Woman’s account gives visit to Confederate Home a personal, Ray County touch

By Linda Emley

A friend gave me the following story from a Nov. 10, 1927 newspaper and after reading it, I had to drive to Higginsville to visit the grave of Colonol Duvall who was mentioned in this story.,   “A trip to the State Confederate Home by Miss Bruna McGuire and Mrs. Scott Holloway. We left Hardin at 9:30 on Oct. 24, driving over highways No. 10 and 13. Good roads. It was an ideal day of Indian Summer, and autumn tints of red and gold greeted us on every side, showing God’s handiwork in all of the beautiful colorings.
After driving two hours, we turned the corner and before us stood our Missouri Confederate Solider’s Home. As we alighted from our car, we walked the beautiful lawn up to the spacious building.
Several old soldiers, sitting on the long veranda, invited us in. While in the reception hall, we registered our names. As we were standing there, a gentleman (Mr. Duvall) stepped up,and reading our names, politely asked, ‘Are you from Ray County? Richmond, my old hometown?’
After conversing with him, we found that his father and the father of one of our party had been in the same company during the Civil War. Mr. Duvall had to leave us for a while and we were invited into the parlor to rest.
“One of us begun playing a few familiar southern airs, and an old soldier asked, ‘Can you play Any Stars in my Crown?’ Just as the music started, the old soldiers began coming in from different directions and as each one came in, he tipped his hat politely as if he were saluting his superior officer during the war.
“Next in order, we played, ‘When You and I Were Young Maggie.’ One soldier sang a parody to it that was worth the trip to hear him sing. Such a wonderful voice he had. Next and last was ‘Dixie.’ We played and sang it for them and it seemed to bring back memories of olden days, as they waved their hats in the air. Mr. Duvall came back and took us through the building. First was the beautifully arranged dining room and the kitchen in perfect order, and there a lady told us of having just canned 160½ gallons of green beans.Then we went to the storage room of canned goods and among other things we noted was 400 gallons of sorghum. They say they have hot biscuits for breakfast, cornbread for dinner, light bread for supper, besides meat and other good food. They have their own dairy, a herd of Holstein cows,plenty of milk and butter. This goes to show these noble soldiers are well taken care of.
“They have a well-equipped laundry also, and a greenhouse with many flowers and growing vegetables for their own use.
“Then Mr. Duvall took us to the soldiers’ cemetery. The massive monument to the Confederacy is grand.To the right and to the left are possibly 250 gray granite slabs with names and dates for each soldier. It struck a sad chord in our hearts, as we thought of the sacrifices they had made for the South. At the right of the entrance are three handsome monuments, including one Mr. Joseph F. Duvall of Richmond, a past member of the State Board of Trustees.
“There are 362 acres of Confederate home farm where 86 soldiers now reside and the institution is self-sustaining.We next visited the large Confederate Memorial Park, and it is very pretty with shrubbery and evergreens. One hillside of evergreens was set out by Mr. and Mrs. S.B. Shirkey of our home county.
“Returning from the park, we thanked Mr. Duvall for his kindness and hospitality. We then went to visit the Women’s Home for the wives and widows of Confederates and we felt so at home there.We sang and played for them as they joined in the singing of the hymns, and while we walked around we saw what a comfortable home they have.
“We were loath to go. They have church services every Sunday.  After spending a part of a pleasant afternoon with them, with many handclasps and pleasant goodbyes, we got in our car and turned our faces homeward, stopping in Lexington. Our trip will long be remembered as one of the most delightfil days of our lives.”
Many things have changed since 1927 and their “two- hour” trip now only takes a few minutes. Bruna always drove a 1928 Model A Ford and I wondered if she drove it on Oct. 24, 1927. The first Model A cars were sold on Dec. 2, 1927, so it will always be a mystery what car she drove to Higginsville and who was the soldier that sang such a wonderful parody of “‘When You and I Were Young Maggie”.

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Ray County native Col. Joseph Duvall is buried in the Confederate cemetery in Higginsville. (Photo by Linda Emley/Richmond News)

Ray County native Col. Joseph Duvall is buried in the Confederate cemetery in Higginsville. (Photo by Linda Emley/Richmond News)

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