N.J. Confederate Daughters to honor veterans
By KARA L. RICHARDSON • GANNETT NEW JERSEY • March 16, 2010
SOUTH BOUND BROOK — The United Daughters of the Confederacy’s local chapter will honor two veterans who have family ties to the Confederate Army.
The Saturday event will be the United Daughters of the Confederacy Isaac W. K. Handy Chapter’s first military service award ceremony, First Vice President Rhonda Florian said. The local chapter, founded a few years ago, serves most of New Jersey.
Florian had three great-great-grandfathers who fought for the Confederate Army at the Battle of Gettysburg.
"Fortunately, they all survived — or I wouldn’t be here," she said.
Each one had a story. Florian’s great-great-grandfather William Pike was Quaker, a sect that typically eschews slavery and violence. He joined the Confederate Army to protect his home, Florian said.
Florian, 55, who grew up in North Carolina and lives in the Somerset section of Franklin, began to discover her family history when she started studying genealogy a few years ago.
She is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, for those who are direct descendants of those who helped America achieve independence, because of ancestors who included participants in the Boston Tea Party and Revolutionary War veterans. She is gathering documents to apply to the Descendents of the Founders of New Jersey heritage group.
"It is about history. It is about family. It is about honoring where you came from," Florian said. "It makes me realize how connected we all are and how we need to learn from mistakes in the past and not repeat those mistakes."
The United Daughters of the Confederacy was formed in the 1800s to care for wounded veterans, widows and orphans after the Civil War. They also sought to return the bodies of Confederate soldiers killed on battlefields far from home.
The group’s members come from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and chapters have expanded beyond the South as people have moved elsewhere.
Now, the group’s missions are about history, education, memorializing, benevolence and patriotism.
Therefore, Florian said, it is fitting to host a military service ceremony. The honorees at this year’s event are Albert H. Stovall of Huntington, N.Y., and Charles Ray Keown of Mount Arlington.
Stovall was a dental technician 2nd class petty officer in the Navy. He was assigned to the battleship USS Wisconsin, flagship of the Seventh Fleet off the coast of Korea from September 1953 to April 1954 during the Korean War.
His Confederate ancestor, William David Stovall, enlisted early in 1862, in Murfreesboro, Tenn., into Company I, 32nd Regiment of the Tennessee Infantry. He was was sent to a hospital in April 1863 and was granted a pension from the state of Tennessee after the war. Two of William Stovall’s brothers also served in the Confederate Army.
Keown was a member of the 60th Medical Battalion and served in Normandy in northern France during World War II. He served overseas for more than two years. from Dec. 29, 1943 to Jan. 29, 1946.
His great-grandfather, Mancel C. Cooper, enlisted in the Confederate Army with Company H of the South Carolina Palmetto Guards, known as Jenkin’s Palmetto Sharpshooters.
During the Civil War, Mancel was wounded and lost two fingers on his right hand and part of one finger on his left hand.