Father Abram Joseph Ryan, "Poet-Priest of the Confederacy".

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donna

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Abram Joseph Ryan was probably born on Feb. 5, 1838 in Hagerstown, Maryland, the son of Irish immigrants. There is some debate on the date and place, as some claim he born a year later in Norfolk, Virginia. Ryan and his family went to St. Louis, Missouri. He was educated at the Christian Brothers School. He then went to Niagra University in New York to study for the priesthood. He was ordained a priest on Nov. 1, 1856 in the Vincentian order.

Father Ryan was a southerner to the core. He enlisted in Confederate Army in 1862 and served as a Chaplain throughout the conflict. It is believed he was at the Battles of Lookout Mtn. and Missionary Ridge. There is well-authenticated service at Battle of Franklin and Battle of Nashville.

His first pieces of poetry, "In Memoriam" and "In Memory of My Brother", were inspired by the death of his younger brother who was serving in the Confederacy in April, 1863 near Mt. Sterling, Ky.

After the war, he moved to several parishs in the South. He finally settled at St. Mary's parish in Mobile, Alabama. There he established a weekly literary magazine called "The Banner of the South". Most of his poetry was published in the magazine. He also published poetry of fellow-southerners, James Ryder Randall, Paul Hamilton Hayne and Sidney Lanier as well as an early story by Mark Twain.

He also put out several volumes of verse, including "Father Ryan's Poems" and "A Crown for Our Queen".

Father Ryan died on April 22, 186 at a Monastery in Louisville, Ky. His body was returned to St. Mary's in Mobile and he is buried at the Catholic Cemetery in Mobile, Alabama. A stained glass window was placed in the Confederate Memorial Hall in New Orleans in his memory.
 

donna

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Father Ryan's death year should be 1886.

His most famous poem is "The Conquered Banner".

"Furl that Banner, for 'tis weary;
Round its staff 'tis drooping dreary;
Furl it, fold it, it is best;
For there's not a man to wave it,
And there's not a sword to save it,
And there's no one left to lave it
In the blood that heroes gave it;
And its foes now scorn and brave it;
Furl it, hide it--let it rest!

Take that banner down! 'tis tattered;
Broken is its shaft and shattered;
And the valiant hosts are scattered
Over whom it floated high.
oh! 'tis hard for us to fold it;
Hard to think there's none to hold it;
Hard that those who once unrolled it
Now must furl it with a sigh.

Furl that banner. furl it sadly!
Once ten thousands hailed it gladly.
And ten thousands wildly, madly,
Swore it should forever wave;
Swore that foeman's sword should never
Hearts like theirs entwined disserver.
Till that flag should float forever
O'er their freedom or their grave!

Furl it! for the hands that grasped it,
And the hearts that fondly clasped it,
Cold and dead are lying low;
And that Banner--it is trailing!
While around it sounds the wailing
Of its people in their woe.

For though conquered, they adore it!
Love the cold, dead hands that bore it!
Weep for those who fell before it!
Pardon those who trailed and tore it!
But, oh! wildly they deplored it!
Now who furl and fold it so.

Furl that Banner! True, 'tis gory,
Yet 'tis wreathed around with glory,
And 'twill live in song and story,
Though its folds are in the dust;
For its fame on brightest pages,
Penned by poets and by sages,
Shall go sounding down the ages--
Furl its folds though now we must.

Furl that banner, softly, slowly!
Treat it gently--it is holy--
For it droops above the dead.
Touch it not--unfold it never,
Let it droop there, furled forever,
For its people's hopes are dead!"
 
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donna

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Another poem by Father Ryan that I like is"

"The Sword of Robert Lee"

"Forth from its scabbard, pure and bright,
Flashed the sword of Lee!
Far in the front of the deadly fight,
High o'er the brave in the cause of Right
Its stainless sheen, like a beacon light,
Led us to Victory!


Out of its scabbard, where, full long,
It slumbered peacefully,
Roused from its rest by the battle's song,
Shielding the feeble, smiting the strong,
Guarding the right, avenging the wrong,
Gleamed the sword of Lee!

Forth from its scabbard, high in the air
Beneath Virginia's sky--
And they who saw it gleaming there,
And knew who bore it, knelt to swear
That where that sword led they would dare
To follow--and to die!

Out of its scabbard! Never hand
Waved sword from stain as free,
Nor purer sword led braver band,
Nor braver bled for a brighter land,
Nor brighter land had a cause so grand,
Nor cause a chief like Lee!

Forth from its scabbard! How we prayed
That sword might victor be;
And when our triumph was delayed,
And many a heart grew sore afraid,
We still hoped on while gleamed the blade
Of noble Robert Lee!

Forth from its scabbard all in vain
Bright flashed the sword of Lee;
'Tis shrouded now in its sheath again,
It sleeps the sleep of our noble slain,
Defeated, yet without stain,
Proudly and peacefully!"
 

TerryB

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The original Father Ryan High School in Nashville was built on land that once belonged to an ancestor I've written a few articles about. His name was Ed Buford of Clack's 3rd Tenn Inf. The original estate was named Burlington in the 1850s, but Ed built a house adjacent to it in the 1880s and called it "By-Ma" because his mother-in-law lived at Burlington. Father Ryan was built on the land in the 1930s, but relocated some years back.
 
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donna

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I have been reading more on Father Ryan and poetry of the Confederacy.

"The Conquered Banner" by Father Ryan was the most popular poem of post-Civil war Confederate poems. Father Ryan wrote it in Knoxville, Tennessee right after General Lee surrendered at Appomattox. Father Ryan said: " When my mind was engrossed with the thought of our dead soldiers and our dead Cause", I wrote this poem.

There is statue of Father Ryan in Father Ryan Park in Mobile, Alabama. It is pictured at http://thesouthsdefender.blogspot.com/2010/04/reflections-on-father-ryan-on-easter.html

Other poems by Father Ryan are:

C.S.A.
March of the Deadless Dead
The Prayer of the South
A Land Without Pain.

These poems plus The Sword of Robert Lee, and The Conquered Banner are at:

http://csapartisan.com/confederatepoetry.html
 
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Abram Joseph Ryan was probably born on Feb. 5, 1838 in Hagerstown, Maryland, the son of Irish immigrants. There is some debate on the date and place, as some claim he born a year later in Norfolk, Virginia. Ryan and his family went to St. Louis, Missouri. He was educated at the Christian Brothers School. He then went to Niagra University in New York to study for the priesthood. He was ordained a priest on Nov. 1, 1856 in the Vincentian order.

Father Ryan was a southerner to the core. He enlisted in Confederate Army in 1862 and served as a Chaplain throughout the conflict. It is believed he was at the Battles of Lookout Mtn. and Missionary Ridge. There is well-authenticated service at Battle of Franklin and Battle of Nashville.

His first pieces of poetry, "In Memoriam" and "In Memory of My Brother", were inspired by the death of his younger brother who was serving in the Confederacy in April, 1863 near Mt. Sterling, Ky.

After the war, he moved to several parishs in the South. He finally settled at St. Mary's parish in Mobile, Alabama. There he established a weekly literary magazine called "The Banner of the South". Most of his poetry was published in the magazine. He also published poetry of fellow-southerners, James Ryder Randall, Paul Hamilton Hayne and Sidney Lanier as well as an early story by Mark Twain.

He also put out several volumes of verse, including "Father Ryan's Poems" and "A Crown for Our Queen".

Father Ryan died on April 22, 186 at a Monastery in Louisville, Ky. His body was returned to St. Mary's in Mobile and he is buried at the Catholic Cemetery in Mobile, Alabama. A stained glass window was placed in the Confederate Memorial Hall in New Orleans in his memory.
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=ryan&GSfn=abram&GSbyrel=all&GSdyrel=all&GSob=n&GRid=7494769&df=all&
 
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There are two new and worthy biographies of Ryan for those who are interested: Poet of the Lost Cause: A Life of Father Ryan by Don Beagle and Bryan Giemza (2008); Furl That Banner: The Life of Abram J. Ryan, Poet Priest of the Confederacy, by David O'Connell (2006). My own modest contribution to the discussion is an essay in U.S. Catholic Historian 37.1 (Winter 2019): "The Contrasting Legacies of Confederate Priests Abram Ryan and Darius Hubert, S.J."
 
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Father Ryan's house on the Mississippi Gulf Coast was always one of my favorite coastal antebellum homes.

Even as a child, I was always amazed that he had a palm tree growing through the front steps.

Unfortunately, Father Ryan's home was completely obliterated back in 2005 . . . during Hurricane Katrina.

Here's some old video before the storm.


And a couple of photos after Hurricane Katrina:

FRHnachKatrina.jpg


The famous Palm tree survived:


PalmeBiloxi.jpg


https://www.kulturflaneur.ch/nur-die-palme-blieb-stehen/

This German site fully captured the destruction.
 
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Apparently there is a bust of Fr. Ryan there also, but I wasn't aware and didn't see either when I visited. No doubt, I will be back.
The bust had been for a time in the Beauvoir home of Jefferson Davis; Varina donated it to Memorial Hall (along with a lot of other 'relics') after her husband's death. Who gave the bust to Davis? you might ask: as it turns out, Ryan himself.
 
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