Celina UDC organizes another successful Confederate grave dedication ceremony

HILHAM-Members of the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), along with help from other area organizations, recently hosted another successful Confederate grave dedication ceremony here at the Fiske Cemetery.

“The first one we had at the Turkey Town Cemetery a few months back saw more than 50 people in attendance and this one didn’t disappoint either,” local UDC president Mary Loyd Reneau said.  “It makes us feel like our work is appreciated when you get turnouts like we’ve been having.”

[nggallery ID=37]The event was organized by the William Wesley Elam UDC Chapter #2557, a local group led by Reneau that has been working diligently to preserve history by identifying as many Clay County Confederate graves as possible.

The ceremony not only honored the UDC chapter’s namesake–Pvt. William Wesley Elam, Co. F, 8th TN Inf., but also nine others buried in the cemetery:

• Capt. M.A. Christian, Co. B, 4th (Murray’s) TN Cav.;

• Pvt. Jacob Coffman, Co. B, 4th (Murray’s) TN Cav.;

• Pvt. John A. Cook, Co. B, 25th TN Inf.;

• Pvt. Ormel Fiske, Co. B 4th (Murray’s) TN Cav.;

• Pvt. Edward (Ed) Frankllin, Co. A, 13th TN Cav.;

• Ferrier George W. Franklin, Co. A, 13th Tn Cav.;

• Pvt. James L. Gaines, Co. D, 25th Inf.;

• Pvt. G. (George) W. Hill, Co. A, 13th (Gore’s) TN Cav.; and

• Pvt. William Matthews Langford, 8th TN Cav.

All 10 soldiers served in the Confederate Army during the War Between the States and they were honored by the local UDC, the Capt. Sally Tompkins UDC Chapter #2123 of Cookeville, the Myers-Sollicoffer Chapter #1990 of the United Sons of Confederate Veterans (USCV) from Livingston, and others during the ceremony.

“We want to thank the other chapters for their assistance towards honoring these Confederate soldiers,” Reneau said, “and offer our gratitude to the family members who attended the ceremony.”

Family members offering eulogies were Pvt. Elam’s great-grandson Eddie Elam, Capt. Christian’s great-great nephew Frank Holiday, Pvt. Coffman’s great-granddaughter Karen Coffman, Pvt. Fiske’s great-grandson Bill Speck, and Pvt. Hill’s great-great granddaughter Cathy Sullivan.

Pvt. Cook, Pvt. Franklin, and Ferrier Franklin were eulogized by Capt. Sally Tompkins #2123 member Betty Aronson, while Pvt. Gaines and Pvt. Langford were by local UDC chapter member Sarah Elizabeth Burch.

The ceremony also included a welcome by the Livingston USCV commander Jim Loftis, an invocation and benediction by USCV chaplin Larry Gunnels, the unveiling and placing of Confederate flags on the graves, the playing of “Taps” by USCV member Tommy Phillips, and a small arms artillery salute by the 25th TN Honor Guard Schoolfields Battery Highland Brigade.

For more information about future events or to help the UDC with their efforts, contact Reneau at 256-509-1812 or Burch at 243-2899.