Lt. Robert Morgan receives Cross of Honor

Members of the 16th Regiment Color Guard post the Colors at the beginning of the dedication ceremony.

Members of the 16th Regiment Color Guard post the Colors at the beginning of the dedication ceremony.

By Kayce Shusterman, For the Courier

SIX MILE — Descendants of Robert Finley Morgan gathered at his grave site in the Morgan-Cannon family cemetery near Six Mile to participate in a Southern Cross of Honor dedication ceremony in October.

Robert Morgan was born May 27, 1812, and grew up in Upper Pickens District. He was married to Malissa Cannon, and the couple had eight sons and three daughters. The families at the dedication ceremony traced their ancestry back through Robert and Malissa’s children.

The event was sponsored by the Pickens County 150 Confederate Project, Central Heritage Society, Pickens County Historical Society and the Old Pendleton Genealogical Society. In addition, the Sons of Confederate Veterans were represented by Jefferson Davis Easley Camp 7, 2nd South Carolina Regiment Pickens Camp 71 and the 16th Regiment Color Guard. The United Daughters of the Confederacy members were from the James L. Orr and John C. Calhoun Chapters.

The program began with a bagpiper leading members of the 16th Regiment Color Guard into the cemetery to post the Colors, followed by pledges and salutes to the flags led by Catherine Carson of the UDC.

President of the Central Heritage Society Beverly Cureton welcomed everyone to the ceremony.

The Central Heritage Society operates the Central History Museum, which was built in 1893 and was originally the home of Jeptha and Minnie Morgan. Jeptha was one of Robert and Malissa’s children.

Anne Sheriff, Curator for Central Museum and the Faith Clayton Family Research Center at Southern Wesleyan University, explained the Pickens County 150 Confederate Project to the audience.

She said that the Confederate 150 Project coincides with the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States.  Members of this group travel to cemeteries all over Pickens County to attempt to locate all Confederate soldiers buried in Pickens County. The plan is to honor each soldier with a Confederate Cross of Honor at their gravesite. In addition, military information is being gathered, along with GPS locations, to ensure that these soldiers can be more easily located in the future.

Sheriff told attendees that in May of this year, 50 soldiers had received their Crosses of Honor and were remembered during the Confederate Memorial Day Service sponsored by the Pickens Historical Society.

She added that another 100 soldiers had been identified and would be recognized next year.

Betty Morgan Holcombe, a great-granddaughter of Robert Morgan, through his son James Rufus Morgan, was the featured speaker. She read several newspaper articles and personal histories concerning her ancestor.

She said Robert, known as Bob, served as a Deputy Sheriff and Constable for the Pickens District. In addition, he operated a grist mill known as Morgan’s Mill (later Jones Mill) on Six Mile Creek. Robert and his 17-year-old son William Lafayette left their home for the muster grounds in Sandy Springs in 1861.

Robert was a First Lieutenant. He resigned his commission in 1863 due to a continued illness.

In 1866, he sold his share of Morgan’s Mill and moved to Perryville, just east of Seneca, where he operated a successful inn. His wife Malissa died in 1871. He stayed at the inn until his children were grown, then returned to the Jones Mill area, where he died in 1884.

Mrs. Holcombe said that after his death, the family found ledgers with hundreds of small loans totaling thousands of dollars made by Robert to members of his community. His epitaph reads, “He was the poor man’s friend.”

To conclude the ceremony, Ken Nabors, Camp 17 Adjutant and President of the Pickens Historical Society, unveiled the Southern Cross of Honor at Lt. Morgan’s grave.

Descendants Virginia Morgan Wilson of the William Lafayette line, Janice Evans Whitten of the Mary Emmaline line, and Alton Morgan and Betty Holcombe of the James Rufus line, placed a wreath upon the grave.

A benediction prayer was given by Wayne Kelley, Vice President of the Pickens County Historical Society.

Jim Bay of Camp 71 performed a Canteen ceremony with the members of the 16th Regiment which included a drink of water for their fallen comrade poured at the grave site. This was followed by a Cannon and Rifle salute involving the 2nd S.C. Regiment before the Color Guard retired the Colors.