Confederacy memorial to be dedicated Saturday

Freedom New Mexico: Alisa Boswell Janelle Foster, left, president of the United Daughters of Confederacy, Ellen W. Jones Chapter, points out names on the new confederate memorial at Portales Cemetery to John Hilliard, who will be the guest speaker at Saturday’s memorial dedication.

Alisa Boswell

Saturday marks the dedication of a new confederacy memorial in Portales Cemetery. The memorial was bought and is being dedicated by United Daughters of Confederacy, the Ellen W. Jones Chapter 1022 in Portales.

According to president of the chapter, Janelle Foster, the memorial is in honor of confederate soldiers who fought in the Civil War and includes the names of the 30 confederate soldiers buried in Portales Cemetery along with the names of 25 confederate soldiers buried in rural cemeteries in the surrounding area.

“I think it’s important that people know where their ancestors are buried,” Foster said. “Many people don’t even know they have ancestors who fought in the war.”

Foster said the UDC has owned the circular area in the center of the cemetery since about 1913 and they have dedicated it to confederate soldiers and their descendants.

The memorial stone with the names was added last month in the center of the graves, where a UDC monument also stands. It was built in 1930.

The dedication will be held at 10:30 a.m. at the site.

Guest speaker and member of the Sons of Union Veterans, John Mauk Hilliard, said he is thrilled about the stone and the dedication.

“The theme of my talk will be the sacrifice the men dedicated on this stone made,” Hilliard said. “These men went through a completely spirit-shriveling experience. It was the most grueling, desperate point in America’s history.”

Hilliard said Foster put the project for the memorial stone into the works, raising the funds for it and helping to design it.

“We wouldn’t have gotten this memorial without Janelle Foster,” Hilliard said. “The ladies of UDC have always kept this tradition alive.”

Joe Blair, a local historian and World War II veteran, is also a member of the SUV. He said his grandfather was a confederate soldier in the Civil War.

“The younger generation knows nothing about the Civil War or other previous wars,” Blair said. “I think the more we can do to brings these things to the younger generation, the better off things will be. A lot of our old veterans need to be recognized now as they should have been in the past, but weren’t.”

Blair said he plans to attend the dedication.

Hilliard and Foster said the dedication will also include an honor guard of men in confederate uniforms.

“The tradition of the confederate heritage has always been a very important tradition in Roosevelt County,” Hilliard said. “We’re very proud of the sacrifices these men made.”