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Oct. 3—The Hodge-Martin-Chatfield Museum is always looking for ways to remember those who have lived in the northeast Navarro County community in years gone by, according to Rob Jones, one of the Museum's directors.
"Keeping their memory alive through our activities is one of our missions," he said.
In recounting the Museum's events in the last few years, Jones noted, "We've placed Texas Historical Markers for World War II Gen. Lucian Truscott and Lt. Gov. Marion Martin; we've sponsored tours to acknowledge the role of Chatfield's one-time Baptist pastor, Rev. Elijah Quillen, in bringing Protestantism to Catholic Brazil; we also marked the 100th anniversary of the First World War death of African-American soldier Zack Brooks, a Chatfield native."
Jones said many left the village's farms and ranches to fight in the wars of the last 175 years.
"A goodly number of soldiers — both natives and immigrants to Chatfield — now eternally sleep in our cemeteries," he said.
He and his daughter, Mary Page Jones, had a unique opportunity to honor the memories of two such soldiers earlier in September.
Chatfield's Andrew George Weems and George L. Cayce were two of the thousands of soldiers under the command of Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest in the Civil War.
Jones and his daughter were invited to participate in the re-interment of General Forrest and his wife in Sept. 18 in Tennessee as they were reburied some 20 miles from the farm where Forrest grew up. Jones portrayed Sgt. Weems and his daughter portrayed Weem's daughter, Maggie.
The reburial was conducted by the national organization of Confederate descendants known as the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Jones is a member of the William Henry Parsons Camp #415, SCV, in Ennis, and Mary Page belongs to Calvin Crozier Chapter of the Children of the Confederacy.
"We don't have any evidence that Andy Weems or George Cayce attended the funeral of Gen. Forrest when he died a hundred and some years ago," Jones said, "but there were many soldiers who fought under him who did."
Noting how honored they were to attend the invitation-only services in Middle Tennessee, Jones admitted he felt that both Weems and Cayce would have approved.
"These two men saw hard service under Forrest and were proud of performing their duties as soldiers," Jones said. "It was an honor to say that 'I rode with Forrest,' and only a few thousand Confederate soldiers could claim it. We were at the Forrest services to make them a part of it."
According to his service record, Corporal Cayce was in the 7th Kentucky Mounted Infantry and fought with Forrest at his greatest victory, the Battle of Brice's Cross Roads in Mississippi on June 10, 1864. At least four soldiers of this unit died there and are buried on the field while a number of others, including Cayce, were wounded.
Weems's Confederate Pension Record and family history accounts indicate that he served with Forrest for practically the entire war in the 4th Alabama Cavalry. He was wounded at the Battle of Shiloh in April, 1862, fought at Brice's Cross Roads, and was with Forrest at his last battle in April 1865 at Selma, Alabama.
"These men came to Chatfield after the war and were productive citizens," Jones said. "They bought land and built lives there. Descendants of both these men still are active in the community of Chatfield, Andy Weems's great-great-grandson lives not 50 years from where the old veteran built a log cabin and lived for years."
"I think the great novelist, William Faulkner, must have had Chatfield in mind when he wrote, "The past is never dead. It's not even past,'" Jones concluded. "Through the generations, the contributions and legacies of these men live on in this community, and that makes Chatfield a unique historical place."