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Abbeville in Abbeville County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
Abbeville County Confederate Monument
 
Abbeville County Confederate Monument - South Photo, Click for full size
By Brian Scott, July 19, 2008
1. Abbeville County Confederate Monument - South
 
Inscription.
South:
Ship's Anchor
1861-1865

"The world shall yet decide,
In truth's clear, far-off light,
That the soldiers who wore the gray, and died
With Lee were in the right!"
----------
"Brave men may die - right has no death;
Truth never shall pass away."
----------
"Come from the four winds,
O breath and breathe upon these slain,
That they may live."

South Base:
"On fame's eternal camping ground
Their silent tents are spread
And glory guards with solemn round
The bivouac of the dead."

West:
CSA
Crossed Swords & Crossed Rifles

Ordinance of Secession
Adopted Dec. 20, 1860

West Footstone:
Given in Memory by
William Henry Simpson
July 31, 1907 - May 17, 1992
For His Beloved Abbeville
December 14, 1996

North:
Stainless Banner
1861-1865

We have furled it; slowly, sadly;
Once we loved it, proudly, gladly,
And we fought beneath it madly,
Fought in bloody, deathly fray;
For we swore to those who gave it,
In triumph we would wave it,
Or life's crimson ride should lave it,
Ere to blue should yield the gray.
Yes,
 
Abbeville County Confederate Monument -<br>South Side Photo, Click for full size
By Brian Scott, July 19, 2008
2. Abbeville County Confederate Monument -
South Side
 
'tis taken down all faded,
And like those who bore it, jaded,
For through lakes of blood, they waded
Nor did weary footsteps lag,
Oh! 'Twas hard to fold and yield it,
While a man was left to shield it,
For 'twas Dixie's Bonnie Flag.
----------
"Honor the Brave."
They knew their rights and dared to main them."

East:
CSA
Erected by the Daughters of the
Confederacy of
Abbeville County, 1906.

Laurel Wreath
National Flag

DC
61-65

by
Dario Rossi
1996
Dedicated to the soldiers of
Abbeville District.

East Base:
The first mass meeting for secession was
held at Abbeville, S.C., Nov. 22, 1860.
----------
The last cabinet meeting was held at
Abbeville, S.C., May 2, 1865.

East Footstone:
First Monument Erected
August 23, 1906
Destroyed by Fire
December 28, 1991
Second Monument Erected
December 14, 1996

 
Erected 1906 by Daughters of the Confederacy of Abbeville County.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Markers Attached to Sculpture, the South Carolina, Abbeville Historical Sites Tour, and the United Daughters of the Confederacy marker series.
 
Location.
 
Abbeville County Confederate Monument - West Photo, Click for full size
By Brian Scott, July 19, 2008
3. Abbeville County Confederate Monument - West
 
34° 10.65′ N, 82° 22.733′ W. Marker is in Abbeville, South Carolina, in Abbeville County. Marker is on Court Square (State Highway 20), in the median. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Abbeville SC 29620, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. "Big Bob" (here, next to this marker); Abbeville Square (here, next to this marker); The Law Offices of John C. Calhoun (a few steps from this marker); Old Bank Building (ca. 1865) (within shouting distance of this marker); Major Thomas Dry Howie (within shouting distance of this marker); Humane Society Alliance Fountain (1912) (within shouting distance of this marker); Abbeville Opera House (1908) (within shouting distance of this marker); Abbeville County Courthouse (1908) (within shouting distance of this marker); Belmont Inn (1903) (within shouting distance of this marker); Abbeville County Veterans Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Abbeville.
 
Regarding Abbeville County Confederate Monument. The monument shown is actually Abbeville's second Confederate monument. The first was erected August 23, 1906 but was demaged by fire from a Christmas tree display on December 28, 1991. The damaged marker was donated to the Southern Culture Centre by the local UDC chapter. The current marker was erected on December 14, 1996. It was hand-carved by Italian sculptor Dario Franco Rossi. (Source: http://www.sctravelold96.com/historic.html)
 
Abbeville County Confederate Monument - North Photo, Click for full size
By Brian Scott, July 19, 2008
4. Abbeville County Confederate Monument - North
 

 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
 
Also see . . .
1. The Bivouac of the Dead. Monument North Base, Poem by Theodore O'Hara, 1847 (Submitted on August 31, 2008, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.) 

2. Monument replacement raises tension, Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle, December 12, 1996. The statewide debate over the Confederate flag might add tension to a small Saturday ceremony in Abbeville, S.C. (Submitted on February 15, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

3. Town unveils Confederate monument, Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle, December 15, 1996. The new South reached back to touch the old Saturday. (Submitted on November 14, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

4. SIRIS Entry on Original Monument. Abbeville Confederate Monument, (sculpture). (Submitted on March 15, 2009, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.) 

5. Abbeville Historic District. The Abbeville Historic District is comprised of a large portion of the city of Abbeville, the county seat of Abbeville County, South Carolina. (Submitted on September 2, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 
 
Additional comments.
1. Abbeville Confederate Dead
Abbeville lost her first son in the Civil War on February 13, 1861. J. Clark Allen was killed accidentally on Sullivanís Island. By the end of the war, Abbeville District has lost 346 men. (Source: Old Abbeville: Scenes of the Past of a Town Where Old Times Are Not Forgotten, by Lowry Ware)
    — Submitted September 10, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.
 
Abbeville County Confederate Monument -<br>East Side Photo, Click for full size
By Brian Scott, July 19, 2008
5. Abbeville County Confederate Monument -
East Side
 

2. Armistead Burt - Quotes on Secession
Armistead Burt spoke at the first secession meeting and was an ardent supporter of secession throughout the war. His support resulted in his home being the final meeting place of Jefferson's Davis' war cabinet as it fled south from Richmond. The following are quotes from Burt regarding the hot topic of the day: secession.

“If you are not ready to lay down life and fortune, you are not prepared for secession. The North cannot and will not part with you, and the treasure she wrings from you, without a mighty struggle.” – May 17, 1851, Abbeville Banner.

“Why speak of war? Why speak of bloodshed? There will be no war. There will be no bloodshed. I will guarantee to drink all the blood that is shed in a wine cup, and a very small wine cup at that.” – November 22, 1860, Abbeville Secession Meeting. (Source: Old Abbeville: Scenes of the Past of a Town Where Old Times Are Not Forgotten, by Lowry Ware)
    — Submitted September 10, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

3. Confederate Monument
Abbeville Press & Banner
August 29, 1903

Last Thursday, August 23, 1906, was a "Red Letter" day for Abbeville, the occasion being the
 
Abbeville County Confederate Monument - East Footstone Photo, Click for full size
By Brian Scott, June 6, 2009
6. Abbeville County Confederate Monument - East Footstone
 
unveiling of the Confederate Monument which marks another glorious and grand epoch in the history of our city.

The day arose threateningly with low murky clouds floating through the sky, but the rain was withheld and the clouds only served as a partial covering from the rays of the sun.

Long before the hour announced for the unveiling of the monument, crowds were pouring in from every avenue to the city until the public square was filled with a seething mass of human beings watching and waiting for the hour to arrive.

Soon the sound of martial music was heard with all eyes turned to the upper part of the square and as the parade drew near a company of 15 young ladies uniformed in white with red sashes, upon each of which was written the name of the state the wearer represented. These were preceded by the officers of the day and the First Artillery Band of the U.S. Army, while the old veterans brought up the rear under the command of that gallant and brave officer, J. Fuller Lyon.

As the column neared the Monument, the band struck up "Dixie" causing the "old rebel yell" to be given lustily.

This parade marched in and encircled the Monument, when the exercises were opened with prayer by Rev. Preston B. Wells of the Methodist church, after which Mrs. Lucy Calvert Thomson, President of the Abbeville Chapter of the U.D.C. was introduced, and
 
Abbeville County Confederate Monument - West Footstone Photo, Click for full size
By Brian Scott, June 6, 2009
7. Abbeville County Confederate Monument - West Footstone
 
standing upon the base of the Monument, she presented it to the city in a few well chosen words appropriate to the occasion.

Dr. G.A. Neuffer was then introduced and in a happy style and appropriate remarks received the Monument in behalf of the city. Then it was than Miss Mary Klugh and Miss Lucy White, daughters respectively of Judge J.C. Klugh and Mr. Charlie White, pulled the strings that unveiled the Monument, and the 15 young ladies representing the 15 states sang that beautiful patriotic air, "The Bonny Blue Flag" which called forth lusty cheers.

The exercises around the monument being over the crowd moved to the band stand in the pretty shaded park just in front of the Eureka...In the afternoon a match game of ball was played at the Abbeville diamond between Greenwood and Due West in the presence of a large crowd. The game was hotly contested from start to finish and wound up 6 to 4 in favor of Greenwood whose team played only 8 innings.

The day's pleasure concluded with a ball at the Eureka Hotel in the evening. The large hall was crowded and all had a happy time.
    — Submitted December 31, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

4. Original Monument Burns - Re-dedication of New Monument
Abbeville was the site of the first public secession meeting
 
"Big Bob" (left) and Confederate Monument (right) Photo, Click for full size
By Brian Scott, December 23, 2008
8. "Big Bob" (left) and Confederate Monument (right)
 
in South Carolina and the last meeting of the Confederate Cabinet. As early as November 1885, there had been talk among the citizens of Abbeville that a memorial to the Confederate soldiers of Abbeville District should be erected. The Abbeville Chapter of the U.D.C. was organized in 1896, its primary goal to erect a monument honoring Abbeville District's 350 war dead. Under the presidency of Lucy Calvert Thompson, this chapter gave numerous entertainments and, by February 1906, had raised $3,300 in contributions from the citizens of Abbeville. There was, however, considerable opposition to the monument project. At least two Abbeville newspaper editors argued that the money could better be spent on the Thornwell Orphanage and similar projects. Nevertheless, the U.D.C. met in the Abbeville County Courthouse on February 28,1906, to receive designs and bids for the monument. The U.D.C. selected a design submitted by the Butler Brothers Marble Company of Marietta, Georgia. The bid was for $3,000, and the design called for a spire to be mounted upon a suitable base. The contract called for a completion date of August that year. The Georgia Granite Company supplied the granite for the monument. Workmen hauled the pieces of the 90,000 pound monument by wagon from the railroad to Abbeville in July and early August 1906. H.B. Wade and J.M. Johnson erected the monument from its components.
 
Abbeville County Confederate Monument Photo, Click for full size
Abbeville County by the Abbeville County Historical Society, 1907
9. Abbeville County Confederate Monument
The fifth Abbeville County Courthouse can be seen to the right.
 


The U.D.C. began celebrating its success four days before the unveiling.

There were baseball games, a comedy show, and, on August 22, a reception on the lawn of the Starke mansion for the adults of Abbeville and their visitors. The next day, August 23, 1906, Abbeville prepared for the unveiling and dedication ceremony. A contemporary photograph showed a cloudy day with a large crowd filling the town square for the 11:00 a.m. ceremony. The First Artillery Band of the U.S. Army led the parade from the upper end of the square to the monument-an activity Abbevillians viewed as a gesture of unity on this day only forty-one years after war's end. Following the band came the speaker and officers of the day, then fifteen young ladies representing the twelve Confederate states plus Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland. Abbeville's Confederate veterans brought up the rear. As the column neared the monument, the band struck up "Dixie," and veterans raised the "old rebel yell."

The parade encircled the monument, which was covered by a massive, white cotton veil. The Reverend Preston B. Wells opened the exercises in prayer. Lucy Calvert Thompson, standing upon the base of the monument and speaking on behalf of the Abbeville U.D.C., presented the monument to the city and county. She said, "Care for, protect and honor this monument, teach your children and children's
 
Abbeville County Square<br>Original Confederate Monument in Center Photo, Click for full size
Historic Postcard, circa 1910
10. Abbeville County Square
Original Confederate Monument in Center
 
children to cherish and revere the memory of those who 'knew their rights and dared to maintain them.'" G.A. Neuffer, a city councilman, accepted the monument for Abbeville by saying, "In the name and (on) behalf of the City of Abbeville, I accept this monument and I promise you that the men of Abbeville will protect, defend and preserve it so long as time will last." As two young ladies drew the strings to unveil the monument, the fifteen young ladies sang "The Bonnie Blue Flag" and cheers arose from the crowd. The crowd then moved to a bandstand in a shaded area in front of Eureka Park.

In the bandstand, Robert R. Hemphill, a veteran of the Marshall Riflemen, Company G, Orr's First S.C. Rifle Regiment, introduced the popular Irish orator, James Armstrong, Jr. Armstrong had been captain of Charleston's Irish Volunteers, Company K, First (Gregg's) S.C. Volunteer Regiment and had suffered at least five wounds. He was captured at Sutherland Station on April 2, 1865, and held in a prison hospital for eleven months. His leg wound finally healed in 1871. Armstrong had recently been on the staff of Governor Wade Hampton and later became the Charleston harbormaster. He was highly prized as a dedicatory speaker at these events and spoke at unveilings in Abbeville, Anderson, Barnwell, Charleston, Kingstree, Lancaster, Manning, Orangeburg, Secessionville, Walterboro, and Williston.
 
Abbeville County Confederate Monument -<br>Court Square Under a Rare Snowfall Photo, Click for full size
Abbeville County by the Abbeville County Historical Society, 1920
11. Abbeville County Confederate Monument -
Court Square Under a Rare Snowfall
 
In his speech this day, Armstrong spoke of his fond recollections of many Abbevillians, including Jehu Foster Marshall and the Haskell brothers. He reminded the crowd that the monument was erected to express respect for the patriotic dead, not to renew sectional division. To the great delight of the old veterans, Jessie Boyce recited the poem, "The Conquered Banner," a poem by Father Abram J. Ryan, the poet priest of the South. Judge Simmons of Georgia wrote the inscriptions on the forty-foot obelisk, and the inscription on its north face bears a striking similarity to the words of "The Conquered Banner." An afternoon game of baseball and a large dance ball at the Eureka Hotel that evening brought the ceremonies to a close.

The large monument, with its ten-foot square base, is situated in its original location in the most prominent spot of the town square. The monument immediately became the centerpiece of Abbeville's beautiful downtown area. The U.D.C. and the city maintained the monument through the years. Unfortunately, a disaster altered its appearance.

In the 1940s, the town began the practice of erecting a "Christmas tree" of evergreens attached to a wooden scaffolding that surrounded the monument. At its November 1948 meeting, the City Council discussed decorating the monument itself. The Junior Chamber of Commerce proposed decorating it with evergreen
 
Abbeville Confederate Monument Photo, Click for full size
Historic Postcard, circa 1925
12. Abbeville Confederate Monument
 
bows strung with lights, and City Council agreed. Members of the Secession Chapter of the U.D.C., led by Robert Hemphill's daughter, Mary Hemphill Greene, strenuously objected, saying, "the monument is one of the handsomest in the state and is an ornament to the square. It is a sacrilege to have this monument to the men who served the Confederacy covered with a lot of green and a string of lights." The U.D.C's opposition grew from fears that decorating the monument would desecrate its meaning or inflict damage - a letter could be knocked off or the stone chipped. On November 25, 1948, the Press and Banner argued in favor of the Christmas greens saying, "The chance that the monument will suffer some permanent damage is small indeed." The U.D.C. enjoyed a brief victory with the abolition of the practice until 1956. That year, the city once again decided to decorate. Mary Greene had died in 1953, and attempts by her sister, Grace Hemphill Rogers, to renew support for opposition failed. In spite of occasional objections and a unanimous vote by the City Council to ban the practice in 1959, the decoration of the monument continued, and from 1956 until 1991, became a Christmas tradition and a tourist attraction as well. Each year, however, the debate continued. On April 9, 1974, the city finally decided by a two to one margin to continue the practice.

In the early morning hours
 
Civil War Reenactors Around the<br>Abbeville County Confederate Monument Photo, Click for full size
By Brian Scott, November 21, 2009
13. Civil War Reenactors Around the
Abbeville County Confederate Monument
 
of December 28, 1991, the Christmas greens caught fire. Damaged by the intense heat, many of the raised letters fell off, making some of the inscriptions illegible. The granite cracked and soot and smoke marred the monument's beauty. Fearing it would collapse and hurt someone, the upper eighteen-foot portion of the obelisk was removed. Because the U.D.C. considered restoration of the monument both undesirable and financially unfeasible, efforts at replacement began. The U.D.C argued that because it had presented the monument to the city, the city was responsible for its replacement. In 1976, a circuit court judge supported this argument and ruled that the city was responsible for any damage caused by the "Christmas tree" practice. The city unsuccessfully sought to have the damage covered under its insurance with the State of South Carolina. Estimates at replacement ran as high as $360,000.

Abbeville's monument is one of the few Confederate monuments in South Carolina that adorn a town square. Its location and the inherent beauty of its design made the original monument one of the "handsomest" in the state. These factors played a large part in the desire of the local U.D.C. chapters and the City of Abbeville to replace the monument with an exact replica. Dora Galinat, president of the Secession Chapter, and Claudia Whiten, president of the Mary Stark Davis Chapter, led
 
19th Century Musician-Reenactors <br>Performing at Monument's Base Photo, Click for full size
By Brian Scott, November 21, 2009
14. 19th Century Musician-Reenactors
Performing at Monument's Base
 
the effort. Benefactress Bessie Simpson Hanahan donated $83,000 toward the replacement cost of $350,000 in memory of her father, William Belk Simpson. On September 26, 1996, a time capsule was placed in the base of the new monument. It contained a piece of granite from the first monument, a Confederate battle flag, an Abbeville telephone book, and newspaper articles about the dedication and demise of the original monument. The new monument was erected on November 18, 1996, before a small crowd of onlookers. The Harmony Blue Granite Company of Elberton, Georgia, made the monument. Renowned artist Dario Franco Rossi, of Carrara, Italy, and Elberton, Georgia, hand sculpted it.

The dedication ceremony took place on December 14, 1996, at 11:00 a. m. The Abbeville High School Grenadier Band opened the ceremony at the Opera House with "The Grand Old Flag." The color guard from Company A, 111th Signal Battalion of the South Carolina Army National Guard presented the national and state flags. Reverend James J. Robinson, representing the Abbeville City Council, gave the invocation. Frances Lewis, chairman of the dedication ceremony committee and past vice president of the Secession Chapter of the U.D.C., was the mistress of ceremonies. South Carolina Representative Harry C. Stille introduced the keynote speaker, Thomas Woodham Highsmith, a great grandson of Lucy Calvert Thompson.
 
Abbeville County Confederate Monument -<br>During 2010 CityScape Renovation Photo, Click for full size
By Brian Scott, March 14, 2011
15. Abbeville County Confederate Monument -
During 2010 CityScape Renovation
 
The crowd then proceeded to the town square for the unveiling, which took place under a cloudless sky. The Grenadier Band played "God of Our Fathers," and Phil Turner read his poem, "Phoenix Stones." Bessie Lee Nance, treasurer of the dedication ceremony committee and past president of the Secession Chapter of the U.D.C., dedicated the monument. Fifteen Abbeville schoolgirls, wearing white gowns and red sashes, represented fourteen Southern states and Abbeville District. Julie Hall, representing South Carolina, and Amanda Strawhorne, representing Mississippi, drew the cords allowing the white acetate veil to fall from the monument. Dora Galinat and Claudie Whiten laid a wreath at the foot of the monument. Then Carl D. Hall, commander of the Olde Abbeville Camp of the S.C.V., and Paul Laird, descendant of an Abbeville Confederate soldier, placed wreaths at the base of the monument. One was made of flowers in the form of a battle flag; the other was the traditional Confederate wreath of magnolia. Mayor Joseph L. Savitz, Jr., then recognized Bessie Simpson Hanahan for her efforts, and she responded. After the colors were retired, Reverend Robinson offered the benediction, Frances Lewis gave a few closing remarks, and the band played "Shenandoah." The tone of the entire ceremony was one of unity in honoring Abbeville's rich Confederate history and in accomplishing the difficult task
 
Abbeville County Confederate Monument -<br>During 2010 CityScape Renovation Photo, Click for full size
By Brian Scott, March 14, 2011
16. Abbeville County Confederate Monument -
During 2010 CityScape Renovation
 
of replacing her beautiful monument. (Source: A Guide to Confederate Monuments in South Carolina: "Passing the Silent Cup" by Robert S. Seigler (1997), pgs. 26-29.)
    — Submitted February 4, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

5. Violence at the 1906 Unveiling
According to the Keowee Courier, September 12, 1906:

"On the occasion of the unveiling of the Confederate monument negroes got so boisterous that it was necessary to knock a few in the head and run others out of town and it is said a riot was narrowly averted."

This quote came from an article about the closing of Harbison College, a black school located in Abbeville. The school was closed just a few days after the erection of the monument. The college president's house is listed in the National Register and has its own entry.
    — Submitted December 12, 2012, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.
 
Abbeville County Confederate Monument Photo, Click for full size
By Brian Scott, September 27, 2011
17. Abbeville County Confederate Monument
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on July 21, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 5,836 times since then. Last updated on September 8, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 21, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   3, 4. submitted on November 8, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   5. submitted on July 21, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   6, 7. submitted on November 8, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   8. submitted on December 26, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   9. submitted on November 16, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   10. submitted on November 14, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   11. submitted on November 8, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   12. submitted on November 14, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   13, 14. submitted on November 21, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   15, 16. submitted on March 31, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   17. submitted on November 20, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
 
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