Dedicated to the Memory of
John Shayle Edwards
Nearly 140 years after the Battle of Gettysburg, a descendant of the Lanier family pondered why two of his family's ancestors were executed by the same Confederate forces for whom they fought. This controversial subject caused him to delve into the matter, searching letters and documents until he began to realize that the two soldiers were truly not guilty of the offence for which they were charged. His discovery led him to author APPLES AND GREEN CORN, a book that closely followed the lives of Jacob and Elkana Lanier. Others, upon reading the book realized that two brave Confederate soldiers happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Many folks in the Catawba Valley took notice and championed the cause, seeking pardons for the unfortunate soldiers.
Among those who recognized the need to memorialize these soldiers was Harold Dagenhart, 2nd Lt. Commander of the NC Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans. He worked tirelessly to obtain and erect memorial markers at the Huffman/Lanier Cemetery, on the edge of Lake Hickory, burial site of their brothers, William and Joseph Lanier.
Harold Dagenhart (L) and SCV members and family at cemetery.
On a cold day in January, 2012, Harold brought the markers to the cemetery, along with members of the Rocky Face Rangers, an SCV camp representing Alexander County. Together, they dug the holes to place the markers. It was determined to hold a dedication ceremony when the weather was favorable.
The date was set for Sunday July 1, 2012, allowing time to notify family members and the community of the ceremony and the reason for waiting nearly 150 years to recognize two brave soldiers. This event came long after the passing of the mother and father of Jacob and Elkana. Edmond and Susannah (Bolick) Lanier, who had eight children. They had five sons of military age and only one returned from the war alive. Now, in 2012, the picture is complete; four of their children are reunited and remembered in one plot.
As the time for the ceremony drew to fruition, John Edwards expressed excitement in the fact that his book had resulted in such an auspicious occasion. He was scheduled to be the "key note" speaker at the dedication but circumstances dictated otherwise. A few months before the event, his health took an unexpected turn for the worst. As the day arrived, he was in poor health and unable to attend.
For his dedication to the reality of history and his steadfast determination to report it, this site is dedicated to him. No person in the world is more responsible for the final honor paid to the two brothers who suffered privation, the weariness of war, starvation ... and finally, death.
Shayle, we offer you our sincere thanks and undying admiration.
SCV Color guard represented by members of the Rocky Face Rangers
of Alexander County, NC and the Burke Tigers of Valdese, NC.
Firing salute performed by SCV camp members.
So impressed by the lack of justice meted out to Jacob and Elkana Lanier, Rev. Partee Boliek, a descendant of the Lanier family, sought to obtain a posthumous pardon for the two soldiers. At the present time, the request has languished in a bureaucratic neverland and the cause has not been taken up yet by any political or military entity. Please read Rev. Boliek's letter.
Harold Dagenhart welcomes family members and guests.
Rev. Partee Boliek gives invocation and history.
Attendees to the memorial dedication came from as far away as Florida, South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia. The site of the cemetery was small, with difficult and highly restricted parking. Nevertheless, between 60 and 75 individuals were able to attend. Many friendships were formed and family bonds renewed.
Shayle Edwards would have been delighted to know what
transpired after the seed that he planted came to fruition.
[For more details on the Lanier/Huffman Cemetery, click here]
[To read Shayle's book, Apples and Green Corn, click here]
Photos by Derick S. Hartshorn.
Derick S. Hartshorn - © 2012