Descendants to dedicate marker for Civil War soldier killed in action
On June 3, 1861, Nehemiah John Jeremiah Sloop enlisted in the Army of the Confederate States of America. As was the case with many of Rowan’s young men who answered the Confederate call to arms, Nehemiah did not do so to defend the institution of slavery.
Evidence of this can be found in the 1790 through 1860 county censuses, which reveal that his ancestors, Conrad Sloop, John Sloop, Sr., and John Sloop, Jr., never participated in holding slaves. What Nehemiah and numerous like-minded fellow Rowan Confederate soldiers did rise to defend was the sovereignty of the state of North Carolina.
Just short of one year after his enlistment, Nehemiah, unmarried and only 22 years of age, was killed on May 31, 1862 in the Battle of Seven Pines, Va. His father, John Sloop, Jr., traveled by horse-drawn wagon to the battlefield, and then returned to Rowan with the body of his first-born son.
The Sloop family members belonged to Lutheran Chapel Church, and Nehemiah was laid to rest with his ancestors in the old Savitz Church Cemetery. Not long after his burial, a headstone was erected on his grave.
Sometime between 1942 and 1972, Nehemiah’s original headstone fell victim to either vandalism or thievery, and his grave was left unmarked. In 2012, a Sloop family historian found the 1942 Works Program Administration’s Historical Survey of Rowan County and discovered that the survey’s old Savitz Church Cemetery headstone list included the following: “N. J. J. Sloop Jan. 25, 1840 - May 31, 1862.” This information, with the Confederate war records’ account of Nehemiah’s service, was presented to the United States Veterans Administration, and they then provided a new military headstone to mark Nehemiah’s grave.
Thus, 150 years after his death, the grave of Confederate soldier Nehemiah John Jeremiah Sloop is once again marked.
The family of Jacob Henry Hall Sloop, Nehemiah’s youngest brother, will hold their 87th annual reunion July 28. After the reunion, at 3 p.m., the family will go to the old Savitz Church Cemetery, located behind Mt. Zion United Church of Christ, 1415 S. Main Street, China Grove, to attend a United Daughters of the Confederacy dedication service for Nehemiah’s new headstone.
Nehemiah’s other siblings, who have living descendants, are Susannah Mary Ann Sloop Winecoff Rodgers, Julianna Catherine Calhoun Sloop Deal, Martin Luther Scheck Sloop, Frances Christiana Sloop Beaver, and Charles Augustus Washington Sloop. A member of each of their families will participate in the UDC service.
All descendants of Nehemiah’s sisters and brothers, as well as the community, are invited to attend this dedication service. Parents, who are encouraged to bring their children, are reminded that many of the headstones in the old Savitz Church Cemetery are fragile and easily broken.