Southern Iron Cross dedication slated for Saturday

Hamilton Wade Chapter #949 United Daughters of the Confederacy ® will hold a Southern Iron Cross Dedication at New Dublin Presbyterian Church Cemetery May 6 at 11 a.m. Everyone is invited but bring a chair.

They will be honoring 25 Confederate Veterans:

  • 3rd Corporal Robert R. Barton Co. C, 1st Reg’t Va. Cavalry
  • George Spencer Baskerville Co. F, 54th Va. Infantry
  • John Barbour Baskerville MD (2nd) Co. F, 14th Reg’t Va. Cavalry
  • James Randall Kent Bentley Co. C, 4th Va. Infantry (Pulaski Guards)
  • Major Joseph Cloyd Purchasing Agent for Southwestern District Va. CSA
  • Henry Charlton Wysor 45th Va. Inf. & Co. F, 54th Va. Inf.
  • Captain John Robert Dunlap Co. I, 36th Va. Inf. Co. B, 23rd Batt’n Va. Inf.
  • Lt. Colonel McGavock R. Goodwyn 15th Louisiana Regiment (Crescent Blues)
  • George Washington Wysor Co. C, 4th Va. Reserves (Preston’s Batt’n)
  • Edgar D. Withrow Co. E, 14th Va. Cavalry McCausland Brigade
  • Joseph Acy Hall Barr’s Battery Va. Field Artillery
  • Alexander (Elkhana) (Alex) Hinkle Co. H, 30th Va. Sharpshooters (Cark’s Battalion) James Miller (Wysor) Weiser Co. F, 54th Va. Infantry
  • Elbridge Gerry Stevens Co. B, 5th Regt. Va. Cavalry
  • William Henry Harrison Hinkle Co. C, 52nd Va. Infantry
  • Haven Boyd Howe (2nd ) Co. F, 14th Reg’t Va. Cavalry
  • Joseph Howe Sayers Co. E, 24th V. Infantry
  • Birdine Gunn Ritter Co. F, 54th Va. Infantry
  • Joseph Gordan Kent Co. C, 4th Va. Infantry (Pulaski Guards)
  • 4th Sgt. Charles Henry King Co. E, 24th Va. Infantry (Kimpers Brigade, Pickett’s Division)
  • 1st Lt. Andrew Moore Co. H, 22nd Va. Infantry (Kanawha Riflemen)
  • Sebastian W. Miller Co. F, 54th Va. Infantry
  • Maurice Daniel Langhorne Co. C, VMI New Market Cadet
  • Capt. Stephen Taylor Martin Co. B, Va. Light Artillery
  • David Shall McGavock Co. C, 4th Va. Reserves (Preston’s Batt’n)

The New Dublin Presbyterian Church was founded in 1769 and is the oldest Protestant church west of the Allegheny’s. Tradition says that Mary Gordon would not consent to marriage and move to this wilderness country from her home in Rockbridge County unless Joseph Cloyd promised, as soon as they were comfortably settled, he would have a Presbyterian church built in which they could worship in a manner to which she had been accustomed. In 1773, Joseph Cloyd donated the land that remains the property of New Dublin Presbyterian Church. James Reed may have built the first building, a simple log structure, with split logs serving as seats. Regular services began around 1782. In 1816, Rev. Samuel McNutt served as pastor.

A second sanctuary was built in the 1830’s about fifty feet square, made of brick by James Darst and William Guthrie, with a roof that ran up from all sides to a point in the center.

By 1837, the issue of slavery had divided the Presbyterian Church and the congregation at New Dublin. While the church was opposed to slavery, the church roll included slave holders and also slaves are listed as members as early as 1851. The slaves would have used the balcony when attending services

The church felt the effect of the War Between the States. With the nearby Dublin Depot serving as the headquarters for the army of Southwest Virginia, many members of the congregation fought in the Confederate army or contributed as citizens. During the winter of 1863-1864 and until May 9, 1864, Gen. Albert Jenkins and his cavalry brigade are said to have encamped on the church grounds.

The Southern Iron Cross of Honor is patterned after a medal that was conceived in 1898. The idea of bestowing a medal of honor of some kind to living Confederate veterans was conceived in Atlanta in July 1898 by a woman, from Athens, Georgia, at a reunion of Confederate veterans. She and a female friend from Atlanta are credited with designing the medal. The medal, known as the Southern Cross of Honor Medal, was authorized by the United Daughters of the Confederacy to be awarded to any Confederate Veteran who had provided “loyal, honorable service to the South and was given in recognition of this devotion.” The medal could only be bestowed through the UDC; money could not buy the medal. The medal could only be worn by a Confederate Veteran. Today, several states, including Virginia, enforce codes declaring it a Class 3 misdemeanor, punishable by a substantial fine, to “wear any Southern Cross of Honor Medal when not entitled to do so by the regulations under which such Crosses of Honor were given.”

The first Southern Cross of Honor Medal was bestowed in 1900 and, by 1913, there were 78,761 awarded. The last such medal was presented in 1959 posthumously to Rear Admiral Raphael Semmes. As there are no living Confederate veterans, no one should be wearing the Southern Cross of Honor Medal.

As Confederate veterans aged and died, there was a deep desire throughout the South to somehow permanently recognize the grave sites of these veterans. Different concepts and various designs were contemplated, but it was decided to pattern a grave marker after the Southern Cross of Honor Medal. And so evolved the Southern Iron Cross of Honor grave marker.

The Iron Cross grave marker is a two-sided, cast iron replica of the medal. The 11” x 11” cross stands atop an 18” metal stake that is permanently secured in the ground at the foot of the veteran’s grave. On the front of the marker are the dates 1861 and 1865, representing the beginning and ending years of the War Between the States. Also on the front are the Latin words “Deo Vindice”.

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— Submitted by Rhonda Fleming