from an old movie (I don’t recall which one) came to mind when I read the obituary
of John H. Clayton.
The film depicted an intense battle and many men were
being killed. One of the actors said, “Where do we find men such as these? Men
who will charge into combat and die for a cause, without any regard for their
Apparently, Clayton was that type of man. A resident of Leesville,
Texas, John Clayton fought for the Confederate States of America during the
Civil War. He was wounded twice and became a prisoner of war during that conflict
— a man so resolute in his belief of the Southern cause that he wouldn’t accept
a pension because it was paid with “federal money.”
The following tribute
to John H. Clayton appeared in The Gonzales Inquirer in April of 1937 –
it has not been edited and appears as it did when first published.
Gonzales Inquirer • April 15, 1937
[Headline: Final Tribute Paid Memory of
John H. Clayton, 95, last of old Confederate veterans
of Gonzales County was given fitting services at Leesville
on Sunday, April 4. He died in the Texas Confederate Home at Austin
on April 3.
Refusing to take the oath of allegiance to the Union at the
end of the war he never received his discharge from the army, and remained true
to the Confederate Cause until his death.
He was a prisoner of war at
Fortress Monroe when the North-South fight came to a close. The aged veteran related
many times before his death the story of how he refused to take the oath of allegiance
to the Union. He said that he was released along with other prisoners to rejoin
Lee’s army and take the oath enmassee. Once out of prison he escaped to New York
and took a boat bound for Texas.
John H. Clayton
was born in Portsmouth, Va., March 6, 1842. He came to Texas
prior to the Civil War and was said to have been one of the signers of the secession.
When the war began he returned to his native state of Virginia and joined the
Confederate army, enlisting in Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. He was wounded
twice while seeing active service.
reaching the coast of Texas
at “Old Powder Horn,” Mr. Clayton went to Live Oak County where he settled near
Oakville. He moved
to the Leesville
community in 1876 and made his home there until the last few years which he spent
in the Confederate home at Austin.
He went up the trail with cattle to Kansas from both Live Oak and Gonzales
he would never accept a Confederate pension, because he believed it was paid with
“federal money," he had a desire during his declining days to go to the Confederate
home where he could be in company with those old veterans who were companions
in the war.
He died in the home at Austin
on April 3 and his remains were brought back to Leesville
for burial in the cemetery near his old home. Services were conducted in the Leesville
Methodist church by Rev. C. Gamenthaler of Liberty Hill, a former pastor, who
was assisted by Rev. G.C. Childress, present pastor.
The burial service was conducted by the Leesville Masonic Lodge of which he had
been a member for many years.
pallbearers were O.I. Littlefield, Z.T. Littlefield, G.N. Lincecum, Ves Downs,
C.A. Haynes and Ben Clark. Honorary pallbearers included: W.M. Fly, D.U. Ramsay,
Frank Hampton, Jake Nesloney, August Kaleis and Sam Jones.
His only surviving
relative is Clayton Bouldin, a grandson living in Gonzales.
It is believed that Mr. Clayton was the last surviving Confederate veteran
of Gonzales County, and was probably the oldest man of the county.
10 , 2011 column
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