Confederate grave dedication draws big crowd

TURKEY TOWN-A memorial dedication ceremony was recently held here at the Turkey Town Cemetery in honor of Confederate soldiers laid to rest at the location and organizers said the event was a huge success.

“We had great participation with more than 50 people on hand,” local UDC president Mary Loyd Reneau said.  “It was really more than we expected, but it was a welcomed sight.”

The event was organized by the William Wesley Elam Chapter #2557 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), 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 honored Pvt. John W. Davis, Pvt. John Williams, Pvt. Jonathan G. Smith, and Fisk Kirkpatrick, who all served in the Confederate Army during the War Between the States.

Davis’ great, great niece Margaret Eads was on hand to unveil his marker after a eulogy was delivered by Sandy Norris honoring the career and life of the Confederate soldier.

Williams, Smith, and Kirkpatrick were then recognized through a bell ringing and flag ceremony.

Members from a Cookeville UDC chapter and an honor guard from a Livingston chapter of the United Sons of the Confederacy were on hand in period dress as a part of 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.”

A presentation of a print depicting the battle at Stones River was also made by Norris and her husband Ray to the Clay County Museum at the event.  Davis, one of the honorees, fought in the battle.

The Norris family presented the picture in honor of Reneau and her late sister Corinne McLerran’s work towards preserving local history through the museum and other efforts.

The ongoing work by the local UDC has already resulted in the identification of 25 graves in Clay County and so far they have only worked “on the east side of the river,” Reneau said.

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