July 5th , 2013 10:17 am 22 Comments

Elizabethton officials say they want to avoid crossfire in cemetery skirmish

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You could say the City of Elizabethton wants to remain “non-aligned.”

Photo by Brandon HicksTwo groups are at odds over the inclusion of Confederate battle flags at Elizabethton's Green Hill Cemetery.

Photo by Brandon Hicks
Two groups are at odds over the inclusion of Confederate battle flags at Elizabethton’s Green Hill Cemetery.

One hundred fifty years after a bloody war that divided the country into two uncompromising factions, battle lines are being drawn in a small Elizabethton cemetery where the bodies of some of its veterans are buried.

For years, the Watauga Historical Association and the Robert J. Tipton Camp No. 2083 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans have each fired figurative volleys over the inclusion of Confederate memorial items in the Green Hill Cemetery in central Elizabethton, often seeking to recruit the Elizabethton Police Department as an ally.

City Manager Jerome Kitchens said the difference of opinion isn’t something the city wants to become embroiled in.

“We’ve tried not to take sides,” Kitchens said. “As long as none of them has violated city law, we don’t have any reason to be involved.”

He said local officials have attempted to mediate the conflict, but that peace talks have been unfruitful.

“The historical association is doing what they’re doing at the request of some relatives of people buried there, and the Confederate group is doing the same thing,” he said. “If there’s a violation we’ll tackle it, but a difference in opinions is not something we can tackle very well.”

Comments

22 Responses to Elizabethton officials say they want to avoid crossfire in cemetery skirmish

  1. Carter County Citizen says:

    Nothing like a bunch of rednecks arguing over something that happened long before they were born claiming “heritage”.

    • Eve Davenport Holder says:

      YOU NEED TO LEARN SOME HISTORY. I AM NOT A REDNECK. I AM WELL EDUCATED ESPECIALLY IN THE HISTORY OF THE SOUTH. I HAVE OVER 100 ANCESTORS WHO FOGHT AND IN SOME CASES DIED FOR A CAUSE THEY BELIEVED. I HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO HONOR THEM BY PLACING FLOWER AND FLAGS ON THEIR GRAVES. YOU SOUND LIKE A YANKEE. DO EVERYONE A FAVOR AND MOVE BACK UP NORTH.

      • Frank says:

        Ma’am, if you’re well educated, you may want to get the curriculum double checked, or go for a refresher course in spelling. Fought* just saying.
        Also, the caps lock key is less than an inch away from the pinky on your left hand (if you use the home row typing technique) feel free to use it.
        I know, all this new technology is a lot to figure out, but I’m always happy to help whenever I can.

  2. Eve Davenport Holder says:

    WE ALL NOW WHO THE MAIN CULPRIT HERE. THE WHA. PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT THIS GANG OF THUGS SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES. THEY ARE NOT PRESERVING HISTORY, THEY ARE DESTROYING IT. EACH TIME YOU ALL REMOVE ONE OF THE FLAGS OF THE CONFEDERACY FROM A CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS GRAVE, YOU ARE BREAKING THE LAW. EACH TIME YOU GET SMART AND THINK IT IS FUNNY TO PLACE A USA FLAG ON A CONFEDERATE GRAVE YOU ARE DESECRATING IT. SHAME ON YOU! HOW DARE YOU CALL YOURSELVES HISTORIANS AND CITIZENS OF THIS COUNTRY. YOU ARE NO BETTER THAN THE SOVIETS OR NAZIS DESTROYING A PEOPLE AND THEIR CULTURE. CULTURAL GENOCIDE IS WRONG. DESTROYING A PEOPLE BECAUSE WE ARE FAITHFUL TO OUR HERITAGE AND HISTORY IS GENOCIDE. MY ADVICE, LEAVE US ALONE. WE WANTED TO BE LEFT ALONG IN 1861. WE WANT TO BE LEFT ALONE TODAY. IF YOU DO NOT LIKE LIVING IN THE SOUTH, MOVE NORTH. WE WILL MOT MISS YOU.

    • SouthernBorn&Raised says:

      I’m not sure about all that is being spouted off here, or even what area you are from. But you are very historically wrong about this county. Carter County stayed Union loyal. Carter County was denied “being left alone” and was occupied for a time by the CSA. I’m sorry if you find that offensive but you cannot change history. Civil War has nothing to do with anyone being “southern”. We were southern before it and southern after. One cannot claim to be well educated if you let your emotions go off the deep end and sling nazi comments. You are far, far from educated. Plus a little tip, all caps doesn’t get your point across any better…if anything it takes away.

      • Eve Davenport Holder says:

        I know good and well the East part of TN was pro-union. However, it does not give you the right to desecrate the graves of the glorious dead. I do not like looking at union graves in national cemeteries but I do not remove flags or desecrate them. You are just one of many who wish to destroy the history and heritage of one particular group of people. The Confederate American. With this said, I will never back down and roll over in my defense of the Southern Soldier, his graves, his flags or his Cause. Do not contact me again by my personal email. I consider that a threat. It will be reported to the proper authorities if you do it again. To the Elizabethton Star, the print on here is very small. I have a great deal of trouble reading it. I have to enlarge the fonts on the computer in order to see it. I use a magnifying glass a lot so I can read magazines. If this is offensive so be it, The main issue here is the desecration of the graves of the glorious dead and the genocide of a culture which does not fit the WHA agenda.

        • Bill Hicks says:

          Some folks can’t differentiate between heritage & hatred. They cry about the Confederate flag being a racist symbol but say nothing about slavery existing for 80+ years under the Stars & Stripes before the Confederacy even existed. Placing the Confederate flag on the grave on a Confederate soldier shows respect for a man who stood against an invader who raped his land, his women and way of life. Whether he was from Tennessee or Alabama—-makes no difference. Cultural genocide is the goal of those who would remove these flags.

        • Southerngent1555 says:

          East Tennessee was more evenly divided than people think. Saying East Tennessee was proUnion is just contrary to fact. It was more Union than Middle or East Tennessee was, but not as proUnion as Massachusetts. Many Confederate soldiers served from East Tennessee, and their service in defending Tennessee should be recognized.

          • SouthernBorn&Raised says:

            All due respect sir, all the facts say otherwise. It’s not an opinion, the numbers, the rosters, the families actions don’t lie. Carter did have some confederate, not many at all when compared to the union rosters. Carter had it’s own reasons for staying Union that is unique compared to the other areas.

          • Eve Davenport Holder says:

            Stop twisting my words. You are just making yourself look rude. Bottom line here is the desecration of Confederate graves by people whom call them selves “historians” which the WHA is not. Cultural Genocide is the other goal of the WHA. They only want their version of history known. Unfortunately, they cannot rewrite history. The Confederate dead deserve respect. Taking flags off their graves is childish and it is the standard operating procedure of the WHA. As one who had over 100 Confederate ancestors, not a single yankee in the tree, I will not stop honoring them. The WHA needs to stop their attack on Confederate Americans. Get a life. It must be hard to be so bitter that all you can do is desecrate graves and think of ways to destroy one particular group of people.

        • SouthernBorn&Raised says:

          I didn’t contact you be personal email. If someone replies to your comment it shows you have a reply in your email box. Just like your reply went to my email. Your email doesn’t show up here for anyone to use. I can’t believe I have to explain that.

          • Eve Davenport Holder says:

            I have commented many times to many newspapers and tv stations. Never have I received any response via my personal email. This was a first.

    • Elizabethton Star says:

      Ms. Holder, please refrain from using all caps in your posts. On the Internet, it denotes yelling, and could be construed in a threatening manner. We want to allow everyone to have civil discussions about community issues on our message boards, free from bullying and intimidation.

      Thanks for reading!

  3. Jenett Morgan says:

    I went to the cemetery to take some pictures one day and two of the WHA was watching me the whole time, about an hour, until I left. Then they left. It was Dawn Peters and Lisa Mann Dan Germaine. Lisa knew who I was. I have pictures of this. Did they think I was going to steal a Headstone??? I am neither against either side. But I do Know that I was told by two of the WHA members that they DID NOT like the Confederate Flag. I told Lisa that they should start acting mature about this and stop being so immature and let it be. She didn’t like this comment at all. To me the WHA wants it THEIR WAY OR NO WAY as the saying goes. Personally I think if someone wants to put a Flag, Flowers, Christmas tree etc on a grave, it is their right. You don’t hear of other cemeteries having this kind of trouble. To my understanding the WHA or any member of it DOES NOT OWN THIS cemetery. So they need to SHUT UP and let it be.

    • Eve Davenport Holder says:

      Bravo! Well said Miss Jenett. It never ceases to me the lengths these children will go to rid themselves of our people, history and heritage.

  4. Bill Hicks says:

    I am the Battle Flag of the Confederate States of America.
    by
    Charles H. Hayes

    I am a proud flag.
    I have led
    great armies to great victories.
    … …From tall
    masts I have saluted,
    And been saluted by,
    The ablest generals in
    history.

    I am a potent symbol.
    I have the power to stir the
    blood
    Of those who carried me in battle
    Though that blood be continents
    away
    And generations removed from those battles.

    I am an honorable
    flag.
    Do not use me for ignoble purposes.
    I am a symbol of pride, not
    arrogance.
    I represent love of homeland, not hatred toward anyone.
    But no
    matter who carries me
    Or for what purposes, I cannot be dishonored.

    I
    secured my honor in a hundred battles
    Where good men dying passed me to good
    men still struggling;
    Where we prevailed against almost impossible
    odds;
    Where we were beaten by overwhelming numbers;
    Where I was as bloody,
    torn, tired, and soiled
    As the men who carried me.

    I am a worthy
    flag.
    I have stood watch over the graves of patriots.
    I have comforted
    widows in their loneliness.
    As a blood-stained rag I have been passed as a
    rich legacy
    To the heirs of those who had lost all for my sake.

    I am
    the Battle Flag of the Confederate States of America.
    Do not forsake
    me.

  5. Eileen says:

    For about 2 weeks, I was without internet service due to my relocation back to the most beautiful State of Tennessee. I think we all become somewhat numb to many things around us. Racism, hate and prejudice seem to be the most attention grabbing and are completely out of control not only in this country, but worldwide.

    If someone is said to be prejudice, it refers to them
    prejudging or making a decision before becoming aware of the relevant facts of a case. More recently, the word has come to be most often used to refer to
    preconceived, usually unfavorable, judgments toward people or a person because of gender, social class, age, disability, religion, sexuality, race or ethnicity, language, nationality or other personal characteristics. It might indicate a positive or negative evaluation of another person based on their group membership. Prejudice can also refer to unfounded beliefs and may include any unreasonable attitude that is unusually resistant to rational influence. Prejudice is also defined as a feeling, favorable or unfavorable, toward a person or thing, prior to, or not
    based on, actual experience. Racism and hate are nothing more than a person and/or group of people who believe that they are superior to all others. There’s no shortage of any of this no matter where in this country you reside.

    This country has become one of complete intolerance…..for religious beliefs, for race, for social class, for nationality, for language, for personal characteristics, for honoring heritage, for honoring history, etc. Each one of these are what they
    are, yet there are people who are h*** bent on annihilating the group(s) I’ve mentioned for what amounts to nothing more than they have decided they are better than any of these groups and therefore, the other group(s) MUST go away. What happened to simply respecting others for their differences? These are all things that we each INHERITED. None
    of us created them just to antagonize others.
    Behaviors, spoken and written words, on the other hand, are all choices we each make and have total control over. The name calling and vicious remarks being done by both sides of this issue are completely unnecessary and do far more harm than good no matter which group you represent. None of us like to
    be attacked, so what makes us feel it is okay to attack someone else? There’s a way to protect and preserve your heritage, your history, and your ancestors, in a dignified and respectful manner without resorting to negative and unfavorable judgments’ of others Anything less than that, takes away any of
    the good that was done in the past and
    dishonors the men, women and children who fought so nobly 148+ years ago. Both sides fought for what they thought was right and just and both made mistakes along the way.

    Two flag poles have been placed and maintained by the Tipton SCV Camp….one flies the Bonnie Blue and the other flies the Betsy Ross. At the ground level of the graves of Confederate soldiers and their families, no US flag should be placed ….only flags that the
    individual fought under should ever fly. Having US flags placed there by those who oppose the Confederacy and oppose those that are trying to honor them, is nothing short of an antagonistic and confrontational gesture and has been met with the same. What is going on at Green Hill has caused the
    real focus to become lost and has turned into a personal vendetta against people on both sides. It is a graveyard for people who died fighting for their country…no matter which side they fought
    was. It is sacred ground period and we must honor and respect all that have gone before us. It does not matter how many or what percentage fought on either the Union or Confederate side….this was an
    extremely divided area during that time….it still is. I have had the honor and privilege to meet
    people on both sides and call each of them my friends. I respect everyone for standing up for their ancestors, but I would love nothing more than for both sides to call a truce and let each other be….to honor and protect what is their heritage. Please let those in their final resting place in Green Hill do just that…..let them rest peacefully.

    It is not the honor that you take with you, but the heritage you leave behind. We all must protect,
    preserve and pass on our Southron heritage in as good a condition as we received it. That is all we ask….to be able to honor and protect what is our noble history and heritage and be left alone.

    God’s richest blessings to each of you!

  6. Jenett Morgan says:

    I agree with Eileen. I do know that the WHA has Bitched over and over about the flag pole being put in the ground (supposedly into a grave). It was put there by good faith and not into a grave on purpose. The Tipton SCV Camp remove the flag pole and bought a flag pole stand for it and for another pole. To me this shows they are trying to get along. This still has not Shut Up the WHA. It seems to me that they have constantly tried to find reasons to get rid of the Confederate Flags at the Green Hill Cemetery. As I said before two of the members told me they DID NOT like the Confederate Flag. To me that is showing disrespect to the ones who are buried there. It also shows prejudice on their part. I am neither for or against either but I think there should be some growing up done ( being mature) as well as showing respect for one another. We all have the right to put flags on graves, in our yards etc. Neither side OWNS the Green Hill Cemetery. I will fly what flag I want. It is my God Given Right to do so as it is anyone else’s. If the Union wants to fly a flag in the cemetery then let them buy a pole and put it at the Union graves and fly it in their honor. I am sure that no one will complain.

  7. Jenett Morgan says:

    There is a video called BEHIND THE DIXIE STARS I think that everyone should see. It is very informative and I think everyone could learn from it. It is on YouTube. I posted it on my Facebook. Someone else had posted it on a group and I enjoyed seeing it.

  8. Bill Hicks says:

    $1,000 REWARD: For information leading to the arrest and conviction of person or persons who stole Confederate Flags from Green Hill Cemetery of Elizabethton, TN during the weeks of June 16 & June 23, 2013. Phone Elizabethton Police Department at 423-542-4141. The flags are pictured.

  9. Bill Hicks says:

    TO THE PEOPLE OF ELIZABETHTON & CARTER COUNTY:

    The article in the July 5th issue of the Elizabethton Star has been reviewed and the following is the position of the Lt. Robert J. Tipton Camp of Elizabethton, TN re: Green Hill Cemetery, caretaking, memorials and flags.

    First, the Tipton Camp has never entered into any talks with city or county officials, or spoken to E.P.D. Chief Workman about any mediation of the “dispute”. The entire fracas began when Dawn Peters called a press conference, stating the Confederate flag lost the right to be flown 150 years ago. After the Watauga Historical Association found we would not remove the
    flag, another ploy was to have the Confederate graves surveyed.

    Then, after the flag pole was found to allegedly be entering a grave, they filed grave desecration charges—-that too failed. Later finding the Tipton Camp planned to set a memorial at Veteran’s Circle, they lobbied the Elizabethton Historic Zoning Commission to deny the placement. That was successfully done. This is the same memorial now in Green Hill Cemetery. At the base of the memorial are four historical Confederate flags. A larger, more fitting flag is also flown at the memorial. It is the soldier’s flag, or more commonly called the Battle Flag. At the south end of the cemetery, the Tipton Camp placed the pole removed from the alleged grave and began flying a U.S. flag, something the Watauga Historical Association could have done any time they chose.

    Had Chief Workman contacted me I would have told him the current position of the Tipton Camp is thus: There is nothing to prevent the Watauga Historical Association from mowing the cemetery. Likewise, there is nothing to prevent the Sons of Confederate Veterans from mowing and maintaining the graves of
    Confederate Veterans, or maintaining its property; to
    wit: a memorial stone, two flag poles with flags and five flag stands with flags on the graves of the five Confederate veterans. These flags fly 24/7. Just as the W.H.A. has invested thousands of dollars into Green Hill, likewise have the Sons of Confederate Veterans. These actions by both groups have enhanced the cemetery. In that respect, both of these groups are care takers. The Tipton Camp can do nothing about political differences. We are keeping the Charge given by General Steven D. Lee: “To you, Sons of Confederate Veterans, we submit the vindication of the cause for which we fought; to your strength will be given the defense of the Confederate soldier’s good name, the guardianship of his history, the emulation of his virtues, the perpetuation of those principles he loved and which made him glorious and which you also cherish. Remember it is your duty to see that the true history of the South is presented to future
    generations.” ……… Lt. General Stephen D. Lee

    Respectfully I am,

    William C.”Bill” Hicks, Cdr.
    Lt. Robert J. Tipton #2083,Elizabethton, TN
    Sons of Confederate Veterans

    “Truth crushed to the earth like a seed will rise again.”…Jefferson Davis

    http://www.ltrobertjtipton2083.com
    423-542-6782

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