Polk heritage has strong ties to Civil WarPublished 12:29pm Saturday, December 22, 2012
Our community was saddened by the death of 103-year-old Bennett Hinsdale on Dec. 7.
Prior to entering a nursing home (Rosecrest) Bennett had lived in Green Creek throughout his entire life, on property that his grandfather, C.C. Hinsdale, had bought from the Speculation Land Company in the 1800s. Five generations of the Hinsdale family had lived on this property.
Bennett was one of the first graduates of Green Creek High School, in 1929. His love of this area, his family and Green Creek School was evident to everyone who knew him. His memories were a delight to hear, especially about his grandfather’s participation in the Civil War, or the War Between the States, as it was sometimes called.
Bennett’s grandfather had also served as a Polk County Commissioner and had helped build the locally famous Skyuka Hotel in the 1890s.
In my last column, I wrote about M.A. (Mort) Cornwell, another Civil War soldier, who later served as a Polk County commissioner. I had a number of calls and comments on Cornwell’s writings. When Cornwell wrote his memoirs in 1928, he gave names and dates of Polk County people serving in the Civil War. The young men he wrote about left from our beloved old courthouse to begin their lives as soldiers.
Mort wrote “the county furnished the confederate army 303 soldiers. The first company was organized at Columbus on the 20th day of April, 1861 with the following officers: J.C. Camp, Captain, and G.W. Peak, First Lieutenant, R.H. Hunter, 2nd Lieutenant, and R.H. Mills, 3rd Lieutenant….number of men enrolled (was )110. The second company organized April 5, 1862…N.P. Hampton, J.A. Thorn, D.V. Rhodes, J.B .Greenway, W.H .McFarland, W.T. Cornwell. We had 65 men to start with. We left Polk County (on) April 15, 1862. We stopped in Raleigh for a month to drill and to get in shape. So the Last days of September, we left Raleigh for Richmond, Va. We stayed at Richmond for a month or so, then we left for Fredricksburg.”
Mort Cornwell goes on to give details of his first battle, and about how he evaded capture, when his best friend Bill McFarland and others were not so fortunate. Most of the above mentioned Confederate soldiers have descendants and other relatives living in Polk County today.
Community: Hats off to the area churches (and their young people) who make our Christmases so wonderful with their plays, pageants and musicals! If you haven’t already seen the beautiful light display this year at the Ballenger house on Hwy. 9 South, you should go. It is so beautiful! It’s location is just north of the Green Creek Fire Station, on N.C. Hwy. 9. Our thanks go to all those people who spend hours, days and sometimes weeks to make our Christmases so special!
Happy Birthday to Melanie Smith, Willa Mae Byers, Halley Linder, Floyd Sauve, Virginia Jones, Clifford McDade, Shelby Upton, Kathy Cochran, and Celia Pittman. Among those celebrating wedding anniversaries this month are Emogene and Roy Taylor and Mickey and Albert Durham.
If you have news of this area please call me at 863-2437.