Old Confederate Veterans camp re-chartered


The meeting for the newly chartered Sons of Confederate’s Emma Sansom Camp No. 253 will be held on Thursday, Aug. 14 at 6 p.m. at the Etowah Historical Society located in the Elliott Community Center at 29th Street and Meighan Boulevard (U.S. 431) in Gadsden. The historical society genealogist will help in finding your Confederate ancestor in order to join and become a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

The old Sons of the Confederate Veterans camp No. 275 in Gadsden recently was re-chartered by now-Commander Michael Nelson and Adjutant Andy Kirkland.

It all began in mid-October of 1889. The Etowah County Courthouse was the site where about 70 Confederate veterans of the county met to organize the Confederate Veterans’ Association of Etowah County. The veterans elected officers for the association and made plans to attend an upcoming state convention to be held in the latter part of the month.

Chairman of the meeting was Captain A.L. Woodliff and L.E. Hamlin was secretary. Those men appointed to serve on a committee of by-laws and constitution were R.A.D. Dunlap, J.R. Hughes and Opal Christopher.

The veterans authorized Captain Woodliff to obtain badges for the dele-gates, and any others, who planned to attend the state convention on Oct. 29, 1889 in Birmingham.

The members appointed 19 veterans as delegates to the state convention included James Anderson, W.B. Beason, Opal Christopher, W.H. Denson, R.A.D. Dunlap, J. Edwards, A.L. Glenn, Robert Hasson, J.R. Hughley, M.L. McDaniel, J.M. Moragne, W.R. Myrick, J.S. Paden, R.B. Rhea, John Stowers, J.D. Sublett, G.B. Wade, Robert Whorton and A.L. Woodliff.

The association announced that the next county meeting would be Dec. 9, 1889, at the Etowah County Courthouse.

In June of 1893 in Gadsden, Emma Sansom Camp of Confederate Veterans No. 275 was organized. The members named this organization in honor of Emma Sansom, a young girl from Etowah County who helped Confederate General Nathan B. Forrest in his pursuit of Union troops.

The new organization of the Emma Sansom Camp replaced the earlier group of the Confederate Veterans’ Association of Etowah County, which was dissolved by resolution of its members. The Emma Sansom Camp became one of the largest and most influential camps in the state of Alabama. 

As death took its toll on the old veterans, membership in many camps dwindled, and the few surviving men joined the Emma Sansom Camp that remained active until almost the last member had died. The Emma Sansom Camp twice entertained the state reunion.

Officers were elected at the organizational meeting in 1893. Elected as commandant was Judge James A. Aiken. J.R. Hughes was elected as adjutant and A.L. Glenn as quartermaster.

In addition to Aiken, Hughes and Glenn, those who attended the June 1893 meeting were James E. Alford, J.R. Anderson, Joseph Bevans, Isaac Paxton Booker, James T. Brooks, John T. Cathey, Opal Christopher, W.P. Cramer, L.W. Dean, R.A.D. Dunlap, B.F. Erwin, Alfred Fitts, J.L. Fletcher, T.C. Galloway, D.P. Goodhue, L.E. Hamlin, Robert Hasson, R.R. Jelks, R.B. Kyle, W.H. Lovins, P.M. McCluney, Joe A. McCluney, E.A. Nelson, B.H. Nicholson, Benjamin F. Pope, T.J. Reams, R.F. Thornton, J.T. Walker, William M. Whorton and A.L. Woodliff.

Around 1907 or after, when the new Emma Sansom statue was completed, the members met again at the courthouse on 4th and Broad streets and posed for a picture. The veterans then walked to the Sansom statue, where they had their photo taken. Another photo was made in 1926.

After many years, many of the members had passed on. In March 1919, John F. Adams, Secretary of the Emma Sansom Camp U. C. V. of Gadsden, made inquiry where he could procure a memorial roll or scroll suitable for recording the names of the camp members as they passed away, including record of service, etc., to be framed and kept in the Veteran’s Hall. This inquiry was passed on in the hope that some other camp members might be found.

The citizen-soldiers who fought for the Confederacy personified the best qualities of America. The preservation of liberty and freedom was the motivating factor in the South’s decision to fight the Second American Revolution. The tenacity that Confederate soldiers fought with underscored their belief in the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. These attributes are the underpinning of our democratic society and represent the foundation on which this nation was built.

Today, the Sons of Confederate Veterans is preserving the history and legacy of these heroes so that future generations may understand the motives that animated the Southern Cause.

The SCV is the direct heir of the United Confederate Veterans, and the oldest hereditary organization for male descendents of Confederate soldiers. Organized at Richmond, Va., in 1896, the SCV continues to serve as a historical, patriotic, and non-political organization dedicated to ensuring that a true history of the 1861-1865 period is preserved. Membership in the Sons of Confederate Veterans is open to all male descendants of any veteran who served honorably in the Confederate armed forces.

The early Confederate Veterans camp was one of the largest in the South. Michael Nelson stated that his great-great granddaddy was a part of the camp and even helped form it. Michael renamed the Gadsden SCV camp in their honor as well, as Miss Emma Sansom. 

For more information on how to become a member, please contact Commander Michael Nelson at (256) 504-4123. 

Michael wants to again make this one of the largest camps as his grandfathers did over 100 years ago. Let’s make it happen.

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