What happens when a group of women dare to dream?  It’s the question we’ve been asking all
month.  Last month, my parents came to
visit in pursuit of their annual fall foliage sighting.  I love when they come to visit in October
because it means 2 things: I get to plan a fun adventure and cater to my
parents and my camera gets dusted off to capture it all.
I had a lovely jaunt planned down Hwy 16 to the Pig Trail
Section of Hwy 23 making a big turn on 215 to find the Oark General Store.  But the adventure was scheduled to begin at
the mouth of a Civil War journey at the Headquarters’ House and Confederate
Cemetery in Fayetteville.  Both were
little treasures I found on a list of fall must see spots in Northwest
Arkansas.  And, a Tuesday morning proved
to be the perfect quiet moment in a place that took my breath.
Women of the Confederate and the story behind the Confederate Cemetery in Fayetteville, AR #NWArkCares

After I passed the beautiful stone entrance, I stopped at
the first site marker to read.  I wanted
a little perspective before I began exploring. 
What I saw stopped me in my tracks. 
I was a marker traced and outlined with a series of picture of a group
of women from the late 1800’s.  My
vintage soul always loves seeing pictures of women from this time period.  But these pictures were different.  It wasn’t a group shot….it was a series of
headshots.  And since this wasn’t a
journalism project of me looking through old yearbooks or a museum exhibit at
the Girl Scout Headquarters (yes, I’ve explored both this year!) I knew there
must be something significant to the fact that individual pictures were
displayed of several women. 
Women of the Confederate and the story behind the Confederate Cemetery in Fayetteville, AR #NWArkCares
And, I was not disappointed as I began reading about these
famed women.  Brave women.  Dreamers. 
Doers.  Women who did not let “no”
deter them.  Women who developed a cause
and fought for it by raising money to make it happen. Something that all the
sudden felt very familiar. 
Fayetteville, AR. 
1865.  A town is rebounding from
devastation.  Devastation from several
battles.  The rural terrain the perfect
setting for a showdown.  All was
delivered.  Young men, families, a
community buried in mass.  Roadsides,
pastures and fields all became graves. 
While the government made provision for Union soldiers, nothing was done
for their Confederate counterpart. 
Nothing that is until a group of women, proper Southern
ladies, opted to gather around the cause of properly caring for the
“Confederate dead.”  These ladies formed
the Southern Memorial Association of Washington County.  Their first cause was “securing the land for
the establishment of the Confederate Cemetery.”
Women of the Confederate and the story behind the Confederate Cemetery in Fayetteville, AR #NWArkCares

Women of the Confederate and the story behind the Confederate Cemetery in Fayetteville, AR #NWArkCares
A year later, after petitions through the local newspaper
and “dimes and dollars” fundraisers, they dedicated the Confederate Cemetery
with 3,000 onlookers.  A memorial plaque
in the cemetery holds this quote from one of the founding members.
“These monuments
we build will speak their message to generations.  These voiceless marbles in their majesty will
stand as vindicators of the Confederate soldier.  They will lift from these brave men the
opprobrium of rebel and stand them in line of patriots.  This is not alone a labor of love; it is a
work of duty as well.” –Lizzie Pollard
I remember just being taken aback reading all this thinking,
“of course a group of women did this.”  I’m
not being feminist or anything extra, other than being amused by the great
accomplishments of women gathered.  I
found it interesting that each of the women listed as being part of the
founding group were also listed as who they were wife of.  No doubt some of that was because they were
fallen men or their dads, brothers, neighbors and friends.  But, why does the identity of a woman have to
be tied to the man who she was married to.
Instead, today I honor a group women.  Women who did something in their local
community.  They gathered, petitioned,
caused and created.  They have faces and
names alone.  And, a lasting beautiful
memorial of the work they did.  
Women of the Confederate and the story behind the Confederate Cemetery in Fayetteville, AR #NWArkCares
Confederate Cemetery did not disappoint.  The rows are beautifully aligned.  The display is arranged into 4 segments and
honors the battles with neighboring states. 
It’s a peaceful, quiet place overlooking the Fayetteville Square and
Dickson Street.  Its collection, feet
from the battleground, serves as a respite and honors lives.  The lives of those interned.  And, the lives of those who caused and
created; the women who led a community to honor and remember.
This post is part of the #NWArkCares series by the
Northwest Arkansas Bloggers group. To view other posts, visit the Northwest
Arkansas Bloggers Pinterest Board or follow #NWArkCares through social media.