ECW: New Scholar, Sam Florer, doing a talk in Richmond on local Monuments

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NH Civil War Gal

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https://emergingcivilwar.com/2019/04/04/emerging-scholar-sam-florer/#more-181463

The small town of Fort Mill, South Carolina stands on the ancestral land of the Catawba Indians. By the time of the Civil War, the Catawba’s population had been reduced to barely more than one hundred members. Nonetheless, when fighting broke out in 1861, a majority of their military-age males volunteered to fight in the Confederate army.

Catawba-Indian-Memorial.jpg

photo by Michael Sean Nix from www.hmdb.org.

Forty years later, in the summer of 1900, Fort Mill unveiled a limestone monument to Catawba Indians who served the Confederate cause. My work seeks to explore the impetus behind this monument’s creation. I discovered that it served two primary purposes: it was unique in that the design and message of the monument served a local purpose by using images of the white population’s version of Catawba history and culture to help alleviate the fear of social and economic change; and it was representative in that it bolstered the ideals of Lost Cause ideology that swept the country at the turn of the twentieth century.
 

Andersonh1

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I lived down the road from Fort Mill while I was going to college. It's a quiet little town, or was... being between Rock Hill and Charlotte NC, it has grown tremendously in the last 20 years. I was not aware of these monuments at the time (and not interested in the Civil War at that point) or I'd certainly have gone to see them.

These monuments made the newspapers when they were dedicated, and got some mention later on.

Yorkville enquirer. [volume] (Yorkville, S.C.) 1855-2006, May 20, 1896
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Fort Mill times. (Fort Mill, S.C.) 1892-current, August 19, 1915
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Andersonh1

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https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article171116322.html

Descendants of slaves in the Fort Mill area say that monument should stay right where it is.​
“That time in history happened. We can’t go back and change that,” said Fort Mill native Weldon Harris.” “My read on that monument is that it was done for atonement.”​
As the descendants of the family planned a reunion last year, research found Harris’ great-grandfather, Handy White, was born a slave around 1832 and is one of the “faithful slaves” honored on the white stone.​
Harris said he sees the monument as unique to blacks who were slaves and survived enslavement. That doesn’t make the Confederate cause of trying to keep slavery is any more tolerable, Harris said. He said black people who were part of the Confederate service – as cooks, servants and soldiers – did so out of fear of retaliation or retribution from their masters, and were ordered to do so because they were not free.​
“I am proud that my great-grandfather survived it,” said Harris, 53, who now lives in northern Virginia not far from Charlottesville. “I am not embarrassed.”​
The Fort Mill monument went up in 1895 and states “1860 Dedicated to the faithful slaves who, loyal to a sacred trust, toiled for the support of the Army. With matchless devotion and with sterling fidelity guarded our defenseless homes, women and children during the struggle for principles of our Confederate States of America. 1865.”​
It is one of only three monuments across America honoring slaves – another is in West Virginia, the other in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, according to Smithsonian Magazine.​
Daniel Watts, 80, also is a great-grandson of White. Daniel is the first African-American to serve on the Fort Mill Town Council and Fort Mill school board. Until recently, Watts said, like others, he overlooked the monument. The subject never came up during his time on council, he said.​
“I agree it should stay up and be there for people to see and understand that is where we came from,” Watts said. “This is my great-grandfather Handy White on here. This is where I came from. This is me.”​
 
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https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article171116322.html

Descendants of slaves in the Fort Mill area say that monument should stay right where it is.​
“That time in history happened. We can’t go back and change that,” said Fort Mill native Weldon Harris.” “My read on that monument is that it was done for atonement.”​
As the descendants of the family planned a reunion last year, research found Harris’ great-grandfather, Handy White, was born a slave around 1832 and is one of the “faithful slaves” honored on the white stone.​
Harris said he sees the monument as unique to blacks who were slaves and survived enslavement. That doesn’t make the Confederate cause of trying to keep slavery is any more tolerable, Harris said. He said black people who were part of the Confederate service – as cooks, servants and soldiers – did so out of fear of retaliation or retribution from their masters, and were ordered to do so because they were not free.​
“I am proud that my great-grandfather survived it,” said Harris, 53, who now lives in northern Virginia not far from Charlottesville. “I am not embarrassed.”​
The Fort Mill monument went up in 1895 and states “1860 Dedicated to the faithful slaves who, loyal to a sacred trust, toiled for the support of the Army. With matchless devotion and with sterling fidelity guarded our defenseless homes, women and children during the struggle for principles of our Confederate States of America. 1865.”​
It is one of only three monuments across America honoring slaves – another is in West Virginia, the other in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, according to Smithsonian Magazine.​
Daniel Watts, 80, also is a great-grandson of White. Daniel is the first African-American to serve on the Fort Mill Town Council and Fort Mill school board. Until recently, Watts said, like others, he overlooked the monument. The subject never came up during his time on council, he said.​
“I agree it should stay up and be there for people to see and understand that is where we came from,” Watts said. “This is my great-grandfather Handy White on here. This is where I came from. This is me.”​
Anderson,

I am familiar with the article you cite above. I have always been intrigued by the statement from Fort Mill native Weldon Harris that “My read on that monument is that it was done for atonement.”

I have done some cursory research on monuments in the US which express some kind of sorrow for slavery, and I haven't found any. Although there are anti-slavery monuments, such as those for the Underground Railroad and 19th century anti-slavery figures such as Douglass, Truth, and Tubman, I've never seen any memorialized expression that something "wrong" had been done to enslaved people.

Just reading the monument inscription, I see no evidence that it was intended for atonement. The clippings you provide seem to be about commemorating the loyal service of slaves, not expressing sorrow for having done something to them.

Q: Have you seen any evidence in the press that this or any other monument was intended to atone for... something... regarding slaves and slavery?

- Alan
 

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Also of interest:

Monuments to Absence: Cherokee Removal and the Contest over Southern Memory
by Andrew Denson; Published: February 2017

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AWARDS & DISTINCTIONS
2018 Malcolm and Muriel Barrow Bell Award, Georgia Historical Society

The 1830s forced removal of Cherokees from their southeastern homeland became the most famous event in the Indian history of the American South, an episode taken to exemplify a broader experience of injustice suffered by Native peoples. In this book, Andrew Denson explores the public memory of Cherokee removal through an examination of memorials, historic sites, and tourist attractions dating from the early twentieth century to the present.

White southerners, Denson argues, embraced the Trail of Tears as a story of Indian disappearance. Commemorating Cherokee removal affirmed white possession of southern places, while granting them the moral satisfaction of acknowledging past wrongs. During segregation and the struggle over black civil rights, removal memorials reinforced whites' authority to define the South's past and present. Cherokees, however, proved capable of repossessing the removal memory, using it for their own purposes during a time of crucial transformation in tribal politics and U.S. Indian policy.

In considering these representations of removal, Denson brings commemoration of the Indian past into the broader discussion of race and memory in the South.


- Alan
 
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Andersonh1

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I found this, which doesn't tell us a lot, but there are a few details.

http://sites.rootsweb.com/~scyork/LouisePettus/catawba.htm

Downtown Fort Mill has a vest-pocket sized park, known as Confederate Park, with four interesting statues. Capt. Samuel Elliott White had a hand in the building of all of them.​
The first statue, dedicated on December 22, 1891, has a 6-ft statue of a Confederate soldier topping a 9-ft base. S. E. White conceived the idea of having a subscription drive among veterans and their families to pay for the statue which has 170 names of Civil War veterans from Fort Mill township. It was the first South Carolina upcountry Confederate soldier statue.​
Two monuments were unveiled on May 21, 1895. White paid for both. One was dedicated to the women of the Confederacy in honor of their work and support on the home front. The other, 13-ft tall and of fine quality Italian marble, was dedicated to the faithful slaves, the only such statue anywhere.​
Five years later, John McKee Spratt teamed up with Captain White to erect a statue honoring the services of the Catawba Indians during the war. The Rev. James H. Thornwell gave a history and a reason for the monument.​
Spratt had sent conveyances out to the reservation to bring in a number of Catawba Indians, including all the surviving veterans. Ben Harris, son of a Confederate veteran, had written his own speech for the occasion. Among other things, Harris said, “Love makes the Indian a friend of the white man.” He added that love had prompted White and Spratt to build the monument to the Catawba Indians.​
Harris said, “If white man had done Indian justice like White and Spratt a good many of them would have been educated and able to make a good speech.” He then predicted that within 50 years, the Catawbas would be educated enough to make as good a speech as the white man.​
Billy Harris, another Catawba, spoke next. He thanked the ladies of Fort Mill for the good meal and reminded his audience that the Catawbas had fought against the white men of South Carolina only once. His reference was to a Catawba alliance with other southeastern Indians during the Yemassee Wars in 1715-17. The Indians were fighting about the manner in which they were treated by unscrupulous traders and white encroachment on their hunting lands.​
Rev. A. L. Stough spoke next. He said that the Catawbas had much to teach the whites. Stough thought that we should not forget that the great Catawba chief King Haigler sent the first prohibition petition on record to Justice Hanley of the S. C. Supreme Court.​
A photograph was taken of the Indians around the monument. Does that photograph still exist?​
The limestone monument to the Indians stands 10 1/2 ft atop a 4-ft brick foundation. A prairie scene is carved on one side showing a buffalo in the foreground. On the opposite side a wood land scene shows turkeys feeding. Above, is the statue of a crouching Indian beside a stump with a bow drawn as if he has just killed a deer.​
One of the inscriptions reads, “Erected to the Catawba Indians by Sam’l Elliott White and John McKee Spratt. The latter is a descendant of Thos. ‘Kanawah’ Spratt and the former a descendant of Wm. Elliott, two of the first settlers in this portion of the Indian Land (1755). On the opposite side is a history of the Catawba Tribe.​
On the east side: “Some noted Catawbas—King Haigler, Gen. New River, Gen. Jim Kegg, Col. David Harris, Major John Joe, Capt. Billie George, Lieut. Phillips Kegg, Sallie New River, Pollie Ayrers, Peter Harris. On the west side is the names of 17 Catawbas who fought in the Confederate army.​
Samuel Elliott White not only donated the four statues (and the land on which they stand) to the town of Fort Mill, he also founded the town’s first cotton mill, the Fort Mill Manufacturing Co., forerunner of Springs Industries, Inc.​
 
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Andersonh1

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I would say that given how unique this Fort Mill "faithful slave" monument is, that it has to be considered as a personal expression by S. E. White. A thousand memorials to Confederate soldiers and well known Confederate leaders could be considered products of a mass movement, but a lone monument is something else, in my opinion.

See below the link for another article from the 1896 dedication. The defense of the "faithful slave" is uncomfortable reading, but in reading up some on Polk Miller, this appears to have been typical for him. He's an interesting person to read about, a former Confederate soldier and musician who was, as was often typical for the time, a white supremacist, who nevertheless recorded music and went on tour with a black quartet and attempted to preserve some of that culture. The article from NPR credits him with being nearly unique for taking the music seriously rather than playing it as a minstrel show would. It's interesting to see that he traveled all the way to Fort Mill, South Carolina to speak at this monument dedication.

https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120398673

Anyway, here's the monument dedication article:

Yorkville enquirer. [volume] (Yorkville, S.C.) 1855-2006, May 27, 1896
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Who knew my posting of this Emerging Civil War article would bring up so much but it did! Thank you again @Andersonh1 for sussing this all out. I'd like to be able to talk to Captain White to figure out what made him tick on this. I'm glad he could appreciate what Negros did for him and others. Yet there were 100s if not 1000s of others of that same rank and higher and they didn't put up monuments, so what made him different? That's what I would like to know. The idea of the "Faithful Slave" may be uncomfortable for us but only because we are looking at it with 21st century eyes. I bet the idea of him putting up a monument to faithful slaves was considered extraordinary by the whites of his time. And what caught my attention was all the information he put on the monument too, and the names - usually the slaves or ex-slaves are just nameless. Captain White has given us an extraordinary amount of information on the faithful slaves. I'm glad he had an appreciation for a people that was far ahead of his time.

Polk Miller is very interesting. He's interesting in that he collects and is interested in African American music yet it is a means to end for him. The Blacks stay nameless - we don't even know if they were ex-slaves nor does he care. It would be interesting to talk to him too but he isn't going to be one to put a monument up to the faithful slave.
 

Andersonh1

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Who knew my posting of this Emerging Civil War article would bring up so much but it did! Thank you again @Andersonh1 for sussing this all out. I'd like to be able to talk to Captain White to figure out what made him tick on this. I'm glad he could appreciate what Negros did for him and others. Yet there were 100s if not 1000s of others of that same rank and higher and they didn't put up monuments, so what made him different? That's what I would like to know.
I agree, I'd be interested in more of his thoughts. We only get a little from the Yorkville article. I'll see if I can find anything else.

Yorkville Enquirer:​
Resolutions of thanks to Captain White by the Jeff Davis Memorial association, the ladies of Fort Mill, and the ex-slaves were read. Although unexpected, they called for an answer, and Captain White made one that was fully equal to the occasion. He said no thanks were due to him; but to God who had given him the means and put the idea into his heart.​

The idea of the "Faithful Slave" may be uncomfortable for us but only because we are looking at it with 21st century eyes. I bet the idea of him putting up a monument to faithful slaves was considered extraordinary by the whites of his time. And what caught my attention was all the information he put on the monument too, and the names - usually the slaves or ex-slaves are just nameless. Captain White has given us an extraordinary amount of information on the faithful slaves. I'm glad he had an appreciation for a people that was far ahead of his time.
I agree. I have no doubt S. E. White genuinely felt the gratitude he was expressing. That he felt strongly enough about the former slaves to spend his own money for a monument and to name them on it is evidence of that.
 
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Andersonh1

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Here's something about the Catawba monument. White suggests it, and the newspaper agrees and goes on to offer some opinions:

Yorkville enquirer. [volume] (Yorkville, S.C.) 1855-2006, May 29, 1896
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I really think Captain White is amazing. Whatever caused his consciousness to awaken after the war - or it may always have been awaken - and he just finally had the means to commemorate it is to be applauded. I'm sure there were others in the South who felt the same way who didn't have the means and others who, unfortunately, had the means but didn't have the follow through, same as anywhere in the country.

Even the newspaper articles seem to be surprised by what he is doing and in commemorating the Catawbas. I wonder if anything was ever done for them.
 

Andersonh1

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Even the newspaper articles seem to be surprised by what he is doing and in commemorating the Catawbas. I wonder if anything was ever done for them.
I need to look into the history of the Catawba Indians. I was going through my newspaper articles earlier, and there's an annual speech by Governor Pickens in 1861 where one of the things he recommends is that the state take care of the "remnant" of the Catawbas. That's forty years before the monument was built. Sounds like the tribe was a long term concern of some in SC.
 
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[QUOTE="Andersonh1, post: 2021984, member: 16747"]I need to look into the history of the Catawba Indians. I was going through my newspaper articles earlier, and there's an annual speech by Governor Pickens in 1861 where one of the things he recommends is that the state take care of the "remnant" of the Catawbas. That's forty years before the monument was built. Sounds like the tribe was a long term concern of some in SC.[/QUOTE]

@diane may be helpful, I believe I read in an earlier thread that she had spent time in her youth living among the Catawbas. I believe one of her grandmothers was a Catawba.
 

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CSA Today, thanks for the heads up - I missed this altogether!

I'm part Catawba on my dad's side and a direct descendant of half the people mentioned on the Ft Mills monument in Confederate Park. Granny made sure we checked it out and it has always been interesting to me. It also has evolving meaning, and I think that's true of most monuments of this sort. On one hand, the handful of able-bodied Catawbas who served the Confederacy signed up directly after the Star of the West was fired on - it's a mixed story, too. Some say they did so willingly, others say they were coerced - but why-ever they sided with the Confederacy they did not do it halfway. These were with the Catawba Home Guard. I have other relations who served with the Palmetto Sharpshooters and with the 12th SC infantry, one of the most famous fighting units in the war. All of them were shot up and most partly or totally disabled, and Sherman had blithely given freedmen Indian lands. That's why Gov Pickney said the Catawba should be taken care of.

As I mentioned, the meaning of the monument at Ft Mill has different facets. On one hand, it can be considered the most demeaning and condescending 'good boy!' slap in the face ever, or a genuine thank-you to the 'colored folks' of SC for standing up for the Confederates - in the context of its times. I sure don't see atonement - I don't believe Mr White saw anything to atone for as most of the Confederates didn't. I believe it should stay where it is, as it is since it is rather self-explanatory. It's one of those items from our past and our collective history that should be interpreted within each person. I don't find it offensive, just a tad puzzling.
 

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I hope this never goes down the “offensive” road. I hope the monument stays where it is. At first I was glad there was going to be a talk about it but now I’m a bit concerned that this obscure monument will now be on the radar. Sigh....
 
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