Jackson County Times

Top Story News

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Honoring Our Past Heroes

Grave restoration group holds impressive ceremony in wooded area near Bascom By Sid Riley

Residents of Bascom might have heard the sounds of cannon fire and “Taps” being played on Saturday morning, as the Sons of Confederate Veterans held a special rededication ceremony for the once forgotten ‘Rogers Cemetery’ which has been recently restored by this group. The cemetery is located under a huge, old oak tree in a forested strip, just south of Basswood Road a couple of miles before you reach Bascom. It apparently was once the site of the Rogers homestead. On this date approximately two hundred people had gathered to honor those buried there almost 150 years ago.

The hardworking restoration crew had cleared an area through the underbrush for access to the site which contains four graves, all of which are Civil War Veterans. New headstones have replaced the crumbled, unreadable old markers. These were provided by the U. S. Government thru their veteran recognition programs. A single, original marker was kept as a keystone for the site. This marker displays a distinctive Masonic symbol, and displays the name of Francis M. Rogers.

The four Confederate soldier graves were draped with black cloth as the ceremony started. The graves were for Private Thomas L. Rogers, Company D, 6th Florida Infantry, Private Francis Marion Rogers, Company D, 6th Florida Infantry (he was captured near Murfreesboro, TN and released at the end of the war…he was was the Great Grandfather of Fletcher Ryals Dunaway), Private Peter L. Rogers, Company D, 6th Florida Infantry, 3rd Sergeant Benjamin Henry Stephens, Company B/E 1st Florida Infantry.

As the ceremony began, Dr. Jerry Windsor gave the invocation, reading from a Civil War era soldiers prayer book. Representatives from most of the area Civil War organizations and Historical organizations spoke. Those who were involved in this project included;

● Theophilus West, M.D. Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1346

● Quincy Young guards, Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 703

● Finley’s Brigade, Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1614

● CSS Tallahassee, Marine Guard, Company B

● North Florida Artillery

● Norwood’s Militia

● Leon Rifles

● William Henry Milton Chapter 1039, United Daughters of the Confederacy

● Loreta J. Velazquez Chapter 14, Order of the Confederate Rose

● Mary Martha Reid Chapter 9, Order of the Confederate Rose

● Mary Ann Harvey Black Chapter 5, Order of the Confederate Rose

The official dedication portion of the event involved a procession of four Confederate uniformed soldiers accompanied by four women clad in period black, grieving gowns, each carrying a symbolic red rose. As each recognized veteran’s name was called, the soldier representing that man would step forward and tell the life story of that hero, including his exploits during the Civil War. Then the soldier would remove the black shroud covering that headstone, the shroud was folded and ceremoniously given to the woman in black. She would then step forward and sadly place her red rose on the headstone, as the honor guard saluted. This procedure was repeated for each of the four graves.

Several Rogers and Stephens family members were special guests at the event. They spoke graciously of their ancestors and their deep appreciation for the tribute being given on their behalf. As the rededication ceremony concluded, the bugler, Houston Creel, played taps and a cannon salute was fired.

If you know of any old, unattended grave sites in our area which might contain Civil War veterans graves, please contact the Jackson County Times and we will pass the information on to the appropriate restoration organizations.

No comments:

Post a Comment