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/

 

 

 

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