1861-1880


     William P
. Stradford
 (also spelled Stratford) (1835-1898) was Worshipful Master in 1858 and Junior Warden in 1860 and 1862.

    W. P. Stradford, Company I, 7th Regiment Alabama Cavalry, enlisted September 15, 1862 at Decatur, Alabama by Capt. R. W. Figg for 3 years.  He was wounded in Winston County, Ala. and sent to hospital at Decatur, Ala. August 28, 1863.  He lost his left arm at the elbow and received $30.12 compensation.  He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant January 20, 1864 for Valor and Skill.
    After the war, he kept water levels on the south side of the O'Neal Bridge crossing the Tennessee River at Sheffield (South Florence) for Southern Rail Road.
    After 1880, he moved to Bessemer and became a Jefferson County Commissioner.  He died one Sunday morning on his way to church on horseback.  It appears he had a stroke and was dead when he hit the ground.  At the time of his death, he was a member of Bessemer Lodge No. 386.
    CLICK HERE to be re-directed to his Find A Grave Memorial #92799208 and additional biographical information.

   
    The North Alabama Steamboat Company was incorporated in 1861 with
Mathew Mahan and Pleasant Todd as two of the Commissioners. Mahan and Todd were members of Rising Sun and were Captains of steamboats delivering passengers, mail, cotton and other goods between the Shoals and Chattanooga and the upper Tennessee River system.

      
     Rising Sun Lodge No. 29 is included in the list of Alabama lodges in 1858.
 16

    The Memphis & Charleston Railroad Bridge across the Tennessee River at Decatur was burned by 1st Wisconsin Infantry during the Civil War.
    The August 16, 1862 issue of Harper's Weekly published the drawing (below top right) entitled
 THE WAR IN NORTH ALABAMA—BURNING THE BRIDGE OVER THE TENNESSEE, AT DECATUR.—Sketched By Mr. H. Hubner - Third Ohio Volunteers.  All rights reserved.

    The lithograph (below bottom left) depicting this event is dated September 13, 1862.  Both images offer views from the north side of the Tennessee River across and in a southwesterly direction.
    The top left photo shows the breastworks construction.  Arrow 1 is the Old State Bank and arrow 3is the McCartney Inn in the foreground.  Some historians believe arrow 2 points to the actual building Rising Sun Lodge No. 29. occupied until it was destroyed by Union troops in 1864.
    The drawing (below bottom right) illustrates the pontoon bridge constructed across the Tennessee River and offers a view of the buildings left standing in Decatur in late 1862.
    It is very probable that the Rising Sun Lodge No. 29 building is illustrated on one or all of these illustrations (especially the top left photograph) as the Lodge was not destroyed until late in 1864.









      CLICK HERE to more closely examine the above lower left lithograph on the ADAH Digital Collections website.  All rights reserved.

    
During the Civil War, Rising Sun Lodge No. 29 was destroyed November 25, 1864 by United States troops. 7

    When the Federal Troops came through the South, there was unbelievable destruction.  For example, Rising Sun Lodge No. 29 was permitted "to hold Lodge meetings in any convenient place they may select in the neighborhood until such time at the Lodge may be able to rebuild their Lodge Room, it having been destroyed by the Enemy."  41
    
    Dr. C. F. M. Dancy
(1814-1875)
was Junior Warden in 1847, 1859 and again in 1865. He served as Senior Warden in 1845 and 1863.
    Charles Fenton Mercer Dancy was born of Hueugnot ancestors who belonged to French nobility.  He was educated at La Grange college, studied medicine in Nashville and New Orleans and set up practice in Decatur.
    When a youth he served in the Mexican War and received land grants from Texas for his services.
    After the taking of Decatur by the enemy, Dr. Dancy was required to serve in Federal hospitals.
    Prior to the War of Secession he was a Whig but later affiliated with the Democratic Party.
    His wife, Sarah Dandridge, was the daughter of General Jesse Winston Garth.
    CLICK HERE to be re-directed to his Find A Grave Memorial #21589916 and additional biographical information.

    R. L. Neely (1821-1865) joined RSL29 in 1860 and was its Junior Deacon in 1863 before going off to war.
    Our records reveal that he died as a Prisoner of War in Camp Chase, Ohio. He is the only member of our Lodge we can establish as having perished as a result of defending the Confederacy during the War of Northern Aggression.
    Sergt. R. L. Neely, CSA, Company D, 7th Alabama Cavalry, died on March 27, 1865. His marker number is 1764.
    Camp Chase was established May 1861 in Columbus, Ohio as a training camp for Ohio volunteer soldiers, a parole camp, a muster outpost and a prisoner of war camp. All that remains of the camp today is a Confederate cemetery containing 2,260 graves of Confederate prisoners of war.

    CLICK HERE to be re-directed to his Find A Grave Memorial #74948263 and additional biographical information.


   
James McGinnis Brundidge
 (1812-1901) was Worshipful Master of Rising Sun Lodge 1862-1869 and again in 1871.
    
He was initiated April 16, 1838, in Athens Lodge No. 16, Passed January 4, 1840, and Raised January 18, 1840 in Helion Lodge No. 1, in Huntsville, Ala.
    He was Worshipful Master of Athens Lodge No. 16 from 1845 through 1847.
    He was superintendent of the brick work in the construction of Athens College 1843-44.
 40     

   Much of Athens State University remains in physical evidence and in legend. A local tale has it that a jug of whiskey was left behind during the construction of the four large columns that grace the front of the building.

  The following appeared in the 1901 obituary of HMWPGM Brundidge, brickwork superintendent of the 1842 construction:
      "In that day it was usual for the workmen to have whiskey on all the buildings and he carried one there early one morning and, setting it down in the bottom of a column went to work. [He forgot about it as the work continued.] Soon the brickwork was so high that it was impossible to get the bottle out without taking down a large part of the work and the stuff was just too cheap in the good old days to do that. He just left it there and there it remains (Dunnavant 1995, p 26-27)."
   During this period, when the school was under the aegis of the Tennessee Conference of the Methodist Church, the four columns were nicknamed for the Four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in order from the north to the south. The location of the hidden jug is also the subject of some dispute. The most common location for the jug is said to be in Matthew but other sources claim it is in Luke. Whatever the source or location, the legend of the lost jug of whiskey remains prevalent in the lore of Founders Hall. There's no telling which disciple now has custody of the well-aged whiskey.
   The lost jug of whiskey is more than just curious artifact. It also has been suggested that the lost jug serves a nothing less than the motivation for the ghost of Founders Hall. The ghost, it is said, is the brick mason obsessed with protecting the jug from those who would plunder it for their own enjoyment. 

    He was elected Grand Lecturer of the Grand Lodge in 1848 and annually thereafter until 1854.  He was elected Junior Grand Warden in 1862 and in 1863 refused further advancement.
    During the
 War Between The States, he enlisted as a private in Fennell's Morgan County Rangers Company of Home Guards44
    
In 1889 the office of State Grand Lecturer was created to which he was appointed held the position until the time of his death.
 23
    The 79th Annual Communication was held in Montgomery, Ala. on December 4-5, 1899.  The title of Honorary Grand Master was bestowed, by unanimous vote, upon Brother James M. Brundidge, Grand Lecturer, and the oldest member of the Grand Lodge then living.  This is the first time that such honorary distinction has been bestowed in Alabama and is not to be cited as a precedent for similar action hereafter.  The honor was, in this instance, worthily given.
 24
    Upon the venerable and dearly beloved State Grand Lecturer R.W. Bro. James M. Brundidge’s entrance the Grand Lodge Hall, a souvenir of this memorable and important epoch in the history of Alabama Masonry had been prepared.
    1000 badges with a ribbon from which suspended a medallion pendant bearing the likeness of Brundidge were distributed and worn during the proceedings.27  Somerville Lodge #721 proudly displays one of these in their Archives and the Alabama Grand Lodge in Prattville has two in their Library Museum.
    
At the 85th Annual Grand Communication held in Montgomery, Ala. on December 5-6, 1905, it was recorded that "In addition to placing a bust of the late State Grand Lecturer Brother James M. Brundage (sp.) in the library of the Grand Lodge, as mentioned in our report two years ago, a suitable monument has been erected on his grave."
 25 33
    The photos below left and center are courtesy of Claude Neal Hudson.  All rights reserved.
    The photo below on the far right has been donated to Rising Sun Lodge No. 29 by Ellen S. Butler in honor of her Father, James E. Latane Sutherland.  A copy of this photo resides in the Morgan County Archives - Bank Street, Decatur, Al.  All rights reserved.






    CLICK HERE to be re-directed to his Find A Grave Memorial #93019063 and additional biographical information.

    Dr. Jacob Young Cantwell (1824-1883) was elected Senior Warden in 1867 and again in 1871.
    J. Y. Cantwell graduated in medicine from Cleveland Medical College in 1847 and practiced in Mansfield, Ohio.
    
Ohio Regimental Lodges were issued during the Civil War.  Dr. Jacob Cantwell was Worshipful Master of Pioneer No. 4 in Ohio and also Deputy Grand Master of the Ohio Grand Lodge.  The Senior Warden was his brother James who was killed at the Second Bull Run Aug. 29, 1862.
    On April 15, 1861 he entered the medical department of the Union Army as Surgeon of the 4th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
  
  When his brother, Col. James Cantwell, organized the 82nd regiment, he was made Surgeon.
    He was severely wounded, shot through the thigh, at the battle of Cross Keys, VA on June 8, 1862.
    He was in active service in the field until December 1863, filling the office of Brigade, Division and Crops Surgeon.  He was under fire in 20 battles in all of which he officiated as Operating Surgeon.
    In January, 1864, he was commissioned by President Abraham Lincoln as Surgeon of the U.S. Volunteers and was assigned to duty by the Surgeon General as inspector of hospitals with headquarters at Washington.  By recommendation of the Surgeon General he was brevetted Lt. Col. forMeritorious Service.
    After the war he moved to Decatur, Alabama and, in addition to his usual profession as a Doctor, he became interested in business and planting.
    The Old State Bank Building, still bearing the scars of Civil War minié balls and shrapnel, became the residence and office of Dr. Cantwell.
    The May 23, 1878 edition of The Southern Immigrant newspaper reported the following:
         
Part of the old bank, owned by Dr. Cantwell, fell this evening burying beneath the ruins Dr. Ward, T. C. Walden, Clark Hansell and Banister Locke. The Decatur Decatur "News" office was in the second story, and is a complete wreck.  All escaped with slight bruises excepting Locke and Ward who were seriously injured. The loss will reach $2500.
    
There continues to exist a legend that a $250,000 Union payroll is buried on the property.
    After his death the building began to fall into disrepair and his grand niece, Mrs. W. B. Edmundson, deeded the building over to the City of Decatur in 1933. 
 50 51 52 70
       



    CLICK HERE to be re-directed to his Find A Grave Memorial #20277944 and additional biographical information.   

    
Jasper N. Wade
 (1832-1893) served as Junior Warden in 1867, Senior Warden 1868-69 and Worshipful Master in 1870.
    He served the CSA as 2nd Lieutenant in the
 War Between the States.  Jasper N. Wade and Belton O. Nabors were special favorites of Brigade, Division and Corps Commanders for perilous scouting service65
    He was elected as Worshipful Master of Trinity Lodge No. 386 in 1874 and was Justice of the Peace in Morgan County, Alabama in 1878.

    CLICK HERE to be re-directed to his Find A Grave Memorial #53939805 and additional biographical information.

    
John B. Stuart
 (1825-1903) was Junior Warden in 1872.  He was born in Morgan County, learned the carpenter’s trade while a young man, and at the age of eighteen years embarked in mercantile business.  He came to Decatur in 1842, and two years later, moved to Somerville.
    In 1851 he was elected Clerk of the Circuit Court; in 1858 he was a traveling man and, in 1861, resumed the mercantile business at Somerville.
    In the spring of 1862 he joined
 Company H, Twenty-seventh Alabama, and was soon afterward made its Captain.  At Fort Donelson he fell into the hands of the enemy and was held many months as a prisoner of war at Camp Chase, and at Johnson’s Island.  After his exchange, which took place in September following his capture, he took part in the battles of Corinth, Baker’s Creek, Resaca, Cassville, Lost Mountain and Atlanta.  During General John Bell Hood’s raid into Tennessee, he had charge of a scouting party, and at the head of about one hundred rangers met General James H. Wilson at Elyton (now part of Birmingham).  This engagement proved decidedly unfortunate, as he lost all his command.
    After the war he returned to Decatur, where he has since been one of the most successful merchants of this place.
 66
    The following are excerpts from newly discovered letters from Camp Chase prisoners:
        
From 1st Lt. Peter Barker, Mess 58, Prison 8, April 21st 1862:
            Dear Brother
            I am in very good helth 15 of ous in a mess all tolerabel well with the exception
            of Capt John Stuart of Morgan Co.
            I have had mups I was vaxenated it had vary good effect we have sinc the first
            of this mont 4 cases of small pox but……
        From Capt. J. B. Stuart, Mess 58, Prison 3, April 21st 1862:
            Dear Sarah
            ……I am quite lame yet from an attack of Rheumatism.
            .....I think if I could get out of this prison and a bed to sleep on in place of
            a hard plank I will improve fast. Our prison is verry damp and the house we
            are in leaks verry bad. It rains all night and the floor is wet all over there is
            nothing but a plank rood on it…….
            ……I have a list of all that are dead that I know of……
            ……You must take good care of your self & send the children to school……
            ……We have bin unlucky to some extent but live in hope. My mess is all
            verry cleaver to me in my sickness. As kind as  brothers and the ties made
             here cannot be loosed until death……
            ……Tell all my friends to write me as this life is verry monotonous. My respects
            to all inquiring friends. Kiss the children for me & accept one your self. 
67
    
In 1888, Capt. J. B. Stuart contracted Yellow Jack (as yellow fever was commonly called) while attending his son who died of the dreaded disease.  Capt. Stuart’s case is light and he is expected to recover.  72

 

     CLICK HERE to be re-directed to his Find A Grave Memorial # 59306687 and additional biographical information.

    Joseph S. Sugars
 (1845-1892) served as Senior Warden from 1872-1874, and as Worshipful Master 1875, 1876 and again in 1887.
    He was born in Decatur, May 12, 1845, and was reared and received his education at the common schools of this place.
    In the fall of 1862 he enlisted in the Confederate Army, in
 Company E, First Alabama Cavalry,and was detailed on special duty in General Roddy's Escort.  He was in the engagements at Pond Springs and continuous skirmishes in front of Wilson.  He was present at the battles of Harrisburg and Tupelo, Miss., East Point, Ga., and the siege of Atlanta, which was his last battle in the war.  He was at Montgomery at the time it surrendered, and at once returned to his father's farm, where he remained about two years.
    He then came to Decatur, and as a member of the firm of Levy, Sugars & Son, Jewelers, met with good success.
    He is a director in the North Alabama Oil and Asphalt Company, of Birmingham, Ala., and owns considerable property in Decatur.
 43
    
CLICK HERE to be re-directed to his Find A Grave Memorial #66875189 and additional biographical information.

     Prior to the early 1870’s, it is not known exactly where meetings were held.  It has been discovered that meetings were held in several different places, most likely ranging from individual members homes, to other buildings as they became available.
    Records do reveal that sometime around 1873, however, a Lodge was built on the northwest corner of Bank Street and Pond Street, (Pond Street is now Wilson Street), and this is where regular meetings occurred until approximately 1876, when that building caught fire and burned to the ground.

    Brother James M. Brundidge offered the following resolution during the proceedings of the annual communications of the Grand Lodge in 1876 and it was adopted;
        
Relief of Rising Sun Lodge, No. 29: Reached, That Rising Sun Lodge, No. 29,
        at Decatur, having, on the 7th of November, lost by fire it's charter, jewels and 
        furniture; a new charter is hereby granted to said Lodge, free of charge and it's
        dues for the present year remitted.
 
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    A
fter this Lodge burned down, Rising Sun Lodge moved it’s location to a two-story building owned by Brother R. P. Baker, which was just down the block on the corner of Bank Street and Market Street.  This building was closer to the river, and served as Rising Sun’s designated Lodge for several years.

    In 1877 James M. Brundidge represented Rising Sun Lodge 29 at Grand Lodge in Montgomery, Ala.31

   
 The first of two major yellow fever epidemics struck Decatur in 1878 with 58 confirmed deaths36 and the membership of Rising Sun Lodge 29 escaped not.
    The November 23, 1878 edition of the Decatur News published the following:
        Masonic Tribute - Rising Sun Lodge No. 29 Free and Accepted Masons, mourns the
        loss of an honored and highly esteemed member, The Rev. Joel W. Whitten, late
        pastor of the Methodist Church, South, in Decatur, died of yellow fever on
        Sunday morning, October 28th. 39




     CLICK HERE to be redirected to his Find A Grave Memorial #52999250 and additional biographical information.

    On December 2, 1878, it was resolved at Grand Lodge "That The Dues of Rising Sun Lodge No. 29 be remitted for the present year, that lodge having suffered severely on account of the yellow fever."  42

    P. J. Edwards (1847-1916) was Junior Warden in 1877 and 1878.  Perry Jackson Edwards was born at Milledgeville, GA.  In May, 1861, he enlisted, at the age of thirteen, in Company A, Sixteenth Georgia Battalion, Stewart's Brigade, Walker's Division.  Both Stewart and Walker were killed in the Battle of Atlanta in 1864.
    He was in the service about two years and nine months and participated in the battles of Kennesaw, and in the Atlanta campaign, was with General Hood at Franklin and Nashville.
    He was never wounded but was captured in April, 1864 and held as a prisoner of war.  He was paroled on the 23rd day of April, 1865 at Macon, Ga.
    After attending the University of Georgia for two years, he was employed by the Louisville & Nashville Railroad Company.  In 1873 he moved to Decatur, Alabama where he was a car inspector.
59
    For the sum of $3,500, a deed was filed in the Morgan County Probate Court, transferring the 50-foot lot at the corner of Bank and Walnut Streets to the Decatur Lodge I. O. O. F.  The property was owned by a combine of local men, who bought it during the boom days.  The deed was signed by Col. C. C. Harris and P. J. Edwards, trustees.
    It is understood the Odd Fellows will, in the near future erect a handsome two story double brick store building on the lot. 60
    
CLICK HERE to be re-directed to his Find A Grave Memorial #39805373 and additional biographical information.

  



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