The Peace Monument in Piedmont Park

This was one of the first and most stupid events by groups attacking monuments in Atlanta. The pictures came from a friend Davis McCollum.

From the Georgia Tourism site.” The Old Guard Battalion of the Gate City Guard traces heritage back to 1854 when a group of private citizens of Atlanta met to form a private militia for the sole purpose of assisting the City of Atlanta to keep law and order.  The organization was chartered in 1857 as The Gate City Guard of Atlanta Georgia.  One of the founding members was William L. Ezzard, the Mayor of Atlanta.”

I also want to mention that William Austin Leyden was a member of the Old Gate City Guard who defended Atlanta before and after the war. The article continues to say…

The Old Guard of the Gate City Guard, decided to erect a monument in Piedmont Park in Atlanta to commemorate the efforts made over a thirty year period to bring about unity between the North and the South.The monument was commissioned, built and erected in Piedmont park in 1911. A dedication service was held on October 11, 1911.  A number of Centennial Legion of Historical Military Command units were in attendance. Governor Hoke Smith, of the   State of Georgia, received the visiting Delegations.  To name a few in attendance were: The Ancient and Honorable Artillery of Boston under the leadership of COL Everett C. Benton, then Mayor of Boston. The Battalion State Fencibles, Philadelphia, Pa., Mayor Edwin Smith of Hartford, CN., James H. Preston, Mayor of Baltimore, The Fifth Regiment , Maryland National Guard of Baltimore, The Governors Foot Guard of Hartford.,CT.  Over 50,000 veterans from both the North and the South, many of whom once fought each other, marched in a parade down Peachtree Street to Piedmont Park.

The Old Guard has rededicated the monument each year since.   The Centennial Legion of Historical Military Commands will hold their annual meeting in Atlanta in order to again participate in the rededication. ”

It was of course August 14th, 2017 a date that coincides with the smearing of feces on the Decatur Monument. The feces was washed off August 16th by the city of Decatur. in both cases no charges were filed.

“A protester was hurt by metal falling from the edifice as the group tried to tear it down, AJC photographer John Spink reported Sunday night. Tensions rose as the lone policeman on the scene was surrounded by black-clad Antifa protesters shouting “pig.” Black Lives Matter protesters put themselves between the police officer and the Antifa crowd, and the gathering soon dispersed.

crime

The sad part of this story these people could not be identified. The news reporters who photographed this was contacted. they have an idea who they are but no one wants to come forward.

“Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields said by that time, when arrests were necessary, “we couldn’t identify them.” “And that’s that’s not acceptable,” she continued. “We have the intelligence, we have the probable cause, we need to take action.”

Police are studying videotape of the protest to identify areas in which they can improve, the chief said. 

 

“You look at the footage, you review all your plans and you get better,” she said. “And we’re gonna be better and we’re gonna bring our a-game. We have to.”

The sad part of this is if a life had been claimed like there was in Charlottesville, Virginia how could they have identified the criminals? Everyone imagines these are victimless crimes. Statues and state property are not inanimate. I say that these are symbols of our past. Erasing them will accomplish nothing but spread more ignorance and hate, People would not appreciate their history torn down. you can only stand up and speak out against the destruction.

 

References

http://www.exploregeorgia.org/listing/3554-peace-monument-piedmont-park

Atlanta’s Peace Monument, desecrated by protesters, champions unity, not the Confederacy

http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2017/aug/15/confederate-growants-atlantstatue-repaired-af/443557/

http://www.ajc.com/news/crime–law/apd-chief-arrests-should-have-followed-statue-desecration/m6lYMSb9uTal5jTbTzkyeM/

 

 

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The Makers of Decatur

I argued in one of my letters to the editor that there are makers and there are takers. I referred to those wanting to take down monuments as takers. but lets take a glance at some of the makers.

decatur

Being 6 miles from Atlanta and knowing of the destruction there Decatur also suffered during the war not to mention the city of Stine Mountain. this was before the carving that exists today. it should be noted that DeKalb county residents did not own many slaves. Why you might ask. the terrain in DeKalb is not well suited for growing cotton. Most of the slave owners lived in South DeKalb and perhaps one of the largest was Ephraim Potter. He owned as many as 57 slaves but just before the war he moved to Atlanta. his home was used by Union Artillery as a target reference.

Lets start with the lists here.

Bayne, Hendley Verner 9/26/1861. Wounded. Captured at Wilderness, Va. May 6, 1864 . Released at Elmira, N. Y. June 19, 1865 . From above you see he served as a court ordinary. He died in 1/24/1906  and is buried in Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta.

Listed above a a physician. Asbury Smith Mayson and his bio is below

 

Mayson

Dr. Mayson is buried in Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta.

We have the Ramspeck family and the owner of the General Store was Mr. George Alexander Ramspeck Mr.. Ramspeck served on many committees and aided in the formation of Agnes Scott College which had its begging’s in 1899 up until 1982. and as we can see in the gazetteer he owned a general store in Decatur. the two sons listed are Charles Miller and Theodore R are both buried in Decatur Cemetery

Perhaps his bio might do him better justice than I can.

Ramspeck

These are just a few of the names above that I have confirmed served in the war. Some of the same men remembered on the DeKalb monument located in Decatur.

 

References
https://archive.org/stream/lestweforgetacco00walt#page/n11/mode/2up/search/Ramspeck

Old Joe, Gainesville, Georgia

old-joe-1_p3

Old Joe — Confederate Monument. Photograph showing the Confederate Soldier known as “Old Joe” standing “at ready”. It is inscribed with the words: “Our Confederate Soldiers. The Confederate Patriots. The record of whose fortitude and heroism in the service of their country is the proud heritage of a loyal posterity. Tell ye children of it and let your children tell their children and their children another generation.” The statue was unveiled in the public square on June 7, 1909.

Source Cite as: Old Joe: Hall County, Georgia historical photograph collection, Hall County Library System.

Here is some information above on Old Joe but lets dive in to this controversy. on August 16th, 2017 a group called, “The Northeast Georgia Democratic Socialists of America is organizing the protest, according to a post on the group’s Facebook page. ” this is from an Access North Georgia News website. The date of August 16, 2017 matched the same date of the creation of the Decatur, Georgia protest group. Coincidence? Also notice the group is calling themselves the Democratic Socialists of America. I lived in Hall County for many years in Lula and Oakwood. I have never heard of such a group before. I am reminded of a group in Durham, N.C. that was known as the World Workers party. From ABC11.com “It’s a communist party that was founded in 1959 by a group led by Sam Marcy of the Socialist Workers Party.” I first heard of the socialists party when a mayoral candidate from Atlanta ran as a third party for this group. Bernie Sanders has made the Socialist party more popular. I guess this is more of what you can expect from people who want free education.

From another blog post mentioning an article “Old Joe” statue may not be such a Rebel By Greg Bluestein Associated Press, 10/09/05 , says,” The beloved statue is actually cast from the mold of a Spanish-American War veteran, says Athens architect Garland Reynolds, who made the discovery while researching the city’s memorials. The soldier’s gun may be the biggest giveaway. It’s a model of a Springfield rifle that dates to 1873 — eight years after the Civil War.” the article also mentions,”The Gainesville chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy started to raise money for the statue in 1898 — the same year the United States declared war on Spain after the Battleship Maine was sunk in Havana’s harbor. The women raised $2,500 by selling baked goods and hosting thrift sales. When they finally took the funds to the now-defunct American Bronze Foundry Co. of Chicago, Reynolds said his research has revealed they had to settle for an altered version cast from a mold of the Spanish-American War soldier that included some modest changes, like the CSA on his belt buckle.”. While Athens architect Garland Reynolds, research may be correct it is also very revealing.

A Gainesville Times acticle gives some more history. “In the first decade of the 20th century, the Hall County Board of Commissioners gave the Daughters a 99-year lease for the acre plot downtown. Fundraising for the statue took more than a decade and was led by women of the UDC. Records at The Times list most of them with only their husband’s names: Mrs. C.C. Sanders, Mrs. Will Mealor, Mrs. H.H. Dean, Mrs. Judge Dorsey, Mrs. Howard Thompson, Mrs. A.D. Candler, Mrs. H.J. Pearce, Mrs. A.W. Van Hoose, Mrs. S.C. Dunlap, Mrs. Dave Welchel, Mrs. W.C. Ham, Helen Estes and Nell Murphy.Sanders was a 25-year president of the Longstreet Chapter and is credited with securing the land for Old Joe. A lease lasting almost a century gave the Daughters functional ownership of the lot and ignited a court battle between Hall County and Gainesville about whether the county had the power to give the property over to a third party. Hall County and the UDC won in 1911. Hall still owns the land and the Daughters the statue.

The group’s lease was renewed in 2008 in the run-up to Old Joe’s centennial celebration and lasts until 2033. The lease and state law make it difficult for anyone to legally remove the Confederate statue — as does the ghost of Helen Dortch Longstreet.

Helen Longstreet
                         Helen Dortch Longstreet – photo by Times file

“As long as my heart continues to beat, I will defend the legal and moral right of the Longstreet Chapter U.D.C. to hold the Confederate Monument on the public square of Gainesville under a 99-year lease, dating from date of erection of the Monument,” Helen Longstreet wrote in a 1953 letter to the Gainesville News. But it’s what came next in her letter that matters now. “After I am dead, my released spirit will come back to stand guard beside the heroic figure in Gainesville’s square and say to all coming betrayers of a people’s honor, ‘You shall not pass!’” Longstreet wrote. Who was this woman, who cared so much for Old Joe and the Daughters? She was the second wife of Confederate Lt. Gen. James Longstreet, who ruined his reputation in the South after the Civil War by taking up the cause of equal rights for freed slaves.”

I wrote a response to the Gainesville Times about the groups involved with the desire to take down the monument and some of the detractors. From all the evidence I have seen they are all cut from the same jib. They all site the same reasons for the monuments removal and when you ask the question, Where does this stop?, they say you are using a slippery slop fallacy or the straw man argument. The truth is they have no real answer. Its whatever flavor is next. Once demands are made and politicians cave then its anyone game. No matter how ridiculous and how outrageous the idiocy will never stop. Whether you are a sportscaster that has the same name as Robert E. Lee  or an image on a $20 dollar bill, once you give in to these demands you have given up any resolve.   The politicians that cave under this pressure don’t seem to care as they only look at the short term. The police wont convict unless there is a motivation to. Veterans deserve more. The way our country treats its veterans, this all should come at no surprise.

References:

http://accesswdun.com/article/2017/8/572050/protest-planned-saturday-at-downtown-gainesvilles-old-joe-monument

http://abc11.com/politics/who-are-the-workers-world-party-and-why-durham/2314577/

http://wesclark.com/jw/old_joe.html

https://www.gainesvilletimes.com/news/old-joes-history-complicated-current-debate/

 

 

 

The Decatur Georgia Monument

Well the story has its beginnings last week. An up and coming newspaper called Decaturish shared an awful story on August 18, 2017 about the Decatur monument being smeared in feces. Not many news papers picked up this story but I have seen a  pattern to this story. the story does not begin here but rather early in August when a group of masked people attacked the Peace Monument in Atlanta. This started a chain reaction state wide. Suddenly every city was reviewing its Confederate Monuments like Macon, Columbus, Covington, Dalton, Augusta and Gainesville. They all had the same message that the monuments were all celebrating slavery. they were established during the Jim Crow era and all need to be demolished or moved to a museum.

Understanding that the events of Charlottesville, Virginia is a tragedy and people need to be sensitive to that. The Dylan Roof’s of the world need to be incarcerated and pay the price for their crimes. However tearing down history is not going solve any of that. it will simply create more of the same problems. You can say two wrongs don’t make a right. You can quote Edmund Burke and say, ” Those who don’t learn from history or doomed to repeat it. ” Nonetheless this is the new fad. A new group of petulant children want to remove monuments dedicated for the purpose of honoring veterans.  We know it won’t stop there. Once the demands are met then whatever floats their hearts desire. the Founding Fathers perhaps. Andrew Jackson on a  $20 dollar bill, Button Gwinnett, one of the signers of the Declaration of independence, and at one time owner of 14 slaves. I dread sharing the information about Gwinnett for fear the these thugs who attacked the Peace Monument will show up in Gwinnett demanding something.

Lets focus on the Decatur Monument. I mentioned above the monument had feces smeared on it. I assume it was animal feces. The City of Decatur simply washed off the monument. No charges were filed but I think it was obvious who did it being the same group who posted on a Facebook event page. The article in the Decaurish Paper was not published till August 18th, 2017 but the Facebook posts we published on August 16th, 2017. On the Facebook event post, a member of their group said he wanted to pull down the monument with a pickup truck with straps and chains. I reported this to the Decatur Police Via Facebook but to no avail. Now Lets look at the first photo.

decatur

Notice in the photo you see a wet spot on the monument. I do not doubt that the person who took this photo took it not long after the feces was washed off the monument. Also if the city cleaned of the monument a political pin like the one shown would have been washed away or tossed as well. I believe the person taking the picture put the pin there. I also believe the same person reported the poo smearing of the monument to the newspaper used the narrative to announce their petition to remove the monument and announce a meeting to discuss the situation around the monument. All of which was free publicity for the detractors.  A politician once said, let no good crisis go wasted. Especially if you create that crisis yourself.

Atlanta Georgian and news. (Atlanta, Ga.) 1907-1912, April 25, 1908, Image 2      Focusing on the history of the monument. , Here the monument was commemorated on April 25, 1908. Notice the contributions to the monument included 1000 school children. They had over two thousand people contribute to the monument. The monument is a memorial to the heroes of the sixties. No mention of slavery, no celebration of slavery, no mention of Jim Crow. The article did mention the time it took to get this monument. Also it was alluded to the fact the monument was damaged which cause some excitement in Decatur after hearing the loud crash throughout town during its installation. Excitement was high and three of DeKalb’s living veterans took part in the ceremony. I would reveal their names until I realized one of them had a road and a elementary school named for them. but again this is over a century old piece of Decatur’s history.

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Pictured above is a post card perhaps in the 1930’s that shows the monument in front of the courthouse. if you travel to Decatur’s square you will see the landscape has greatly changed. A Marta station is nearby. A grassy area park area is shrouded by decorated walls. A gazebo and between city hall and another government annex you will see cafes, a Waffle House and many places where you can get liquid libations. In older times Decatur was a dry county but now you can step out of court or a town hall meeting and fill up the tank with any variety of liquor. The city makes money off alcohol serving permits making sure all employees are at least 19 years of age charging about $65 dollars for the permit. While public drunkenness is considered a crime I cant help but wonder of they allow people to vote in such a condition. The large historic courthouse is still there and houses the Decatur Museum.  It has changed sine I last visited and I mast say I did not get a polite reception when I mentioned the monument.

Continuing with current events on August 21, 2017, the same day as the famed eclipse, I travelled to Decatur. There was to be a public discussion of the monuments and I wanted to speak on behalf of the monument. If there is a testament to how small towns have changed Decatur is it. Be forewarned, to travel in Decatur you have to pay to park near the square. After 6PM however you wont be charge to park in the metered areas.

DISCLAIMER: I make no guarantee about parking in Decatur, traveler beware. Don’t get ticketed assuming anything. Call first and make absolutely sure.

I parked and went to the council meeting early mainly because it was hot and I prefer air conditioning. The city council had a business meeting prior to the public input session one hour later at 7PM. I listed to a presenter talk about possible changes to the city. Discussion of property taxes and occupancy rates. Different councilmen and mayors responded to how other counties were handling things. The presenter seemed convinced that Roswell was the closest model.

What they were discussing was housing and development in the area. I thought to myself, after looking at what I had seen and what I was hearing is that Decatur was becoming a lot like another place I have not visited yet, Atlantic Station. From my understanding, the council was deciding on how to bill newcomers based on the number of occupants or another demographic. I come from a large family myself. At one time we had eight people living in a mobile home together. Today I have at least six people living together and all working to get by. If anyone should be concerned about racism or discrimination this might have been the real meeting to attend. I am not making any accusations here but like Atlantic Station many residents felt disenfranchised. It was felt that Atlanta was pricing out certain poorer folks for perhaps higher paying clientele. People who uses low income housing and trailer trash like myself may not be welcome or can even afford to live here. I digress, history destruction is the flavor of the year so on with the council meeting.

Several people swapped back and forth at the council meeting. A student spoke about the monument removal and he had with him over 2,000 signatures. Another person spoke in favor the monument and he was the students teacher. The person in the epicenter of most of this story spoke next. This person created the Facebook event page. She explained that the meeting did not come to any collusion. They either wanted the monument destroyed or buried. So much for a peaceful resolution. I made it a point to speak directly after this person. I handed in my petition supporting the monument. I had just 833 signatures because I had just 3 days to collect them after hearing of the events surrounding the monument. I was given only 5 minutes to speak. I pointed out about he smearing of feces on the monument and reminded the council folk that when these protestors get angry they might fling poo on you. I mentioned I was part of a veterans organization wanting to protect the monument and would love to open a dialogue with them. After my 5 minutes I left. A reporter wanted to talk with me and I refused. I went on home after a long, drawn out evening.

The Decatur City council had made the same statement they had made to the newspaper before. the monument was owned by DeKalb county and not necessarily by the City of Decatur. that was confusing to say the least. I don’t thing I understand DeKalb very well in as far as their government works. Several commissioners have drawn up south DeKalb but their districts do not include Decatur, Lithonia, Dunwoody and the other like cities in the area. So it was hard to pick who to respond to. Another monument in DeKalb County is of Course the largest Confederate memorial in the State, Stone Mountain. Recently Governor Deal announced he was going to appoint the DeKalb CEO Michael L Thurmond to the Stone Mountain Commission. With several recent attempts to changed Stone Mountain and the threat of a governors candidate Stacey Abrahams to blast the carving off its going to be an uphill battle.

Before I close this post I want to share my petition to save the DeKalb County Monument.

https://www.change.org/p/barry-colbaugh-protect-the-decatur-georgia-confederate-monument/nftexp/ex3/control/323392956?

Thank you for your support in this matter.