Thursday, April 26, 2012

Remembering our Southern Veterans

(Apologies to my Frankum/Lentz kinfolk who may see parts of this post appear in the upcoming Reunion newsletter.)

When I decided a few years ago that it was time to put my genealogy where my mouth is and join selected lineage societies, I started with the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) because I figured if I could meet the requirements to join their ranks, the other societies would be a cake walk.  I became a DAR member in October of 2009 by virtue of my ancestor John Henry Lentz, who served as an American soldier from the state of North Carolina.

My next target was the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT).  As it turns out, it is much more difficult to pry your way into the DRT, but thanks again to my Lentz line who must have had nerve and adventure running in their veins, I was able to become an official member of the DRT in May 2010 by virtue of ancestors Jacob G. Lentz and his daughter Amanda Horton Lentz who were settlers of Texas under Stephen F. Austin.

Next on the list was the Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC).  I had left this group until last because I had mixed feelings.  With all the flap over the Confederate Battle Flag and the attempts of some to have Confederate monuments removed from the Courthouse lawns where they have stood for decades, it isn't exactly the politically correct thing to do to join a society that venerates the South and the men who fought and died for its Cause.

In fact, as I was mulling over whether or not I wanted to join, I was challenged by one of the local historians to explain why I would want to become a member.  I knew the answer immediately, even though I had not really tried to put it into words.

I descend from a number of men who fought for the South and I descend from a few who fought for the North.  I am proud to be a descendant of every one of them.  Whatever one thinks about the reasons behind the War, these men stood up to defend their homeland and their way of life. From their viewpoint, they were justified in the choice they made and they paid a great price, both in lives and property lost.  The sacrifices made by these men and their families, particularly those from the South where most of the war was waged, were horrific.  I made the decision to join UDC to honor those people who gave up so much during that terrible war and became an official member in December 2011 by virtue of my ancestor William W. Frankum.  (I had considered joining through my Lentz line, but the Frankums are not well represented in the lineage societies, so I decided to get them on the books.)

The UDC actively works to be sure that our Confederate Veterans are not forgotten or their valiant efforts buried in the name of political correctness.  One of the yearly activities is hold a Confederate Memorial Day.  Today our chapter joined with a chapter from Austin to hold this year's Confederate Memorial Day at the Old Red Rock Cemetery where I have numerous Lentz and Frankum relatives buried.  Several of us met at the cemetery the evening before to place the official Confederate flag (not the battle flag) as well as an American flag at the graves of 25 Confederate veterans who rest there.  The fluttering flags sprinkled all over the cemetery were a beautiful sight when we arrived for the memorial service today.  We were blessed with a cloudy sky and perfect temperature.

We were also blessed with a wonderful turnout for the service.  Many members of the Old Red Rock Cemetery Association were in attendance as well as a number of members from both sponsoring chapters and a few members from other nearby UDC chapters.

One of the ladies in our L. A. Turner Chapter from Bastrop brought a cake for the refreshment table that might not have been politically correct, but she did a gorgeous job and it tasted wonderful!

One of the benefits of having joined the DAR, DRT and UDC is that I have acquired a number of distant cousins who have become good friends.  Two of my Mobley cousins are shown in the front row here, Cathy Smith on the far left and her sister Melba Schneider on the far right.  The three of us attend all three monthly meetings and have a great time visiting with each other and trading photos and family data.

On my Lentz side, there were several cousins in attendance.  Cousin Chris Lentz is the fellow in the white hat and rust-colored shirt, facing to the right.  He is descended from the brother of my Amanda Horton Lentz.  He is talking to cousin Micky Turner, who descends from the brother of my Gabriel Lentz.  (The fellow in the front row in the gimme cap reading the program, is Gordon Smith, Cathy's husband.

After the service, I cajoled Cathy into taking my photo at Gabriel Lentz's grave.

While we were there to honor our Confederate soldiers, I knew my Grandmother would like me to pay tribute to my Frankum kinfolk who are buried there.  Next to Gabriel is Louis Frankum, Grandma's baby brother who died in infancy from what she described as "brain fever".

Across the cemetery are a cluster of three Frankum graves.  My great-grandfather William Henry Frankum's little sister Martha also died in infancy.

Their older brother Lee is buried next to Martha.  I've never been able to find the cause of Lee's death, but he was a young man of 24 when he died.

Finally, the grave of Allen Frankum, "Uncle Fatty", is close to those of Lee and Martha.  You can find more information on Allen in a previous post.

The memorial service was lovely and very moving.   The opportunity to reconnect with distant relatives is always enjoyable.   I am so glad to have been a part of this opportunity to pay tribute to our Southern veterans.

And I'm glad I was born in the land of cotton.  Look away, Dixieland!


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