Annual Confederate Prison Symposium is April 24-26

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Staff report
The 12th Annual Salisbury Confederate Prison Symposium will be held April 24-26.
It is sponsored by the Robert F. Hoke Chapter No. 78 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy,
The weekend event will feature lectures, memorial services and a tour focusing on the area in Salisbury where thousands served and thousands died.Registration is open to anyone interested in the history of the prison. Last year individuals from 12 states attended.
Activities begin at 5 p.m. April 24 with the “Reunion of Descendants and Friends” in the fellowship hall of Landmark Church.
The traditional Friendship Banquet will follow at 7 p.m. with a southern buffet meal and lecture. The keynote speaker is Mary “Larry” Hines of Raleigh, a descendant of Dr. Braxton Craven, first commandant at the Salisbury Prison.
Hines, a University of Georgia graduate and former “Donut Dolly” during the Vietnam War, will discuss her ancestor’s life as an educator, soldier and minister.
Craven, president of Trinity College when the War Between the States began, brought a group of his faculty and students to Salisbury in early December 1861 who would serve as the facility’s first guards.
Trinity College would later become Duke University.
A series of six lectures relating to the prison will be conducted April 24 in the Tom Smith Auditorium on the campus of Catawba College. Dr. Gary Freeze, professor of American history at the college, will begin with an introduction to the prison.
Anne Wilson of Michigan will talk about an ancestor who was a prisoner who cut wood for the Prison from the Catawba College and Gold Hill areas. After the war, he married the daughter of a guard and is buried in Rowan County.Dr. Lawrence Lohr, a native of Charlotte and emeritus professor at the University of Michigan, will provide information on Union officers who were prisoners of war at the Prison in July 1862.After lunch, the first speaker will be R. Matthew Poteat, assistant professor of history at Central Virginia Community College in Lynchburg. Poteat will talk about his recently published book on Henry Toole Clark, who became governor of North Carolina when John Willis Ellis of Salisbury died.
This new biography is the first ever written on Clark during whose administration the military prison was established in Salisbury.
Other afternoon speakers will be Joanne Sharpe of Greensboro; and Bill Searfoss, historian from Coventry, N.Y.Sharpe will talk about her grandfather, Robert Sanders Phipps, who served as a guard at age 17. Two children of Pvt. Phipps attended the symposium in 2001, and one may be able to attend this year.
Searfoss, who is compiling names and information on soldiers who served from his area, will discuss the lives of soldiers from Chenango County, N.Y., sent to the Salisbury Prison.
The annual Salisbury Confederate Prison Association Inc. meeting will be held Saturday after the lectures. A special announcement is expected to be made to the membership.
The public in invited to two memorial services on April 26, a Sunday morning.
The first service will be conducted at 10 a.m. at the Old Lutheran Cemetery in memory of the Confederate soldiers buried there.
The second service will follow at 11 a.m. at the Historic Salisbury National Cemetery in memory of the Union soldiers who died in Salisbury.
A tour of the prison site will be provided for registrants on the afternoon of April 26.
Registration is $65 per person to March 31 and $75 afterwards.
Checks should be made payable to the Robert F. Hoke Chapter No. 78, UDC and mailed to P.O. Box 5093, Salisbury, NC 24147-0088.
Questions concerning the symposium may be directed to Sue Curtis, chairman, at or 704-637-6411.