Isle of Wight County (Virginia)
By Norman Dasinger, Jr
By Norman Dasinger, Jr
Dedicated May 30, 1905
Part of the monument’s inscription reads:
“They bleed – We weep – We live – They sleep”
“Isle of Wight’s loving tribute, to her heroes of 1861 to 1865”
On February 19, 2021, reporter Brett Hall quoted Chairman of the County Board Dick Grice. “There is a general consensus of this board that it [the Confederate Monument] should not remain on county property,” he remarked.
On April 15, 2021, Stephen Faleski in a news article reported, “Isle of Wight County’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to deed the monument to Volpe Boykin . . . Boykin and his wife, Jennifer, were the only ones to submit a proposal during a state mandated 30 – day window for museums and organizations to express an interest in taking the monument. . . . Newport District Supervisor William McCarty was quoted as saying, ‘For all intents and purposes, this is the right thing to do.”
Smithfield Times reported on May 8, 2021 that “By 12:45 pm Saturday a circular patch of dirt outside Isle of Wight County’s courthouse complex near its three flagpoles was the only remaining evidence that the Confederate monument had stood there for the past 115 years . . . the monument now stands in the middle of a farm field along Walters Highway owned by Volpe Boykin. He has already marked where on the property where the monument will stand.” In the same article, Valerie Butler, president of the county’s NAACP chapter said, “I was a little emotional. Today is a new season and a historic moment . . . I never thought I would see this day. To us, this is the same as exhuming a grave and relocating it.”
The monument represents former citizens of the county and the families that grew from them. In order to better understand these now deceased residents, it might be appropriate to examine, briefly, some of the men that served the Confederate Army and called Isle of Wight County their home.
Dr. John W Lawson lived near Smithfield and was a graduate of the University of Virginia and represented Isle of Wight in both the House of Delegates and the State Senate. He was chairman of the board of visitors of William and Mary College and president of Smithfield Male and Female Institute. His last request was that he be buried in his uniform of gray.
Algernon Sidney Birdsong of the Zuni community was a good citizen and consistent Christian, an active member of Antioch Christian Church for more than 50 years and a loyal Mason.
David Lisborn Bulter was for many years a loyal zealous member of Beaver Dam Camp of Confederate Veterans and joined Holland Baptist Church as a young man.
Irving Jenkins was a farmer and the last surviving Confederate veteran in the Windsor Community when he died in 1936. At that time he was also the oldest member of the Colosse Baptist Church having been a member for 70 years,
George W. Johnson of Carrsville witnessed the historic battle of the world’s first iron-clads, the Merrimac and the Monitor. When he died his casket was covered with the battle flag of the Confederacy.
Thomas J Marshall was a kind and affectionate husband, a loving father, a true friend and devoted Christian of Antioch Church.
John Walter Roberts was a former Isle of Wight County treasurer and had an arm shot off in the Civil War. He was one of seven brothers who fought for the Confederacy.
James P Whitfield of Franklin was a consistent member of South Quay Baptist Church and joined Company F, 61st Virginia Infantry, Confederate States Army, when it was organized on the church grounds at Beaver Dam Church.