June 2016 was an exciting time for Kirby-Smith Chapter 327, as one of their projects had come to fruition. On October 17, 2015, the Chapter hosted an 1863 Tullahoma (Tennessee) Campaign tour that was led by Civil War Historian Dr. Michael Bradley. The last stop on the tour was Oakwood Cemetery. While at the cemetery, Dr. Bradley walked the group over to the gravesite of Mrs. Eva Montgomery Taylor who died in 1918. On Mrs. Taylor’s headstone, there was a reference to her being the sister-in-law of General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Dr. Bradley pointed out that the spelling of the General’s name was incorrect. Instead of an “N,” the initial had been cut as an “M.” At the Chapter’s next meeting, it was voted to replace Mrs. Taylor’s headstone with corrected information. Member Sheila Williams was to head up the project.
The first step was to locate Mrs. Taylor’s descendants and obtain their permission. After a lengthy search, Sheila located three of Mrs. Taylor’s descendants on the Montgomery side of the family. Unanimously they gave permission to proceed. The headstone was then ordered from a local monument company with the requirement that it was to be the same size and style as the original. The reference to Mrs. Taylor being the sister-in-law of General Forrest was placed on the replacement stone as well as “Dedicated by the UDC, Kirby-Smith Chapter 327.” The original stone was placed at the foot of Mrs. Taylor’s grave.
The Dedication Service was held on June 4, 2016 with Chapter and SCV members in attendance. Two of Mrs. Taylor’s descendants were also present. The invocation was given by Tim Morrison, a member of Col. George H. Nixon Camp 214, SCV, and a volunteer docent at the Nathan Bedford Forrest boyhood home in Chapel Hill, Tennessee. Syble Throneberry, chapter memorial chairman, gave the opening address, stressing that it is our duty to protect and preserve historical artifacts, and facts, for the future.
Sheila presented the project’s history then introduced Jimmy Hawkins and his son, James, of Tullahoma, who unveiled the headstone. Closing remarks and the benediction were given by Mr. Morrison.
Prior to her death, Mrs. Taylor, a widow, lived with her cousin, Mrs. Lucy Caroline Robinson Cowan. Mrs. Cowan’s late husband, Dr. J. B. Cowan, was the medical director of General Forrest’s medical corps.
The Kirby-Smith Chapter 327 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy was organized in Sewanee, Tennessee on September 30, 1899 and was named in memory of Confederate General Edmund Kirby-Smith who, following the War Between the States, was a well-loved mathematics professor at the University of the South. After 100 years of dedicated service, the Chapter voted to disband on August 31, 2000. However, the Chapter was reactivated in 2002 and a re-chartering ceremony was held in Sewanee on August 25. For additional information about General Kirby-Smith and the Kirby-Smith Chapter, visit www.kirbysmith327.com.
-By Ginger Delius