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History of Quitman Rifles. From the New Orleans Picayune, April 22, 1906.

Historic command, organized in 1859, composed of Pike County's pride.

Holmesville, Miss., April 21, 1906.
The occasion of the reunion of surviving Confederate veterans at Holmesville raises the curtain and brings to view scenes presented here forty-six years ago. Then the town of Holmesville was the county seat of justice and one of the most lovable spots in South Mississippi, nestling at the foot of a range of hills and situated on a sloping hammock with the beautiful Bogue Chillo River rippling at its feet, nine miles East of the railroad. Pike County was formed in 1815, and this place was chosen as the seat of justice. It has been the home of some of Mississippi's greatest men, and its history is full of interesting events. The surrounding country was peopled by a class of thriving farmers and large cotton planters, the offspring of the hardy pioneer settlers who penetrated its wilds, after Congress had constituted the Mississippi territory in 1798.

The railroad from New Orleans to Jackson, Miss., was scarcely finished and Holmesville was the center of business, drawing its supplies from New Orleans by way of Covington, through ox wagon transportation, and it was also a center for gaiety and resort for the people of New Orleans.

The beautiful Bogue Chillo River furnished the finest facilities for fishing, boating and bathing. The country was in a flourishing condition and there was perhaps no place that could boast of a happier people.

In 1859 a military company was organized by Preston Brent, a graduate of a military institute in the State of Kentucky. They named it the Quitman Guards. The company then was composed of the young men and some of the married men of the town and immediate vicinity.

In the year 1860 the ladies of Pike County formed a ‘Banner Society’ for the purpose of raising funds to have a handsome banner made to present to the Quitman Guards, in which the following named [240] married and unmarried ladies took an active part, and afterwards became identified with the stirring scenes of the sixties: Mesdames I. T. Lamkin, S. A. Matthews, Dr. Jesse Wallace, John S. Lamkin, H. S. Bonney, J. C. Williams, Dr. George Nicholson, H. M. Quin, Louis C. Bickham, Dr. Hillory Quin, J. B. Quin, H. F. Bridgers, Richie Quinn, Christian Hoover, B. C. Hartwell, Widow Eliza Bickham, Owen Conerly, William A. Barr, J. A. Brent, Preston Brent, Jackson Coney, Andrew Kaigler, James A. Ferguson, W. M. Quinn, William Ellzey, Jeremiah Coney, R. G. Statham, James Conerly and W. M. Conerly, and the following young ladies: Rachel E. Coney, Nannie Ellzey, Emma Ellzey, Fanny Wicker, Laura Turnipseed, Fanny A. Lamkin, C. A. Lamkin, Elizabeth and Frances Lamkin, Mary A. Conerly, Mrs. Jennie Lindsey McClendon, Lucy Brumfield, Victoria and Lavinia Williams, Mary E. Hartwell, Eliza Hoover, Nannie Wells, Julia Hoover, Mollie Quin, Alice Quin, Alvira Sparkman, Bettie Miskell, Eliza Thompson, Elizabeth Thompson, Catherine Conerly, Mollie Magee, Mary E. Vaught, Julia Bascot, Maggie Martin, Martha Jane Sibley, Ida Matthews and Ida Wallace.

Miss Rachel E. Coney, daughter of Jackson Coney and Emeline Morgan, was chosen to present the banner, and Emma Ellzey and Fanny Wicker were chosen as maids and Benton Bickham escort of honor.

Hugh Eugene Weatherby, a brilliant young lawyer, was selected to receive the banner on the part of the Quitman Guards, and the ceremonies were performed the same year on the public square, the spot chosen for the ceremonies of the return of the flag to the survivors.

The banner was made in the city of New Orleans. It is of light cream colored silk, with a gold fringe around it and the United States coat of arms formed in the center. On one side, worked in gold letters, is the inscription:

‘Our country and our homes.’

On the other:

‘Presented to the Quitman Guards by the Ladies of Pike county.’

After the secession of Mississippi and the formation of the Confederate Government at Montgomery, Ala., in obedience to a call of President Davis on Governor Pettus for aid to protect Pensacola, the Quitman Guards were reorganized and mustered into the service [241] of the State on April 21, 1861, with Samuel A. Matthews as captain. The company was attached to the Sixteenth Mississippi Regiment under Colonel Carnot Posey, and served through the war in Virginia.

In a few more years the remnants of this company will have passed into the unknown, where all the heroes who figured in that great conflict have gone, and it has been determined by them to have this relic of theirs framed and deposited in the Hall of Fame at Jackson, with a suitable record of those instrumental in its presentation and return to them.

Pike county sent out eleven companies, besides Garland's Battalion, into the Confederate service.

Preston Brent, who organized the Quitman Guards in 1859, also organized the Brent Rifles and took them out in 1862. He became colonel of the Thirty-eighth Mississippi Regiment and was severely wounded at the siege of Vicksburg, in 1863.

Thomas R. Stockdale, who acted as one of the escorts to the young ladies at the presentation of the banner, was major of the Sixteenth Mississippi Regiment the first year of the war. He afterwards raised a cavalry command and became lieutenant-colonel of the Fourth Cavalry. At the close of the war he resumed the practice of law and married Fanny Wicker, one of the maids of honor at the banner presentation. He was subsequently elected to Congress and served several terms, when he was appointed Supreme Judge of Mississippi by Governor McLaurin.

H. Eugene Weathersby was a graduate of Centenary College, La., in a class with Judge T. C. W. Ellis, of the Civil District Court, and went out as a lieutenant in Captain John T. Lamkin's company, organized at Holmesville in 1862, of the Thirty-third Regiment, and was killed at the battle of Franklin, Tenn., November 30, 1864. He was a son of Dr. Solomon Weathersby and Martha Jane Bennett, of Amite county. His grand-parents were immigrants from South Carolina, and came to the territory of Mississippi early in 1800, and settled in Amite county.

The little girl, Miss Norma Dunn, chosen to return the banner to the survivors, is a granddaughter of Captain S. A. Matthews and daughter of H. G. Dunn, of the firm of Dunn Bros., merchants of Summitt, who married Mamie Mathews.

Captain John Holmes, of Picayune, the last captain of the Quitman Guards, received the banner. [242]

In the early sixties, when these young men shouldered their muskets and went out into the army of the Confederacy, it was not dreamed that the years which have passed and been forgotten by so many would again be recalled and bring to view the scenes which touched so many hearts, and filled the land with the flood of tears that were wept. It is so long ago that age has crept on tile brows of many who were children then, and now the youths who fought through the great war and have lived to see the rehabilitation of their desolated homes gather here to take the banner that was handed to them in the morning of life and fold it forever with the benediction which has filled the world with admiration.

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