its capacity to engage in and complete concerted efforts by its residents. The citizens of Hampshire County utilized this renewed vigor to reestablish and rebuild their institutions, municipal buildings, and businesses destroyed during the war.
The memorial is also significant as it is thought to be the first monument erected to memorialize the Confederate dead in the United States. Romney's claim as having the first Confederate Memorial is disputed by Cheraw, South Carolina, as its Confederate monument was dedicated two months prior on July 26, 1867. However, its memorial omits the mention of "Confederacy," "Confederate," or "Southern."
- List of historic sites in Hampshire County, West Virginia
- Romney, West Virginia during the American Civil War
- West Virginia in the American Civil War
- Maxwell & Swisher 1897, p. 694. In their History of Hampshire County, West Virginia (1897), historians Hu Maxwell and Howard Llewellyn Swisher gathered from the Confederate Memorial Association's minute book the officers of the association: "Presidents: Mrs. Robert White, Mrs. Abraham Smith, Mrs. J. P. Wilson, Mrs. J. L. Vance, Mrs. G. W. Parsons. Vice-Presidents: Mrs. Margaret V. Taylor, Miss Miranda Taylor, Mrs. C. E. Blue, Mrs. C. S, White, Mrs. J. L. Vance, Mrs. John J. Inskeep. Secretaries: Misses Bessie J. Schultze [later Mrs. C. S, White], Tillie Kern, Mary V. Foote, Ellen Kane, Mary Heiskell, Lou McCarty. Treasurers: Mrs. J. D. Armstrong, Mrs. Michael Blue, Miss Virginia Parsons, Mrs. Julius Waddle."
- Maxwell & Swisher 1897, p. 695. At the end of their chapter "Closing Events of the War" in History of Hampshire County, West Virginia, Maxwell and Swisher give special recognition to the following individuals for their efforts in funding and erecting the Confederate Memorial, although their specific roles are not given: "Mrs. James D. Armstrong, Mrs. James N. Morehead, Misses Susie M. Pancake, Susie Poling, Louise Greitzner, Lizzie Inskeep, Lieutenant C. W. Pattie, D. W. Endler."
- Maxwell & Swisher 1897, p. 692.
- Munske & Kerns 2004, p. 137.
- Federal Writers' Project 1937, p. 65.
- "The Confederate Memorial in Indian Mound Cemetery, Romney, W. Va. and The Confederate Memorial Association", HistoricHampshire.org (HistoricHampshire.org, Charles C. Hall), retrieved November 22, 2013
- Munske & Kerns 2004, p. 136.
- Maxwell & Swisher 1897, p. 693.
- Federal Writers' Project 1937, p. 13.
- Munske & Kerns 2004, p. 138.
- Riley, Elihu S. (December 1906), "The First Confederate Monument", Book of the Royal Blue (Baltimore, Maryland: Passenger Department, Baltimore and Ohio Railroad) 10: 17–18, retrieved November 22, 2013
- Federal Writers' Project 1937, p. 66.
- Maxwell & Swisher 1897, p. 694.
- Johnson 2009, pp. 36–38.
- Johnson 2009, p. 144.
- Brannon, Selden W. (1976). Historic Hampshire: A Symposium of Hampshire County and Its People, Past and Present. Parsons, West Virginia: McClain Printing Company. ISBN 978-0-87012-236-1. OCLC 3121468. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
- Federal Writers' Project (1937). Historic Romney 1762–1937. Romney, West Virginia: Federal Writers' Project, The Town Council of Romney, West Virginia. OCLC 2006735. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
- Johnson, Kristina Dunn (2009). No Holier Spot of Ground: Confederate Monuments & Cemeteries of South Carolina. Charleston, South Carolina: The History Press. ISBN 9781596293977. OCLC 301948612. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
- Maxwell, Hu; Swisher, Howard Llewellyn (1897). History of Hampshire County, West Virginia From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present. Morgantown, West Virginia: A. Brown Boughner, Printer. OCLC 680931891. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
- Munske, Roberta R.; Kerns, Wilmer L.; The Hampshire County 250th Anniversary Committee (2004). Hampshire County, West Virginia, 1754-2004. The Hampshire County 250th Anniversary Committee. ISBN 978-0-9715738-2-6. OCLC 55983178. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
- Media related to Confederate Memorial (Romney, West Virginia) at Wikimedia Commons
- HistoricHampshire.org Confederate Memorial website