Program commemorates monument's 100th anniversary
The Robert F. Hoke Chapter No. 78 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy conducted a 100th anniversary observance of the Rowan Confederate Monument May 9 in the Stanback Auditorium of the Rowan Public Library.
Confederate Memorial Day was also celebrated during the event, which was open to the public.
Hoke Chapter President Sue Curtis welcomed the assembly to the occasion; second Vice President Barbara Upright gave the invocation; and Registrar Cindy Scott led the pledge to the U.S. flag and salutes to the N.C. and Confederate flags.
Greetings were given by Emily C. Champion, N.C. Division president of the UDC.
Champion, of Butner described the Rowan County Confederate Monument as “one of the most beautiful of the many thousands of monuments erected across the South to commemorate the memory and sacrifice of our Confederate defenders.”
Curtis presented a slide program on the history of the monument, which included information on its noted sculptor, Frederic Wellington Rucksthul, and the efforts made by the ladies of the Hoke Chapter in the early 1900s to erect the monument and dedicate it on May 10, 1909, North Carolina’s Confederate Memorial Day.
Curtis also detailed the work of the more recent members who carried out a $14,000 restoration project on the monument in 1991.
Hoke Chapter member Sandra Boyer read the poem “Gloria Victis” by Frances Fisher Tiernan, who was known as the author Christian Reid. Tiernan chaired the committee to raise funds for the purchase of the monument and also wrote the dedicatory poem.
Ed Curtis, honorary associate member of the Hoke Chapter, read the Roll of Honor that listed all units in which Rowan County soldiers and sailors served the Confederate States of America. He also spoke about the Southern Crosses of Honor presented to Confederate veterans by the UDC and the iron crosses placed at their gravesites by the organization.
Soloist Eva Millsaps sang “Wearing of the Grey,” and Upright spoke on the significance of Confederate Memorial Day. Vice President Trudy Hall presented the flags of each of the Confederate states, which were displayed on staffs throughout the ceremony.
To conclude the program, Sue Curtis conducted the UDC ritual for the rededication of the monument. Hall gave the benediction, and a reception followed.
Before and after the program, displays were available for attendees to view.
Betty Dan Spencer provided an exhibit featuring old photographs relating to the monument, and Ed Curtis arranged a series of old postcards of Salisbury’s sister monument in Baltimore, Md.
Jeff Stepp of the 26th Regiment re-enactment unit used a laptop computer to show his N.C. Confederate Burial Locator Project, and he assisted individuals wanting to locate the interment sites of state veterans of the War Between the States.
Just as the Hoke Chapter members did in 1909, today’s members were photographed at the monument with a traditional wreath of magnolia leaves.