This morning, at Waverly church, my sweet Miss Inez had the greatest story for me. It was about a horse named Billy Sherman. During the Civil War.in November 1861, a local regiment was raised in Lockport...Lockport is near Niagra Falls, New York The regiment was Battery M and part of the 1st Regiment New York Light Artillery and was mustered out of Rochester and sent to Washington to defend the Capitol. The key player of this story...was the Chief Bugler, Pvt. Lorenzo Pratt of Wilson. Pratt served in the War three and a half years and was one of the lucky ones...he lived to tell about it. According to the Niagra Historical Society, "he and Battery M saw action in almost every major battle including Bull Run, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Chattanooga, Peach Tree Creek, the March to the Sea, and the campaigns of the Carolinas. During the Battle of Chattanooga in November 1863, Pratt captured a Confederate horse whom he named “Billy Sherman” after the famous general who had marched to the sea. Billy was a dark bay and stood 15 hands high. Pratt rode his new horse for the duration of the war and proudly brought him back to Wilson in June of 1865. Lorenzo Pratt finally returned to his life as a farmer on the Wilson-Burt Road. Billy became his chief workhorse as well as a much-loved friend. Every year on Decoration Day (now Memorial Day) and other patriotic holidays, Billy would be decked out in equestrian military regalia and join in the local parades. He was a favorite attraction with children and with the aging members of the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic). Age caught up with Billy too, but he was still working three days before he died on September 1, 1887. It was estimated that Billy was at least thirty years old when he passed away. An Army blanket was placed over his body and an American flag over his head. A poem about Billy was read aloud and then he was buried on the farm of his beloved master, Lorenzo Pratt. For many years, the Pratt family maintained Billy’s grave and the GAR placed a flag there every Decoration Day. Gradually however, those guardians either moved or passed away. Billy’s grave was almost lost to history, until, on September 1, 1973, 86 years after his death, the Wilson Historical Society placed a boulder with a historic marker on the side of the road not far from his final resting place. The marker is located on north side of Wilson-Burt Road about a mile east of the village of Wilson. It also includes three flags, the American, the Confederate and the Tennessee state flag." I don't know about you, but I thought that was a touching story....a good one for Sunday.
I am a woman who wears many hats and loves them all. I am a singer - I sing with the group Still Magnolias. I was part of the original First United Methodist Church Arbor Praise Team until we moved. After 24+ years of teaching English 11 and Spanish I - II at Benjamin Russell High School I decided to take a job closer to home. I now teach Spanish I & 2 at Randolph Co. High School and Wadley. I thought I was getting close to retirement and looking forward to it, but decided to move my cheese and try something different. I am a preacher's wife and a preacher myself. My husband Frank is the pastor at Rock Mills United Methodist Church and I am the pastor at Midway (Wedowee). It has made our conversations interesting, to say the least.