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Originally published: 2014-03-27 14:45:17
Last modified: 2014-03-27 14:45:17

Councill Cemetery confusion

It was with great interest that I read the recent article "Saving History," (March 23) concerning the old Jordan Councill Cemetery. The story references that the "Jordan Councill Cemetery plays a central role in Boone and Watauga County history; three Confederate infantrymen killed in Stoneman's Raid in 1865 are buried in the cemetery." It is unclear just who these three Confederate infantrymen were to whom the article refers.

When the lead elements of Stoneman's command came through on March 28, 1865, local citizens were attempting to re-organize the home guard, an organization that attempted to provide some sense of security against the bands of lawless men (mostly deserters) who plagued the countryside. The results of the clash were the deaths of Ephraim Norris, Warren Green and Calvin Green, none of whom were buried in the Jordan Councill Cemetery. Jacob Mast Green, who was murdered by some of Stoneman's men while out plowing in his field, is interred at the cemetery.

There are countless other Confederate soldiers buried in the Jordan Councill Cemetery. These include Joseph B. Todd of the First North Carolina Cavalry, Daniel B. Doughtery of the Sixth North Carolina Cavalry and Thomas J. Coffey of the Fifty-eighth North Carolina Troops.

What the story may be referencing are the graves of three Federal soldiers who once had grave markers in the East section of the Jordan Councill Cemetery. After Stoneman left the area, proceeding to the east, a brigade of "home yankees" moved into the area. These men were mostly former Confederate soldiers who had deserted and joined the Federal Army in East Tennessee. They enlisted in either the Second or Third North Carolina Mounted Infantry. One recent work characterized these men as "A notorious band of scoundrels and thieves."

Once arriving in the area, these men occupied five different points, including Boone itself, Deep Gap and Watauga Gap in Blowing Rock. From their "forts," the men roved over the surrounding area, robbing, murdering and committing crimes to no end. 

Five members of the Second North Carolina Mounted Infantry (US) died of disease while stationed in Boone. They died of typhoid or the measles. For many years, three of those soldiers had tombstones in the East section of the Jordan Councill Cemetery. It is unclear if the remains of the other two were removed, or if they never received the government stones.

On a visit to the Jordan Council Cemetery in June 2011, I photographed the three stones, two of which were broken, lying to the right of the gate as a person entered the cemetery. It might be possible to find the bases of the two broken stones and on learning of their location, replace the broken markers. 

At least two, if not three, graves might thus be recovered. If that was not possible, it was my suggestion in October 2012 after being contacted by the American Legion Post 130 in Boone that a marker with all five names should be installed in the Jordan Councill Cemetery.

If anyone is interested in discussing this matter further, please feel free to drop me a line (mchardy@michaelchardy.com)

Michael C. Hardy
2010 N.C. historian of the year