Published in CONFEDERATE VETERAN
THE FLORIDA DIVISION
By Sister Esther Carlotta, St Augustine
Summer is not the active time in any Division and less so in those to the far south, whose activities, beyond the keeping up with necessary things, relax after, the observation of Memorial Day, on June 3. With the almost universal and very beautiful and appropriate observances of this anniversary, so dear to us, the Florida Division’s summer vacation begins. This year one of our Chapters observed that day in a way that deserves special notice, for Brooksville Chapter, No 71, dedicated its monument to the Confederate dead. Every organization of the city was out in force to honor the great event of the day, and hundreds of people came in from Tampa and other nearby places. Automobiles decorated in Confederate colors and flying Confederate flags, formed a line of parade at the railroad station and Confederate veterans and the women of the sixties, led the way through the city. Nearly three thousand people were in line and the march swept on the music of the Tampa Military Band until It reached the veiled monument.
Addresses of welcome followed from the city by Mr. C. M. Price and from the Brooksville Chapter by Mrs. Harry C. Mickler. After an address by Hon. F. L. Stringer, the son of a veteran, the Children of the Confederacy sang the official Division song, “Suwannee River”.
After an overture by the band and the earnest invocation by Rev. H. H. Sturgis, the visit assemblage sang, “America”. The Master of Ceremonies, Hon. Algernon Keithly, read telegrams of greeting from Mrs. H. H. McCreary, President of the Florida Division; Sister Esther Carlotta, S. R. Past President of the Florida Division; Gen. E. M. Law; J. D. Allen of Lakeland; and others. Mr. Keithly then presented the President of the Brooksville Chapter, Mrs. Frencie Steadman Roux, to whose executive ability and untiring work and enthusiasm made completion of the monument, a dream of many years, in practically one year is due. [sic] She welcomed friends present and then presented Mrs. William F. Gwynne, of Fort Myers, Fourth Vice President of the Florida Division, who represented the State President and spoke in a hearty congratulation.
Following these opening numbers came the address by the orator of the day, Hon. C. B. Parkhill, an eloquent and popular speaker, who did full justice to the heroes of the past, private and chief, and paid a beautiful tribute to the women of the south. After the song , “Do they Love Us Still in Dixie” came the crowing moments of the ceremonies, when two of the charter members of the Chapter, Mesdames Burns and Corman, and the Chapter President, Mrs. Roux, pulled the cords that held the veil and revealed the simple figure of a Confederate soldier in Italian marble whose pathos made its appeal to the hearts of the assemblage. The shaft of the granite, a double base surmounted by a pedestal, on which stands the marble figure. On the front face is carved the battle flag of the Confederacy, with the years 1861-65. Underneath is the inscription:
Erected by Brooksville Chapter, No 71
June 3, 1916
Love Makes Memory Eternal.”
On the other side is the following:
“This monument perpetuates the memory
Of our fallen heroes.
We care not whence they came
Dear is their lifeless clay,
Whether unknown or known to fame,
Their cause and country still the same,
They died-and wore the gray,
Leaving to posterity a glorious heritage and
Imperishable record of dauntless valor.”
As the veil dropped “Dixie” was played by the band and sung by the crowd, while the far famed Rebel yell awoke the echoes in the enthusiastic shout of Rebel voices.
Mrs. Roux then presented the monument to the city of Brooksville, reserving to the Daughters of the Confederacy of the Brooksville Chapter the privilege of caring for and beautifying the grounds around it.
The Mayor of Brooksville, Hon. W. R. Chalker, accepted the monument, expressing feeling the gratitude and appreciation of the city and pledging the city and Hernando County to its care. The Daughters and Children of the Confederacy then placed about the base of the monument the many beautiful floral tributes. A salute was fired by the military company, the bugler sounded “Taps” and as the lingering music died away every head bowed for the benediction by Rev F. H. Hensley, which closed the day fraught with joy and pride, with memories proud and sorrowful. A picnic dinner was served to all present by the organization of the city, under direction of a committee of ladies from the various clubs. The day was one long to be remembered for the beauty of the ceremonies and the hospitality of the city.
This account is fittingly closed with a word of tribute to the faithful Chapter President, Mrs. Roux, whose fidelity and devotion to the cause of the monument, as well as to the other work of her office, is well known. There will be many a Confederate soldier, here and in the beyond, to know that she “loved them well in Dixie”.