Sunday, June 13, 2010

Confederate Memorial Rededication Ceremony in Sandusky Bay, Ohio

by Terry Thornton

If you have Southern relatives who were prisoners of war during the Civil War interred at Johnson's Island, Sandusky Bay, Ohio, you will be pleased to learn of the Rededication of the 100-year-old bronze statue, a memorial to the Confederate soldiers buried at the cemetery --- as well as a memorial to the CSA POWs once held at Johnson's Island.

During the war, captured Southern officers were sent to the island POW camp. Many of those CSA prisoners died and are buried there --- others survived to return home to the South. But many Southern family members know little of Johnson's Island, a small island in Lake Erie.

According to my blogging friend, Dorene Paul of Sandusky Bay who attended the June 12, 2010, rededication ceremony, the event was well-done, colorful, and well-received. She was delighted that the military band played "Dixie" as part of the ceremony. Dorene has written a brief account of the rededication and posted it with pictures at

Within the article is an embedded link of a video she made of the band playing "Dixie."

Although Dorene has many relatives who served with the North, one of her Georgia relatives was in the CSA and is buried at Johnson's Island. She, as the case with many family historians, have learned that the great Civil War often pitted relative against relative in this long sad part of our nation's history/heritage.

My Monroe County, Mississippi, MURFF relatives will remember that Waldemar Murff (and other family members) were interred at Johnson's Island. I think they will be delighted to learn that Waldermar's comrades who didn't survive the POW camp are well remembered and well honored in the cemetery at Johnson's Island.

Thank you, Dorene, for attending and reporting this rededication ceremony.

Waldemar Murff, 3rd Lieutenant, First Mississippi Cavalry, is buried at Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Old Hamilton Road, near the Temperance Hill area of Monroe County, Mississippi. Born 1818 in South Carolina, he died 1899.

Waldemar was married three times: first, to Elizabeth Jane Medlock who was the mother of their two sons, James Randolph Murff and Connell Oneal Murff; second, to Malinda Burdine who was the mother of their five children, Lorenzo Burdine Murff, Theodore Belton Murff, Henry Walton Murff, John Wesley Murff, and Carlota Elizabeth Murff; and third, to Elmira Jane Watson who was the mother of their daughter M.E. Murff.

On the 1870 census, the Waldemar Murff family lived next door to the William Hollingsworth family --- and through their associations and marriages, connects me to the Murffs. I am researching one of the Hollingsworth men who, after surviving POW camp as a captured CSA soldier, died on the way home at war's end but need more documentation. It is not known to me if this brother of my great-great-grandfather Hollingsworth was interred at Johnson's Island POW camp nor is it known where he died. Undocumented family lore places him in a Northern POW camp and of his release from the POW camp when the war ended --- and that he had started the trek home to the Hill Country of Mississippi. He didn't survive the journey.

Additional reading: The short article with photographs at Wikipedia gives an excellent overview of Johnson's Island and its use as a POW camp during the Civil War.


Dorene from Ohio said...


Thanks so much for your post about the Memorial Re-dedication at Johnson's Island. The service was lovely, and it followed the order of the original ceremony 100 years ago.

I must tell you, though, that while Ancel Spragg Paul (my husband's GG Grandfather) proudly served as 2nd Sergeant in Company F, 48th GA Infantry C.S.A., he is buried at the Gum Log Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery in Kite, Georgia. His descendant has posted his tombstone at Find A Grave.

Terry Thornton said...

Thanks, Dorene, for the article and the photographs and the links to "Dixie." I've also enjoyed your photo album about this event that you posted at FaceBook.

Also, thank you Dorene, for getting the record straight --- somehow I got your Georgia family member's place of burial all mixed up! Thanks for pointing out this error.

Glad you attended and reported this event. THANKS.

Terry Thornton
Fulton, Mississippi

Mona Robinson Mills said...

Thanks for the articles, Terry and Dorene. My GGG grandfather, William Tillman Bishop, was a POW at Johnson's Island before being transferred to Point Lookout and other POW camps. He was one of the "Immortal 600" and one of the "lucky" ones who made it home.

Mona Mills
Oxford, MS

Terry Thornton said...

Mona, I have Dorene to thank for helping to put a picture on the words "Johnson's Island in Sandusky Bay" --- and now we have her to thank for her reporting of the rededication ceremony of the Confederate Memorial. I suspect quiet a few of our Confederate kin were on Johnson's Island during part of the war years --- and her reports have helped me gain some understanding about the place.

Terry Thornton
Fulton, Mississippi