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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Confederate Memorial Day Service At Steele Creek Presbyterian Church 05-13-2017

The Camp Colors of the the Stonewall Jackson Camp #23 SCV
Charlotte, NC.

Greetings and Salutations my friends and fellow travelers. 

On Saturday, May 13th, my travels took me to Charlotte, North Carolina to take part in another Confederate Memorial Day service -- just one of dozens of individual ones that took place that same weekend in both North and South Carolina.  

I joined just over 200 other Confederate descendants at the historic Steele Creek Presbyterian Church to attend a memorable Confederate Memorial Day service sponsored by the Stonewall Jackson Camp #23 Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Mary Anne Morrison Chapter #57 Order of the Confederate Rose, both from Charlotte. Memorable because it turns out this one might well be the last one, for reasons I will explain at the end of this post. 

The following are the photos I took during this beautiful service, which ended with roses being laid on the stone wall surrounding the old cemetery by members of the Order of the Confederate Rose in memory of Confederate ancestors of those in attendance.

Historic marker for the Steele Creek Presbyterian Church, the 2nd oldest
church in Mecklenburg County, NC.
In Memory of Captain John R. Erwin
A resident of Scots-Irish descent and member of Steele Creek
Presbyterian Church. When the South called for those to defend her independence,
he was one of the first to answer. He enlisted with Co. B 13th NC Troops (Ranaleburg Rifles).
After serving with that company he returned home and raised a cavalry unit that joined the 5th Regiment NC Cavalry (Mecklenburg Rangers) and served till the end of the War.
Captain Erwin is one of 87 Confederate soldiers buried in the historic cemetery.

The following Confederate ancestor's list was compiled by the Stonewall Jackson Camp #23 Sons of Confederate Veterans & Ann Morrison Jackson Chapter #57 Order of the Confederate Rose from those in attendance at the Steele Creek Presbyterian Church Confederate Memorial Day Service. 
*The roses set on the cemetery wall were laid in honor of these Confederate citizen soldiers.

In Memory of Confederate Soldiers 

1st Lt. Dr. William Gilbert 28th NC Inf. Co. H -- by Lisa Rudisill
Pvt. Absalom Rudisill 11th & 44th Rgmt. NC Inf. -- by Lisa Rudisill
Pvt. John D. Hardin 2nd NC Artillery Co. A -- by Michelle Houston
Pvt. John Wesley Bittle Rutledge 4th SC Co. A -- by Lisa Hamrick 
Pvt. Robert B. Thomas 2nd NC Inf. -- by Larry Thomas
Pvt. John E. Johnson 56th NC Inf. Co. K -- by Jimmy Morrison
Pvt. Daniel Rufus Rudisill 57th NC Inf. Co. G -- by Lewis E. Rudisill
Pvt. Joseph Vincent Lively Lowry's Light Artillery -- by Brian Allmon
Pvt. Caleb Rudisill 8th Battalion, NC Jr. Reserves -- by Lisa Rudisill
1st Lt. Dempsey E. Raby Thomas' NC Legion Co. G -- by Keith Raby
Pvt. Irvin Bittle Hamilton's SC Provost Guard -- by Lisa Hamrick 
Pvt. Ephrain Wilson Starnes 4th NC Cavalry/59th Co. E -- by Bill Starnes
Pvt. Andrew J. Johnson 45th NC Inf. Co. E -- by Jimmy Morrison
Pvt. John A. Lockman 52nd NC Infantry Co. G -- by Lewis E. Rudisill 
Pvt. Pleasant Calloway Ferguson 48th NC Inf. Co. I -- by Rowdy Ferguson
Pvt. William McBee Lee SC Holcombe Legion Co. B -- by Creighton Lovelace
1st Lt. Abraham Jackson Hick 27th TN Inf. Co. E -- by Rev. Patrick MacLean
Pvt. Lawson Haynes 22nd NC Inf. Co. K -- by Ron Haynes
Pvt. Robert B. Chandler 1st VA Artillery -- by Billy Williams
Sgt. Robert Franklin Henderson 49th NC Inf. Co. H -- by Jeremy Ferguson
Pvt. Enoch Chapman GA Inf Anderson Guards -- by Debbie Allmon
Pvt. Peter Pruett (no unit mentioned) -- by Ron. Haynes
Pvt. John Morrison (no unit mentioned) -- by Jimmy Morrison
Pvt. John Unger 89th VA Militia Co. B -- by Billy Williams 

My thanks to the NC Division Sons of Confederate Veterans, the Stonewall Jackson Camp #23 SCV, & the Anne Morrison Jackson Chapter #57 OCR for helping to make this event memorable. A special thanks to Commander Brian Allmon SCV, President Lisa Rudisill OCR, and NC Division SCV Commander Kevin Stone for their efforts in making this event possible. 

Now folks, let me tell you why this service is likely to be the last one.  

On Sunday, May 21st of this year, after several years of resistance against urban sprawl and Charlotte zoning laws, the congregation of Steele Creek Presbyterian Church reluctantly agreed to sell the church property to nearby Charlotte Douglas International Airport. While I understand why they agreed to this, I am saddened to hear that it had to be done. The old cemetery and the artistic headstones from many of the older graves will likely remain safe, though they will be surrounded in the coming decade by runways and storage areas.

With that yet another piece of the soul of Southern heritage, an old church founded by Scots-Irish Presbyterians who migrated from Pennsylvania in the 1750s, that began as nothing but a lean-to and later a wooden building, that survived British invasion, Yankee occupation, and several natural disasters; will soon be lost all because those who run Charlotte Douglas International Airport wants to expand and be a bigger airport than the one at nearby Atlanta, and very poor zoning laws. 

The end result, this land of ours loses another piece of its soul. Sadly, this is far from the first -- nor likely the last time -- urban development and what we laughingly call "the price of progress" will result in another lost piece of American history. 

I am sorry to leave this blog post on such a downer, folks. I really am. I really don't like to see good land and wonderful history that connects us to it lost to development. I hate seeing the strip malls and hotels and tourist traps that now cover some of nearby Appalachia -- Pigeon Forge, Tennessee being a really good example of this. Beautiful mountains bulldozed, land paved over and then dotted with vulgar hotels, inane theme parks and ghastly golf courses for a bunch of polo-wearing tourists.

I believe losing old battlefields, beautiful forests, and open land take something away from all of us deep down. That what we call "progress" diminishes the future we set for ourselves, without the things that remind us where we came from. 

Or maybe I'm just a hopeless romantic? 

Please let me know how you like this post, the photos, or even my little rant against urban sprawl at the end in the comments below. 

As always have a wonderful Dixie Day, y'all! 

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