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John Pelham commemoration rolls into Jacksonville square


The community of Jacksonville, Alabama gathered on the town square on Saturday, March 16 2013 to embark on a journey taking them back into history.

The John Pelham Commemorative Celebration marked the 150th anniversary of Major John Pelham’s death and brought Jacksonville citizens out to enjoy the sunny day and street vendors.

The town’s participants were eager to do their part in teaching the younger generation as they dressed the part of our founding four fathers and participated in re-enactments.

Pelham was dubbed, “The Gallant Pelham” by Robert E. Lee himself. He was given the name due to his courageous acts. It is said that Pelham revolutionized the usage of light artillery in the Civil War era.

Visitors could partake in a walking tour starting at the Confederate Soldier Statue.

Tour guides were dressed in 1800s clothing. Tourists were given a brief description of Jacksonville in the 1830s, a time when the city was referred to as Drayton.

The First Presbyterian Church was one of the stops on the tour where everyone learned that while balconies were uncommon in Presbyterian Churches, one could see that this was a segregated church that was built prior Civil War.

Another church known for its impressive architectural features was the St Luke’s Episcopal Church.

The overall cost to build the church was $2,200 and is the oldest church in Jacksonville.

They have some original features; however, they do not maintain the original bells.

The original bells from the First Presbyterian Church and St. Luke’s Church had to be melted down and used for cannons.

Information regarding George Patti was given at the event.

Patti was the first freed slave after the civil war to own a business when he started a shoe shop in the current West Reality Building. Patti later changed his name to George Reid after his slave family.

The Ladies School of Jacksonville was built in 1837 and was the educational instiution for women. The name was later changed to Jacksonville Female Academy and closed in 1885.

Families came together for a full day of festivities. Music was provided and local businesses welcomed the door for anyone willing to be a patron of Jacksonville for the day.

The event truly showed the heart of this small town.

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