The Confederate Veteran
Volume 19, Pages 373-374
Article on the Confederate Soldiers Monument
The wife of Col. Robert White, a resident of Wheeling, but formerly of Romney, Hampshire County, W. Va., gives her recollections in regard to the erection of what is doubtless the very first monument ever erected as a memorial to the Confederate soldiers who died in defense of Southern rights. It was erected at the town of Romney.
Mrs. White says that, while time has effaced much from her memory, the facts connected with that monument are indellibly impressed upon her mind.
its object then being to keep green the memory of their loved ones who had sacrificed their lives...
In the early spring of the year 1866, even while a portion of the Northern army was still encamped within twenty miles of Romney, a few ladies of that town who had known the sufferings and hardships of the war so recently ended gathered at the home of Col. Robert White for the purpose of organizing a Memorial Association, its object then being to keep green the memory of their loved ones who had sacrificed their lives to the cause of the Southland. Only a few were present at the organization, but afterwards others joined. Mrs. White was elected President of the Association, Miss Bessie Schultz (later the wife of Capt. C. S. White, a brother of Colonel White) was made the Secretary, and Mrs. J. D. Armstrong the Treasurer.
Soon after the Association was organized it was determined to erect in the Indian Mound Cemetery at Romney a monument in memory of the many sons of old Hampshire County who had lost their lives during the war, and to inscribe their names upon the monument.
Mrs. White says all were very poor then, having lost nearly all they had by the war. Their husbands and fathers were still oppressed by that iniquitous "test oath" demanded by the new South of the Rebels, who could not and would not take it.
Inspired by the feeling that the memory of such heroes should be perpetuated by erecting a monument to them, the ladies resolved that they would give their hearts and hands to the work in full faith that they could in the course of time erect such a testimonial, and that they would "do with all their might" what they could to accomplish the result.
our Memorial Association was the very first one ever organized in our beloved South...
"I feel sure," said Mrs. White, "that our Memorial Association was the very first one ever organized in our beloved South, and that the monument erected by the efforts of the ladies of old Hampshire was the first monument ever erected to the memory of the Confederate dead. To raise the necessary means, poor as we were, we had sales of fancy articles that were made by our own hands. We gave a fair or bazaar and dinners, the occasion lasting two days and evenings. It was held at the then unused rooms of the old Literary Society of Romney, which had been broken up by the war. The Confederate heart of the whole people seemed to be aroused, and the result was grand. Besides, the merchants of Romney came to our aid, and very many friends in old Hampshire, and dear friends of Cumberland, Md., twenty-five miles away, gave us liberally. One of the Cumberland friends sent to us a sewing machine, which at the bazaar was contested for by two popular men, and netted us some $400. Another sent a large cake, which was contested for by two others for their respective lady friends, and that realized for us about the sum of $200. At the end of the second night we counted our money, and found that we had more than $1,100 in cash. This greatly encouraged us, and we went right to work to get bidders for the erection of the monument. Of course more money was required; but we had faith to believe that it would be raised, and erelong we had the means to pay for the monument. This monument was erected in the summer of 1867 and was dedicated on September 28 of that year. Upon that monument were chiseled the names of our dear Confederate dead who went to war from old Hampshire County, Va., and the inscription upon it, written by that then celebrated Presbyterian divine, the Rev. J. M. Harris, bears testimony to the heroism of those dear women at that day, most of whom 'have crossed over the river to rest on the other side." That inscription is, as I now give it, from memory: 'The daughters of old Hampshire erect this tribute of affection to her heroic sons who fell in defense of Southern rights.'"
[The foregoing is given by Maj. E. H. McDonald, of the 11th Virginia Cavalry, who writes that the data were furnished by the wife of Col. Robert White, of Wheeling. He refers to the interesting report of Judge R. B. Haughton, of St. Louis, in the May VETERAN, page 233.]