The Confederate Memorial
in Indian Mound Cemetery, Romney, W. Va. and
Text from a Presentation by Royce Saville at
The Confederate Memorial Association
a Confederate Memorial Day Celebration
In the spring of 1866 an organization known as the Confederate Memorial Association was formed. It's membership consisted of a group of women from Hampshire and Mineral Counties. Their goals were to erect a monument in memory of those men who had lost their lives in The War Between The States and to give financial aid to the widows of these men.
On June 1st of that year the ladies of this organization decorated the graves of the Confederates in Indian Mound Cemetery. This is believed to be the first Confederate Decoration in the South.
Records show that, with the assistance of surviving soldiers of the war, these ladies acquired sufficient funds by June of 1867 to request a monument be made by Gaddes Brothers of Baltimore. The white Italian marble structure was delivered to Indian Mound Cemetery on September 14 and a service of dedication took place on September 26. It is believed to be the first Confederate Monument to be erected. The following inscription appears on the face of the monument: "The Daughters of Old Hampshire erect this tribute of affection to her heroic Sons, who fell in defense of Southern Rights."
Fearing the destruction of the monument by Federal sympathizers, the words, "Southern Rights" were not carved until it was boxed ready for shipment, leaving only an opening to carve these two words. The opening was quickly covered and shipped immediately to Romney.
The Treasurer's records list these expenses directly related to the structure: $1,133.63 - Gaddes Brothers for construction 18.80 - William Sheetz for building the foundation 10.00 - William Sheetz for boarding Mr. Gaddes 4.11 - Sheetz and Kuykendall for returning machinery of Gaddes Brothers 5.00 - Bob Fisher for raising the mound around the monument Total $1,174.54
A point of interest in relationship to the original cost is that restoration of this same structure cost $2,850.00 in 1984. The elements had paid their toll through the years and it was necessary to sand and seal its surface. This work was done through the contributions of many interested persons whose heritage relates to the Confederacy and Indian Mound Cemetery. These names have been enrolled in the same treasurer's book in which the very first contributions were made on June 6, 1866. Other carvings on the marble monument are the names of 121 men who gave their lives to the cause and a scene of a laurel wreath being placed on the head of a dying soldier. A beautifully draped urn stands atop the monument.
Evergreen wreaths and a rope of that same material adorned the Monument on June 1st of each year, placed there by members of the Association. The graves of the men who gave their lives to the cause of Southern Rights were decorated with evergreen wreaths.
At the same time that money was being sought for the erection of the monument the widows of the Confederate Soldiers were receiving help through the Memorial Association. Records tell us that a sewing society was organized and items which they made were sold at fairs. Proceeds of a three day Cumberland Fair in September 1866 amounted to $851.36. Of this amount $427.57 was placed in the hands of James Sheetz to be loaned to citizens of Romney at interest. Mrs. James D. Armstrong, the Treasurer of the Memorial Association, records an interest entry of S16.89 at a later date. Two interesting notations can be made in regard to this transaction. The first being that there were no banks in Romney in which to deposit money for either safe keeping or in which to draw interest and secondly the half cent coins were still in circulation. Early on money had been placed in the safe at the Sheetz and Kuykendall store as a means of safety.
For a list of names on the Confederate Monumemt Click here.
Note last photos in the album below to see the modern additions to the site.
Officers of the Memorial Associationwho designed and installed the Confederate Monument
according to Maxwell and Swisher (p. 694-695):
Mrs. Robert White, Mrs. Abraham Smith, Mrs. J. P. Wilson, Mrs. J. L. Vance, Mrs. G. W. Parsons
Mrs. Margaret V. Taylor, Miss Miranda Taylor, Mrs. C. E. Blue, Mrs. C. S. White. Mrs. J. L. Vance, Mrs. John I. Inskeep
Miss. Bessie J. Shultze, Miss. Tillie Kern, Miss. Mary V. Foote, Miss Ellen Kane, Miss. Mary Heiskell, Miss. Lou McCarty
Mrs. J. D. Armstrong, Mrs. Michael Blue, Miss. Virginia Parsons, Mrs. Julius Waddle
Mrs. J. D. Armstrong, Mrs. James N. Morehead, Miss. Susie M. Pancake, Miss. Susie Poling, Miss. Louise Greitzner, Miss. Lizzie Inskeep, Lieutenant C. W. Pattie, D. W. Endler.