Friendship Cemetery in Columbus - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Friendship Cemetery in Columbus

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COLUMBUS, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Friendship Cemetery in Columbus is known for several reasons. Not the least of which is, this is the place where what we know as Memorial Day originated. A year after Robert E. Lee surrendered his army to General Grant, for all practical purposes ending the Civil War, the ladies of Columbus decorated the graves of the Confederate and Union soldiers buried here starting a tradition that has lasted all the way to our time.

Probably the best known grave marker in Friendship Cemetery is the Weeping Angel that watches over the Teasdale plot. It was bought and placed here by the congregation of First Baptist Church of Columbus in 1891 as a token of their love for Dr. Thomas Cox Teasdale, the 9th pastor of their church, serving from 1858 until 1863.

He resigned the ministry of the church to go preach to the Confederate troops out in the field. After that became increasingly impossible, Dr. Teasdale came back to Mississippi and got involved in trying to organize an orphanage for soldier's children.

A plan to fund the orphanage was devised to buy Southern Cotton with Confederate money, take it to New York and sell it for Greenbacks, and take the profit and apply it to the project. The only problem with that plan, it was illegal to buy and sell cotton by that time of the war. Illegal, that is, unless you had the express consent of the Government.

Teasdale was the perfect emissary to get Confederate President Jefferson Davis' permission since Teasdale was acquainted with Davis from the time Teasdale pastored a church in Washington D.C. during Davis's senatorial days. So it was easy to get his signature. But that was only half the problem.

Permission to SELL the cotton also had to be obtained from the US Government. Again, Teasdale was the man because he knew LINCOLN personally from his early days of pastoring in Springfield, Illinois, where Lincoln had his law practice.

Long story really, really short, Teasdale got the signatures of both presidents on the same document. But on the way home, Lee surrendered to Grant. And after that, no amount of Confederate currency would by anything, anymore. So there went the cotton plan.

But if you wanted to raise money today, just find and sell that document Dr. Teasdale managed to get with both Jefferson Davis' and Abraham Lincoln's signatures on it.

A courageous man of deed and not merely word: no wonder he was loved so much the angels themselves wept at his death.

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