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Hatton United Daughters of the Confederacy supports Pickett Chapel restoration efforts

Staff Reports • Updated Sep 18, 2016 at 12:00 PM

Phillip Hodge, a member of the Wilson County Black History Committee, spoke Sept. 10 to the Gen. Robert Hatton Chapter No. 329 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.  

The members presented him with a small donation to benefit the restoration of Pickett Chapel. He delivered an informational talk on the history of Pickett Chapel, possibly Lebanon’s most historic building.

Hodge concluded his remarks by saying there were three reasons why Pickett Chapel matters.  First, time and circumstance give it importance. Pickett Chapel is all that is left of the original town layout of Lebanon. It also survived fire, one of the largest dangers of the 19th century. It is a brick structure.  

Secondly, it is significant due to its completeness. It is a complete site – building and grounds.  There are archival records and also the memories of people still living that can be researched.  

And lastly, Pickett Chapel is important because it embraces the entire story of the original Lebanon and all of its people and history.

Jean Ayers presented an “Ancestor Minute” on her ancestor, Wayman Mansfield Russell. He was born Nov. 20, 1828 in White County. On Feb. 18, 1858, he married Nancy Young Gracey, and they had five children. While serving in the Tennessee Legislature in 1861, he voted against seceding. Yet he heeded his state’s call and enlisted in the Confederate Army. He was paroled May 1, 1865 at Greensboro, N.C.  His two brothers died in the war – John at Corinth, Miss., and William of typhoid. In 1878, Russell was elected the joint representative for White and Putnam counties to the state legislature. Wayman Mansfield Russell died Oct. 8, 1907 and received a Masonic funeral. He was the oldest member of the Sparta Masons at the time of his death.  

Pamela Annette Dies, the chapter historian, asked the members “What was the Corwin Amendment?” The Corwin Amendment proves slavery was not the cause of the Civil War, Dies said. The Corwin Amendment was introduced in March 1861 by Ohio Rep. Thomas Corwin and passed the House. A similar proposal also passed in the Senate. The purpose of the amendment was to prohibit Congress from banning slavery. If slavery was the issue dividing the country, here was the way to patch the rift. However, the Southern states continued to secede because slavery was not the issue, Dies said. In Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural address, he said he would send armed troops to collect the Southern tariffs. This was the issue, Dies said. And in his inaugural address, Lincoln also said he had no objection to the amendment.

During the meeting, president Jane Dugger called the members’ attention to the 15th anniversary of Sept. 11. She distributed a flyer to each member that said,  “In Remembrance of Those We Lost and in Honor of Those Who Helped, September 11, 2001.”

Ruth Cato reported the Gen. Robert H. Hatton Sons of Confederate Veterans Chapter had invited the members to attend its Sept. 29 meeting to hear Ron Blair speak about his ancestor, Col. Frank Wolford, who was the Union commander during the May 5, 1865 Battle of Lebanon. Blair has written a book about Wolford.

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