Over 100 family members, as well as the general public and civil war re-enactors, gathered at Reverend James Waldrop’s
home in Goochland on Saturday to commemorate a marker dedication of two confederate veterans buried on the property.
Re-enactors with the Captain William Latane’ Camp #1690 Sons of Confederate Veterans from Mechanicsville, as well as members of the Knibbs Battery Light Artillery from Rockville, were in attendance.
The Virginia Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy welcomed everyone, while Woodrow W. Robertson Jr. gave the benediction.
A grave marking ritual was presided over by Mrs. Mary G. Vial, president of the Virginia Sons of the Confederacy General Stuart Chapter 2195, and a welcome prayer and background information about the soldiers and the family was delivered by Reverend Waldrop.
The crowd joined in for the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner,” “Dixie” and “Carry Me Back to Ole Virginny,”and to conclude the ceremony, a rifle and cannon salute was conducted in honor of the veterans. Refreshments following the ceremony were provided by the Goochland and Mineral Chapters of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
In the early 18th century, the first Thurston family member settled and made his home in Goochland. All of the family members who attended the event Saturday were direct descendants of this one individual. Goochland resident, Rev. James Waldrop is a descendant of the two confederate soldiers, William Granville Hix and William Henry Mills, who married sisters Mary Catherine and Nancy Thurston (Waldrop’s great grandfather’s sisters) in the late-1800s and thus became part of the Thurston family in Goochland, Virginia. The soldiers were buried in the Thurston family cemetery but the stones were not placed until 1932.
Dale Monroe, a Thurston family relative from Richmond, Virginia said that this reunion is the first one the family has done in about twenty five years. “The goal is to commemorate the confederate soldiers that are our relatives and to host a family reunion”. Monroe hopes this event will continue and will bring family members together for years to come.
Reverend Waldrop shared background information about the family line and of the veterans’ lives throughout the ceremony and was on hand afterwards to answer questions and tell stories as he reunited with his large, extended family.
Family member John Alexander also spoke of one of the soldier’s, Private William Henry Mills’ involvement in the Civil War. Born in 1841, at twenty, on July 9, 1861 he enlisted in the Company B 56th Virginia Infantry, Louisa Unit and went on to serve as part of Pickett’s Brigade at the Battle of Gettysburg in July of 1863.
Read The Central Virginian’s July 4 edition for the rest of the story and photographs.