Ron Sydnor

Ron Sydnor Addressing SCV and UDC

On Tuesday night the local chapters of Sons of Confederate Veterans and United Daughters of the Confederacy of Murray, Kentucky came out to commemorate Confederate Memorial Day.  The keynote address was offered by Ron Sydnor, who is the park manager at the Jefferson Davis Historic Site.

He was a man ahead of his time. But because of that one moment in time, his legacy has been tainted. My grandmother used to say, ‘You can have a million ‘atta boys, but just one awe shucks, and that one can ruin them all. None of our history books talk about what he did before the Civil War. What he did helped shape this country. He’s the scapegoat for everything, but he gets no credit for the positive things that he did.

Yes, it is unfortunate that this one moment (which happened to involve leading a rebellion against the United States to ensure the future of slavery and white supremacy) overshadows all of the positive contributions made by Jefferson Davis.

Davis may not be getting the credit he deserves, but I have no doubt that for the amount of time it took Mr. Sydnor to share his views on Tuesday evening all was right with the world for the members of the SCV and UDC.

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19 comments add yours

  1. I’m not sure Davis did all that much before the war. He played a big role in one battle of the Mexican War, and then served in the Senate and as Secretary of War. What did he do that was significant?

    • I seem to remember he decided that the figure of Liberty on top of the Capitol shouldn’t wear a Phrygian cap, as that was too revolutionary, which is why she has the weird feathery thing she has now.

  2. Just out of curiosity…

    1870 US Census (utilizing Ancestry.com search engine)

    Number of black children named “Abraham Lincoln _____” or “Abe Lincoln _____”

    43

    Number of black children named “Jefferson Davis _____” or “Jeff Davis _____”

    220

    • Assuming, for the sake of argument, the accuracy of what you say:(1) How many of these children were named by their parents or were old enough for their former owners to have made the decision? (2) Where did these children live? Given the terrorization of newly freed black families during and after Reconstruction and, for the free(d) blacks living in rebel territory during the Civil War, the decision could have been made in order to placate the whites, not out of any desire to honor Davis.

      • Historical context is seldom a high priority for an internet troll.

    • A number of historians have challenged this story. A number of Northern newspapers published cartoons of Davis in women’s clothing, but that’s about it.

      • Did you read the link? Who should we believe, your argument from authority, or:

        1) Varina Davis’ confession in a letter in the Library of Congress
        2) Jeff Davis’ nephew’s confession
        3) The fact that Southern newspapers reported the story first

        • “Varina Davis’ confession in a letter in the Library of Congress”

          I checked a few letters written by Ms. Davis. The handwriting doesn’t seem to match that of your letter. Not even close.

      • Out of curiosity, has anyone seen the mockumentary CSA? The roles of Davis and Lincoln are reversed and Lincoln was found hiding in black face? Wow.

        • I’ve used it in the classroom in the past. Worth watching for a number of reasons, but it must be done carefully.

  3. Camels. Did not Davis as Sec’y of war have camels brought over from the Mediterranean as an experiment
    in army transport? I remember hearing stories about “Wild camels” while camping in AZ in the late 1960s. Supposedly they were descendants of Davis’ original bunch. Maybe camels should be considered an “invasive species”?

    • Yes indeed. A CD by Texas band The Hot Club of Cowtown has a cover picture of them sitting in the open in front of some camels. I believe the Confederate Camel Corps was raised more as a tribute to Davis’s role in bringing camels to Texas than for any military use. The places in West Texas named after Davis were named for his role as Federal Secretary of War, not as Confederate president.

    • Yea, ha ha. This was idea that actually started from regular army officers though it was not taken seriously until when Davis was Sec. of War. Granted, the U.S. military also began operating in dryer, rigid environments around the same time so many took it seriously.

      The wild camels is somewhat true. The army ended the experiment at the outbreak of the Civil War. Somewhat unfortunately because the camels were testing quite well. Many of the camels were sold but some did escape into the wild. I think the last sighting was in Texas during World War II. There is also an Ottoman buried somewhere out there, “Hi Jolly” was his name. He was the lead camel driver.

      So ya, Davis deserves a camel statue.

  4. I thought I read somewhere once that he was instrumental in getting the project for the construction of the capital dome started.

  5. This post reminded me of my thesis. It was interesting to talk about John C. Calhoun totally detached from slavery, nullification, states’ rights, etc.

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