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Passing Parade: Paying Homage to the Greatest Generation

Nelson A. Pryor: Guest Columnist

From Madison and the hills and cities of this great country, men and women went to defend an idea-freedom!

They fought for the future of their descendants. Their sacrifice and that of their colleagues will never be forgotten. When freedom was endangered, they rose to the occasion and did their part.

This was further exemplified by our Four Freedoms Monument. Fully explained in the book: The Fight for the Four Freedoms. by Harvey Kaye, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2014. Our Four Freedoms monument will be 75 next year.

Making a List

Most people have seen a posting for firsts. How about a posting for last-as in-the last survivor? Following is a list, an incomplete list, subject to revision, of the wars that Madisonians have fought in, and, who that last veteran was.

Revolutionary War

Yes, we have a Revolutionary War veteran buried in Madison County. The Jan. 25, 1834, Tallahassee Floridian records that John McGehee, died on Jan. 12. He was the father of Judge John C. McGehee, of Chuleotah Plantation. The Judge later helped to write the State Constitution that allowed Florida to become a state, in 1845. The Judge was  also President of the State Convention that withdrew Florida from the Constitutional Compact, in 1861.

The obituary records that the Revolutionary War veteran, who had enlisted at the age of 16, had enlisted in Virginia and is now buried at his son’s residence, Chuleotah, on Bellamy Rd., in Madison County.

War of 1812

Still looking for a veteran. Anyone have any ideas on who that would have been?

War Between the States

Based on the obituary printed in the April 12, 1940, Madison Enterprise-Recorder, Madison’s last known Confederate veteran was James Wiley Lanier, Sr. He was the last mentioned, at least, by the newspaper, as being a veteran of that war. Lanier was born March 25, 1851, and married Miss Mary Elizabeth Peek, on May 14, 1876. They had six children. His father-in-law was Second Lieutenant Oscar Fitzalan Peek, whose picture appears, in Confederate uniform, in the Photographic Treasures of Madison County, a “Family Album” of 350 photos, compiled as a book by Maria H. Greene and Monteen M. Cave.

Spanish American War

Still looking for someone. Got any ideas?

World War I

Still looking for someone. Got any ideas? The armistice was November 11, 1918.

Photo Submitted
When freedom’s in danger, Madisonians, having faith in the future, stepped up! Let’s celebrate! It’s not every day we get to celebrate something so significant, to our community.

World War II

We are fortunate to have with us, three known veterans of that war. They are: Herman Cherry, George Willis, and Howell Edwards.

This list is incomplete. World War II ended with the signing of the peace treaty with Japan, which was Sept. 2, 1945. Between now and the 75th anniversary of the monument’s unveiling, we can still update those who are still with us.

Contributors to this article, have been Elmer Spears, Herman Cherry, Betty Blair, and Bubba Greene. Any information that you, dear reader, can supply to update this column, would be appreciated.

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