An Open Report / Monument Dedication & Lecture On the Bat Creek Stone East Hill Cemetery, Bristol, Tennessee
On Saturday morning, November 19, 2011 donned in the uniform of the Southern soldier, I would arrive two hours early at the East Hill Cemetery in Bristol TN/VA, for the planned Monument Dedication for the Honorable John W. Emmert CSA F Co. 63 Tennessee Infantry, and a Lecture on the infamous Bat Creek Stone he was to have discovered that would literally lead to the destruction of his reputation, but on this day, 150 years later, a Yankee Forensic Geologist from Minnesota would come in his words, “to restore the honor of John Emmert”.
Carrying the Southern Cross, I would make my way down State Street, through the old Historic downtown Bristol, conduct an interview, and eventually position myself on the corner of State and a major thoroughfare where my presence seemed to uplift the spirits of those who passed by. Many would shout out the Rebel Yell, or just call out my name, honk their car horns or just wave.
One hour and a half later, I would make my way back to the cemetery which was now filled to capacity with many of whom were among the elite of Tennessee and beyond (Mrs. Sheila Hunt; Director of Dept. of Archives and Tourism, Blountville, Tn., Commander of the Tennessee Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Mike Beck and his Lt. Commander, Dave Roberts, the Honorable Ed Harlow Bristol, Virginia Mayor who would serve as the Master of Ceremonies for the days event) ….
Guest Speakers: the Honorable David Shumaker, Bristol, Tn., Mayor, the Honorable Police Chief Blaine E. Wade, Bristol, Tn., the Honorable Scott Wolter, P.G., a Represenative of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the Honorable Bud Phillips, a Local Historian, Ms. Joyce Kistner of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and I would be the last to speak.
This day truly not only belonged to Pvt. Emmert, who was also a Constable of Bristol at the time he found what was believed to be a very ancient stone (Bat Creek Stone) that had ancient writings on it and was hastily discredited as a forgery, and the reputation of John Emmert and his families name forever tarnished, but to all those men who like him lie in graves all across America with their and their families name forever tarnished because they wore the grey of the Southern soldier, and made an honorable Stand for what they believed in.
It was unfortunate that I struck the nerve of Unionist Dr. John Gaines, a former Bristol Mayor, when I referenced a comment about Abraham Lincoln and the Corwin Amendment. I am used to folks interacting with me when I am speaking, but I was somewhat taken back when Dr. Gaines walked right up to me as I was addressing the audience, and informed me that I needed to end my speech because the cemetery was rented out to another group in the Confederate section that we now occupied, handed me his card that read: East Hill Cemetery Association, Dr. John Gaines President, and stalked away.
One of my dearest friends, the Honorable Ms. Eve Davenport would write: “I needed my fan and smelling salts. God bless Dr. Gaines, I suppose if he hadn’t stopped me, he would have had a heart attack if I had gone on to tell that I had accused Lincoln of War Crimes in a letter to Bill O’reilly, and asked him to hold a mock nationally televised trial where he as a lawyer and his chosen staff would defend Lincoln, and the Honorable Kirk D. Lyons and his chosen staff of the Southern Legal Resource Center would serve as the Prosecution. And further that he should promote the books of Black Southern writer Stanley Lott who wrote of Lincoln, and Thomas DiLorenzo.
After the treatment I received at Manassas as I spoke of the inhumane indignities heaped upon the South and its people before, during and especially after the War Between the States, that literally left the African people with no place to go but amongst their Southern White family that a man from the North would set against each other in fear that the love they shared as family might be rekindled is a truth that hurts. How could I hold malice towards Dr. Gaines? I could sense his fear and utter defeat that I had now brought upon him with a truth that had been far too long buried. I could only thank the Emmert family and the Honorable James Dodson and those who thought so highly of me, the son of former slaves to be not only present, but to be so honored to speak at the table of Brotherhood prepared in East Hill Cemetery on this day.