Tag Archives: South Georgia Confederate Veterans

Home of Georgia’s Last Confederate Veteran, Fitzgerald

This was the home of William Joshua Bush (1845-1952), Georgia’s last surviving Confederate veteran. For his service to the Confederacy, he was afforded the honorific “General” in his last years. The historic marker at the site, first erected in 1954, reads: This was the home of General William Jordan Bush, last survivor of the 125,000 heroes from Georgia who fought for the South. Gen. Bush was born near Gordon, Ga. July 10, 1845, and died here Nov. 11, 1952. In the War Between the States he was a private in Co. B, 14th Ga. Infantry, under Capt. Tom Wilcox and Gen. John B. Gordon. His title of General was won through offices held in the United Confederate Veterans. Active until a few weeks before his death at 107, Gen. Bush attended all UCV reunions and danced at public functions.

His stepdaughter Janie Law was a classmate of my grandmother and on several occasions in the late 1980s and 1990s shared her memories of him with me. They were similar to the following article by Wylly Folk St. John, published in the Atlanta Sunday magazine on 24 April 1949:

Georgia’s last Confederate is a spry old soldier of nearly 104, who lives in a little confederate-gray house in Fitzgerald, Georgia. He is “General” (an honorary title) William Bush, of Company B, 14th Georgia Infantry. He was a teen-aged private when he fought the Battle of Atlanta. He is regarded with appropriate awe throughout the state, as the last living Georgian who wore the gray during the War Between the States – the only flesh and blood contact with the Lost Cause that is left to us on this Memorial Day.

The General is Fitzgerald’s most famous and most carefully taken care of citizen. The UDC offers him everything he could possibly want to make him comfortable, the State Patrol drives him home in state when he’s out late, the Ordinary not only brings him his pension check but also the $75 to cash it with, he is always being asked for pictures and autographs, and he gets sheaves of fan mail. He is senior deacon of his Baptist church, and received his “diploma” as a Mason in 1888.

For a man who’ll be 104 next July 10, he is astonishingly vigorous. He can read his Bible without his glasses, he can hear well with no artificial aid, his blood pressure is perfect and his heart is okay. He can still dance a jig if you dare him to, and sings “Dixie” in his quavery brave old voice. Until a few years ago, he walked downtown every morning to talk over old times with his friends. Now he has to call a taxi when his wife’s back is turned. Sometimes, when Mrs. Bush, who teaches the sixth grade, misses him, she finds out he has dressed up by himself and “gone out with the girls” to the UDC meeting. Mrs. Bush has celebrated her 27th wedding anniversary with the General, whom she married when he was 76 and she was 34. He lived with his first wife 48 years before she died, and had six children.

Bush was a bare 16 when he joined the Gray army. “I told a lie to get into it, and I’d have told another to get out,” he says, and then immediately retracts “No, I wouldn’t either. I fought to the end and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” He was “near-bout” the whole time with General Gordon, but part of the time with General Johnston. When asked if the young army did much training before it went into battle, he replies “We didn’t waste no ammunition practisin. When we shot, we shot to kill – it was hand to hand fightin” He brought home a big Confederate flat from the last Gettysburg reunion that he carries in all the Memorial Day parades.

Until a few years ago, there was also one Union Veteran left in Fitzgerald, Henry Brunner. On Memorial Day, the two old soldiers would go to the cemetery together and put flowers on the graves of their fallen comrades, General Bush decorating the Northern graves and General Brunner the Southern. When his friendly enemy died, General Bush sent a wreath “from the last of the Gray to the last of the Blue”.

Now General Bush has to place, tremulously, the flowers and laurel wreaths for both of them. There will be tears no doubt, when emotional Southern ladies see his lone indomitable figure in the parade this year, the Last Confederate, wearing his Gettysburg medal and carrying his Confederate flag.

The other men in Gray are all gone. Now at the cemetery, when the bugle softly plays Taps, it is for ALL the Confederates – except Josh Bush. There is no other man left alive in Georgia today who fought in ’61. It is a lonely emenence.

Here is Georgia’s Last Confederate.

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Filed under --BEN HILL COUNTY GA--, Fitzgerald GA

Mercer Grave Houses, Candler County

These grave houses, located at Salem Baptist Church Cemetery, mark the final resting places of Clemons* Mercer (1832-1881) and Jane Elizabeth “Janie” Johnson Mercer (1835-1880). Clemons Mercer served in the Third Seminole War in Florida and contracted malaria there in 1856, which he never completely recovered from. He was later a lieutenant in the Emanuel County Militia (Captain Moring’s Company) during the Atlanta Campaign in the Civil War. Janie Mercer bore him 11 children, all of whom lived to adulthood.

Gary Lee writes: Local lore is that it was raining the day of her burial and her husband promised that another raindrop would never touch her grave. Her family actually rebuilt these a few years ago. Also near her are two of her sisters, Hattie and Adeline who were married to twin brothers, George Washington Lee and Henry Clay Lee who gave the land and the materials for the church.

*also recorded as Clemmons Mercer

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Filed under --CANDLER COUNTY GA--

Early Settlers Cemetery, 1881, Swainsboro

Over 80 of Swainsboro and Emanuel County’s earliest settlers are buried in this secluded downtown cemetery. It’s a great space for quiet reflection and if you’re a taphophile, you’ll enjoy it.

The triumphant arch marks the graves of John Calhoun Coleman (28 October 1844-1 January 1923) and wife Martha Sarah “Mattie” Moring Coleman (21 April 1858-15 September 1926). The angel memorializes their daughter, Juanita Coleman Smith (16 March 1874-18 May 1910). Mr. Coleman was one of the most prominent men in Emanuel County during his lifetime and was a Confederate veteran. He served in Company H, Georgia Volunteer Infantry, taking part in the Seven Days Battle, first and second battles of Cold Harbor, Harper’s Ferry, Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, first and second battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysbur, and finally at Manassas Gap, where he was captured and held as a prisoner until the end of the war.

John Coleman Mitchell (25 April 1897-21 January 1901). Grandson of John Calhoun Coleman.

 

 

 

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Filed under --EMANUEL COUNTY GA--, Swainsboro GA

Corporal C. S. Meadows House, Normantown

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Adam Underhill writes: I believe this was the residence of my great-great-grandfather, Cannie Swain Meadows, a Confederate veteran. I believe he is correct in his assertion. According to the listing on Find A Grave, where this circa 19100 postcard was shared by Olivia Williamson Braddy originates, Meadows (8 March 1843-15 August 1923) was a Corporal with Company H, 49th Georgia Infanty. He owned a dry goods store and hotel, as well as Tiger Springs, a recreational attraction on Tiger Creek. Cannie, as he was known, had 13 children, all but one of whom lived to adulthood; several lived well into their nineties.

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Filed under --TOOMBS COUNTY GA--, Normantown GA

Anson B. Slappey House, Marshallville

historic marshallville ga eclectic house photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2016

Liz writes: This house was built by George H. Slappey’s son Anson B. Slappey. He attended military school and then joined the Confederate army. He died in 1908. In the 1960’s his great-granddaughter, Mrs. Eugenia Ramsey lived here as well.

East Main Street Residential District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --MACON COUNTY GA--, Marshallville GA

Williams Store, Raines

Raines GA Crisp County Williams General Store Ghost Town Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Raines Station was a whistlestop on the Albany & Northern Railroad.  The Albany & Northern was founded about 1895, so the Raines settlement would have come into being sometime soon thereafter. The tracks once ran beside this old store, owned by Confederate veteran Isaiah Williams, who served with the 60th Georgia Volunteer Infantry. The store was open as recently as  the late 1970s. Thanks to Mr. Williams’ great-great grandson, Fred Gleaton, for sharing the history of the place.

Raines GA Crisp County Williams General Store Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Lori Odom Jones wrote: As a child I remember going to Raines Station to get collard greens and other stuff. I still remember the inside of the store and that they had an old Ouija Board in there. That was the first time I ever saw one. I begged and begged for one and my mama finally bought it. Sadly…it predicted the age my mama would die as 43 and she did. Coincidence? I threw that thing away. Funny how reading these posts bring back so many memories.

Clyde Watson recalls: I remember this store very well in the early 1950’s it was operated as Barry Mercantile Company, by John C Spears. I went to West Crisp School and would work for John on Saturdays and after school on the days he needed me. At that time there was a Grist Mill to left side of the store and I ground meal for customers on Saturday, I was able to work there for three years. Also sometime before maybe there was a store as well but the upstairs was a doctor’s office. When I worked there the remnants of the doctor’s office was still there, some old papers and such, but John and his mother Mrs. Arlette did not want anyone up there very long at the time.

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Filed under --CRISP COUNTY GA--, Raines GA

John “Duffy” Rogers House, 1850s, Evans County

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In his book Houses of Heart Pine: A Survey of the Antebellum Architecture of Evans County, Georgia (2001) Pharris DeLoach Johnson notes that this house was already built when purchased by Uriah Rogers in 1856. Rogers gave the house to his son James, who then sold it to his brother, John “Duffy” Rogers, Evans County’s longest-surviving Confederate veteran. Thirteen of his twenty children were born here to his first two wives, Laura Blitch of Blitchton who died here during childbirth in 1883, and Melvina Hearn. John Rogers lived here until 1891, when he built the large home seen in the next post. It is in immediate danger as the back roof is collapsing and this important house will soon be lost if not stabilized.

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Filed under --EVANS COUNTY GA--

John “Duffy” Rogers House, Circa 1891, Evans County

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John “Duffy” Rogers (1847-1941) was the last surviving Confederate veteran of Evans County.  He helped establish Bull Creek Baptist Church in 1870 and was a well-known citizen of the area throughout his life.

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Filed under --EVANS COUNTY GA--

William W. Daniel House, Circa 1895, Evans County

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Justin Daniel writes: This home belongs to my father. It was built by my great great grandfather William W. Daniel circa 1895. James U Daniel was his son and my great-grandfather. To give you a bit more context, the house was constructed circa 1895 by William W. Daniel, a veteran of the confederacy. The story handed down through the family is that W.W. hired a carpenter, paid him $100.00 plus room and board to design and build this house. W.W. provided the labor from his farm, all lumber was sawn from timber on the property at his sawmill which sat to the east of the house down by the branch. The attached kitchen and large portico are said to have been added in the 1920s or 30s by W.W.’s son James Uriah Daniel. About the same time of the home’s construction, my great great grandfather sat down and wrote his memoirs of the war for southern independence. The original is still intact, along with several letters from the war written home by he and his older brother Captain Isaac C. Daniel.

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Filed under --EVANS COUNTY GA--

Old Campground Cemetery, Toombs County

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The historical marker placed by the General Robert Toombs Camp, SCV, outlines the importance of this cemetery, especially its location as the final resting place of a member of the “Immortal 600”: Founded Circa 1820 as a meeting place for circuit riding ministers, Old Campground added a cemetery in 1853. It contains some of the oldest graves in Toombs County. There are three Confederate veterans buried here, including Lt. Gordon K. Fort, 24th Bn. Georgia Cavalry one of the “Immortal 600.”

During the War for Southern Independence, (1861-1865), the U. S. Army selected 600 captured Confederate officers, including Lt. Fort, for retaliation against the South. In one of the most heinous acts of vengeance in American history, they were starved, maltreated, and used as human shields. Because of their courage and perseverance, they became known as the “Immortal 600.” Also buried here are Lt. Robert Stripling, 61st Rgt. and Pvt. Benjamin Stripling of the 47th Regt. Georgia Infantry, CSA.

The cemetery is 1/4 mile south of this location.

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Filed under --TOOMBS COUNTY GA--