Slaves of the 1800’s rarely ventured far from home during their lifetime, but not Bill Yopp, a native of Laurens County, Georgia. Serving in the American Civil War, Bill witnessed some of the bloodiest conflicts and some say he was at Appomattox.
Afterwards, he share cropped, moved to Macon and took a job at the Brown House Hotel where he met influential men of the State. Bill accompanied the owner of the hotel to Connecticut, worked in New York City, then took a position with the Charleston and Savannah Railroad, was employed in California, visited Europe, worked for the president of the Delaware and Hudson Railroad and also the United States Navy.
An aging Bill Yopp returned to Georgia to work for the Central of Georgia Railroad. During World War I, Bill lived at Camp Wheeler, where he won the admiration of the officers there, who presented him with a gold watch upon his departure. The editor of "The Macon Telegraph" helped Bill in a 1919 fund raising campaign for the residents of the Confederate Soldier’s Home. Bill published book about his life, with all proceeds going to the old soldiers.
Bill’s life-long friend Captain Thomas Yopp died in January of 1920, and Bill, in his eighties, gave the eulogy. Bill died after June 3, 1936 and was buried in Marietta, Georgia among many of the men he had served with. His gravestone, provided by the State of Georgia reads: DRUMMER BILL YOPP, CO. H, 14TH GA. INF., C.S.A.
John Wayne Dobson