Harford Confederate family honored with grave-marking

BY BRYNA ZUMER, bzumer@theaegis.com
August 9, 2011

The cemetery at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Abingdon is full of Confederate history, and the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy hopes to bring more recognition to a major Civil War-era lieutenant, as well as his sister and sister-in-law, who are buried at the site.

"I consider it the most Confederate place in Harford County," Beth Manchester, president of the Harford Chapter 114 of the UDC, said of the cemetery.

Manchester helped organize a ceremony attended by roughly 100 people Saturday to dedicate an Iron Cross at the grave of Lt. Edward Hill Dorsey Pue and lay a UDC insignia marker at the graves of Cornelia Calmese Dunn Pue and Mary Elizabeth Pue Preston.

"This is the first one that we have done in Harford County but we have done some in Cecil County," Manchester, who has been with the group for 13 years, said about the ceremony.

She noted that nine past presidents of the United Daughters of the Confederacy as well as three Confederate veterans are also buried at St. Mary’s.

"We do plan to do some more in the future," she said about grave-markings in Harford.

Manchester said she was impressed by Lt. Pue’s reputation during the Civil War. He was wounded 11 times in more than 200 skirmishes. He died in 1905 at 65 years of age.

"I was really intrigued by Lt. Pue because if you read his obit, he is like a god. He’s a tall, handsome man who charges in every battle and doesn’t think twice about it," she said. "I just read about him and I thought, ‘Wow, an impressive man,’ and then I realized his wife was [Confederacy leader] Jefferson Davis’ goddaughter. She was from Louisiana."

Davis, the president of the Confederate States of America, had strong ties to St. Mary’s, she said.

His son, Jefferson Davis Jr., attended school and was confirmed at St. Mary’s sometime around 1872 —seven years after the war ended. Manchester said the father would visit when he was in the area for business. The elder Davis, she added, also stayed several times with the Pues, who lived at the nearby Woodview estate (also called Gibson’s Ridge).

Because of those various connections, Manchester thought it was important to mark the grave of Lt. Pue together with those of his sister and sister-in-law.

"They were a family and I felt it should be done as a family," she said.

As for the relatives who attended Saturday’s ceremony, "the family was very pleased because of course they know of him and they love him for being their ancestor. But I don’t think they realized how much they truly cared about him," Manchester said.

Manchester said people also do not realize that Marylanders were forbidden from joining the Confederacy, at least during the start of the Civil War, because of the state’s proximity to Washington, D.C. Maryland did not secede from the Union.

"A lot of them, like Lt. Pue, went to Virginia and joined regiments there," she said. "It was much more of a sacrifice than it was for some of the others."

The Harford Chapter of the UDC was revived in 1975 after being dormant for about 30 years, and serves as a historical organization that educates about the life of people at the time the Confederacy was a potent force.

"We basically try to preserve the history of the South. We mark graves, we provide scholarships, we do a Confederate Memorial Day," Manchester said. "We do a number of things, and we are not the ones who are out there pounding people, saying, ‘The South shall rise again.’ It’s more low-key. It’s more to honor our history."

On The Web:   http://www.baltimoresun.com/explore/harford/news/ph-ag-grave-markings-0810-20110808,0,7096205.story


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