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By Linda Emley
I’m not an expert on the Civil War, but I’ve spent the last 18 months planning the Battle of Albany re-enactment and this event is still 15 months away.
Like all Americans, I was introduced to the Civil War in school as a child. It wasn’t a big deal to me because it happened a long time ago. After I started researching my family history, I found blue and gray ancestors, but I loved them all the same because they were my family.
In 1975, I moved to Virginia, and while driving across the state, we stopped at Appomattox to tour the “Surrender House.” I still remember the re-enactors who made us feel like we were visiting Virginia as it was 110 years earlier. That summer day was the first time I felt the Civil War and knew it was real.
On June 1, I attended the memorial service at the Confederate Home in Higginsville. While watching this program, I experienced the same emotions I felt many years ago while visiting Appomattox.
My trip to Higginsville was a “historic” journey because June 1, 1930, a memorial service was held at Higginsville. I found a program from a 1930 scrapbook at the museum and knew I had to experience this event 83 years later.
Many Ray Countians were part of the service in 1930. It opened with a march to the cemetery that was lead by Earl Brown, a drummer from Richmond. The first song was sung by the Brown-Rives Chapter of U.D.C from Richmond.
A tribute to the Confederate dead was given and was followed by another song from the Richmond ladies. The final event was taps played by 17-year-old Arthur Hutton from Richmond. There was a concert in the afternoon and the Richmond ladies sang several songs. The opening was “America” and the closing song was “Blest Be the Tie That Binds.”
I found a newspaper story from 1930. “June 1, was the annual homecoming day at the Confederate Soldier’s Home at Higginsville. A most beautiful day for such a celebration and true lovers of the Sixties gathered in great numbers to mingle with the vanishing heroes of other days and to conduct a memorial service in the beautiful cemetery. This service was under the auspices of the Brown-Rives chapter U.D.C of Richmond.
“They had on display many lovely quilts and some were for sale at reasonable prices. When noon came the beautiful grounds looked like one large family party loaded with good things to eat. It seemed the hospitality of the Old South had again returned.
“The park is beautiful now, also the flower gardens. It is a short drive over and if you will make it you will feel amply repaid. The Veterans are pleased with Mr. Harlan the new superintendent and all of them tell us how they love Isaac Duvall.”
I was glad to find this article because now we know Isaac was the “Mr. Duvall” that escorted Bruna McGuire and Mrs. Scott Holloway around the home in 1927. Isaac Bates Duvall was born in 1874, the son of Joe. He was listed in the 1930 census as the 56-year-old custodian of the Confederate Home. He died in 1940 and is buried in Cleveland, Mo., where he spent his last seven years. His wife Grace was buried beside him in 1942.
The memorial service in 2013 was a lot like the one in 1930. My favorite part was when everyone announced the name of his or her Civil War ancestor and then placed a rose on the base of the U.D.C. Memorial.
I was honored to place a rose on the monument as a gift from one of the descendants that is my cousin and friend. He said it was for my hard work and dedication of history preservation. It was nice to be part of the service.
One speaker said that many gave their lives during the war. As I looked over the 800 graves, I thought of the pain and suffering these men felt. They watched their comrades fall, but none of them died in battle because this cemetery started in 1891.
A few minutes later I was looking at the cemetery, and in the far corner I saw a stone that was standing a bit taller that the others. Then I realized that there was one man who died during the war because in 1992, a few pieces of William Clarke Quantrill were buried there. He also has a grave in Louisville, Ky., and Dover, Ohio, where other parts of his body are buried.
Quantrill’s mother was Carolina Clarke Quantrill, and I always felt sorry for her. My great-great grandmother was Louisa Ann Clarke and I wonder if they were related. I’m sure if I go back far enough, I’ll find a connection because our “Clarke” has an “e.” Louisa had two brothers who fought for the Union. This Clarke connection could be an example of “Brother against Brother,” which is one reason why this war still affects us 150 years later.