Memorial Dedication Ceremony
May 27th, 2012 at 1:30 pm
From 1954 to 1962, Cecil Hollifield lived at Sipe's Orchard Home. He grew to adulthood and became a successful business man. He often thought of the abandoned cemetery that stood on the grounds of the orphanage. At one time, St. Luke's Lutheran Church stood there but was later destroyed. However, the cemetery, with its two lonely graves remained. Today the grave stones stand as a stark reminder of the two wives who were eternally separated from their soldier husbands. And herein lies the story.
Annie Stine (22 Dec 1826-27 Jun 1904), daughter of John H.
Thurston and Catherine (Deal) Stine, wife of Noah Simmons.
Michael Herman (9 Mar 1832-25 Dec 1905), daughter of
William and Elizabeth (Killian) Herman, wife of Elijah Simmons.
These ladies were married to two Simmons brothers. Annie Stine married Noah Simmons before 1851, in Lincoln County. Michael Herman married Noah's brother, Elijah Simmons on March 12, 1854, in Catawba County.
ELIJAH SIMMONS was born March 9, 1832. At age 30, he enlisted in Rowan County on Mar 29, 1862 as a Private in the Second Company B, 22nd Regiment, NC Troops. He was reported present or accounted at or near Kinston, North Carolina in March, 1865. He died there on April 1, 1865, of wounds received in battle. The exact place of his death was never reported.
NOAH SIMMONS was born in 1824 and resided in Catawba County where he enlisted on March 14, 1863, for the war. He was a Private in Company C, 28th Regiment North Carolina Troops. During the Battle of the Wilderness, on May 12, 1864, he was captured and confined at the infamous Point Lookout Prison in Maryland. From there, he was transferred to the Union prison in Elmira, New York on August 10, 1864. It was there that he died of disease on April 10, 1865
Why do we do this?
Those who have taken the opportunity to learn about the terrible sacrifices made by the participants of what is popularly known as the "Civil War" are acquainted with the tragic loss to this country, both North and South. Union and Confederate forces lost a combined total of 625,000 men! This is more than all the other wars in which our country has participated, combined. For that reason, those of us today who recognize that tragic loss choose to memorialize those who selflessly gave their lives for a cause in which they believed. The Simmons brothers neither owned slaves nor did they support a cause that was determined to take control of this country. They simply answered the call to battle to defend their homeland and exemplified Southern tenacity and bravery.
We, their descendants, seek only to honor those who gave their lives for a cause in which they believed. The reasons for the War have been argued for many years and probably will be debated for many years to come. Among the charters of the Sons of Confederate Veterans is to educate the public about the causes of the War and the vindication of the South. Many of those reasons may be found on our media page.
Recognition of the Confederate soldier and his heritage is the reason for the existence of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. At each meeting of the Capt. C.F. Connor Camp of Catawba County, the following charge is recited:
"To you, Sons of Confederate Veterans, we will commit the vindication of the Cause for which we fought. To your strength will be given the defense of the Confederate soldier's good name, the guardianship of his history, the emulation of his virtues, the perpetuation of those principles which he loved and which you love also, and those ideals which made him glorious and which you also cherish. Remember, it is your duty to see that the true history of the South is presented to future generations."Lt. General Stephen Dill Lee, Commander-General, United Confederate Veterans, New Orleans, 25 April 1906
Saving a Cemetery - A Vision
Time had taken its toll on the cemetery. On the grounds of the former St. Lukes Lutheran Church, this is how the cemetery appeared a year ago. The church has been gone for over a century but two graves remained. Without care, all would be lost.
Mr. Cecil Hollifield and executives at Sipe's Orchard Home felt it was necessary to protect the cemetery and restore it to the dignity it deserved. Plans were made to erect a suitable memorial dedicated to the memory of these brave soldiers and their wives.
A request was made to the Veteran's Administration for for grave markers, in accordance with their policy. Because of poor bureaucratic decisions, they refused to provide markers, as they had already been done for thousands of other Confederate Veterans. Because of that, the markers for this cemetery would have to be privately purchased.
Work began in August, 2011 on restoring the cemetery and erecting an appropriate enclosure. Mr. "Sunny" Rankin, President of Statesville Brick Company graciously donated the brick and money to help with mortar and sand. Mr. Frank Burns of Newton, a long time mason, has volunteered to do the masonry work. Private donations have played a very important part in funding the expenses of this project.
Additional donations for the continued main-
tenance of the cemetery would be appreciated
Sipe's Orchard Home
c/o Simmons Cemetery
4431 County Home Rd
Conover, NC 28613
Please mark you donation "Simmons Cemetery"
In August, 2011, progress on the cemetery plot looked like this:
Before construction began, this is what the plot looked like.
Annie's stone before final placement
Michael's stone after repair
Enclosure at the end of February, 2012
Look what a difference three week makes
Nearly completed-awaiting the markers - second week of March, 2012
The stones for Elijah and Noah have been ordered and paid for from donations received. Their erection will be the final step in this memorial project.
Almost there. This is the site with brickwork complete as of April 11th.
Notice the flag pole. It will proudly display the American and Confederate flags.
Through the efforts of a generous supporter, polished granite caps have been supplied to top the 16 brick capitols.
Any questions or comments should be addressed to
Mr. Cecil B. Hollifield
5025 Bolick Road
Claremont, NC 28610
Derick S. Hartshorn - © 2012