Memorial-Dedication-for-Confederate-PensionersOn Saturday, December 8, 2012, a memorial dedication ceremony was held in Monroe, NC, to honor ten black Confederate pensioners who had served with honor in the War Between the States. This is the first monument of its kind to be dedicated to Confederate Soldiers of color who served honorably during the War. The ceremony began with a welcome from Tony Way, President of the Union County's Pensioners of Color Monument Committee of the NC Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Ronnie S. Roach, Heritage Defense Committee Representative, prepared the assembly for the Presentation of Colors, which were presented by the 16th South Carolina Troops Color Guard from Greenville, SC, and the Navy JROTC of Sun Valley High School, Indian Trail, NC. Mark Evans, Chaplain-in-Chief of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, gave the Invocation. Ronald Lee Perdue, Commander of the Lt. F.C. Frazier Camp 668 of High Point, North Carolina Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, read the Resolution from the Union County Board of Commissioners, proclaiming December 8, 2012, "Confederate Pensioners of Color Day." Michael Givens, Commander in Chief of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, spoke of the historic and present significance of the occasion, and he conducted a special ceremony in which he inducted Aaron Perry into the Sons of Confederate Veterans, in memory of his great-grandfather Aaron Perry, his Confederate ancestor, who was one of the pensioners being honored in the dedication ceremony.

Greetings were brought from:

Tom Smith, Commander, North Carolina Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans

J. Keith Crisco, Secretary of Commerce, State of North Carolina

Mark Simpson, Commander, South Carolina Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans

Laura Stallard, president, North Carolina Society, Order of Confederate Rose

Rodney Williams, Commander NC Society, Military Order of Stars & Bars

Andrew Myers, President, Joseph Evan Davis Chapter #907, Children of the Confederacy

Major Matthew Delk, Combat Veteran

Tracy Kuehler, Past Commissioner, Union County, North Carolina

Jackie Washington, Retired Sheriff of Atlanta, GA, Fulton County, and Great Granddaughter of Aaron Perry

Joel Fesperman, Commander, Ivy Ritchie Camp 1735 of Albemarle North Carolina Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans

The Keynote Speaker for the occasion was Mr. Earl L. Ijames, Curator of the North Carolina Museum of History, who spoke of research and documentation of the pensioners of color and of his meetings with Ms. Mattie Clyburn Rice, Real Daughter of United Confederate Veteran Weary Clyburn.  Mr. Ijames had placed on display in the Union County Court House the cane used by Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Following the death of President Davis, his cane was presented to Mr. James Jones, a free black man, by Varina Howell Davis in appreciation of his faithful service to her and her family as their bodyguard during the War Between the States. Following the keynote address, Mr. Ken Willis of the Greenville 16th Color Guard played "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes. The Union County Confederate Pensioners of Color Monument was unveiled by Ms. Mattie Clyburn Rice, Daughter of United Confederate Veteran Weary Clyburn, assisted by Chrissy Cloer, Madison Johnson and Mackenzie Welch of the North Carolina Society of the Black Rose. Kelly Hinson, as Mary Anna Jackson, "Widow of the South," laid the Wreath at the Monument. June Brewer of the North Carolina Society, Order of the Black Rose, read the names of those being honored on the monument:

Wilson Ashcraft, who served with honor in Co. I, 53rd NC Troops, CSA

Ned Byrd, who served with honor in 22nd Regiment, SC Troops, CSA

Weary Clyburn, who served with honor in Co. E. 12th SC Troops, CSA

Wyatt Cunningham, who served with honor as a Waggoner with SC Troops, CSA

George Cureton, who served with honor in the 4th and 7th SC Cavalry units, CSA

Hamp Cuthbertson, who served with honor at Fort Fisher, NC

Mose Fraser/Frasier, who served with honor in Co. E. 12th SC Troops, CSA

Lewis McGill, who served with honor in 22nd Regiment, SC Troops, CSA

Aaron Perry, who served with honor in Co. D, 37th NC Troops, CSA

Jeff Sanders, who served with honor in Co. B, 26th Regiment, SC Troops, CSA as a Free Person of Color

During the reading of the names, the Procession of the Widows from the NC Society, Order of the Black Rose, placed black roses on the monument in honor and memory of each of the pensioners. Military honors were presented in a gun salute by the Confederate Honor Guard which included both NC and SC troops. Cody Cloer, from the NC Order of Confederate Rose played "Taps" in military tribute to those being honored. The Benediction was pronounced by Herman White, Chaplain of the NC Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The Colors were retired by the Navy JROTC of Sun Valley High School Indian Trail, NC and by 16th SC Troops Color Guard.

 

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