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Reflections

Spanish-American War Little Remembered

By Charles Cooper

Hello everyone, hope you’re having a good week.

As Memorial Day draws near, it seems only fitting that we recognize those who helped make it possible to enjoy the life we have today. The veterans monument in Railroad Park honors those who made the ultimate sacrifice. 

Very little has been written about the Spanish-American War because it only lasted about four months. But this war established the United States as a world super power. 

Water Valley and Grenada  raised an all volunteer company almost overnight, and they left  for Jackson on May 26, 1898, to begin training. By the time they got to Jacksonville, Fla. to load on a troop ship, the war was all but over.  

Nevertheless there were four deaths—T. H. Rogers, J. S. Farmer, T. J. McFarland, and Fred Ivy.  According to reports from the men when they returned, the sanitary conditions were almost non-existent and personal hygiene was almost impossible to maintain. 

Three died of either malaria or yellow fever and Fred Ivy, from all accounts, died of rabies from a dog bite.  He is buried in Oak Hill next to the unknown U.S.  Soldiers  from the war between the states. They were all young and eager to help in the fight for freedom of the Cuban people. 

I’m going to list some who later became Water Valley business and professional men, some I was honored to know when they were old men: Papa Badley’s younger brother, Will Badley; Bunk Hunter, Nannie Badley’s first cousin, and  Bob Tyler’s uncle, later President of the People’s Bank; Everett Cock, who had an Insurance agency for years; C.C. Murray, long time railroad engineer; Charlie Hague, whose daughter was a Watermelon Queen in later years; Brick Knox, Main Street druggist for years; Alf Walker, David and Henry Fly’s grandfather; Frank DeShon, jeweler and mayor for years;  and  Eugene Rogers, both day and night marshal who maintained order when the town was at the height of its population.  

The constraints of space keep me from listing all of them, but they made up an entire  company later designated as Company G.  Will Badley told Papa  that the only fighting they did was mosquitoes, flies and the sweltering summer heat. But, they had  volunteered for whatever they were called on to do. They epitomized the American spirit that has made us great. 

I plan to feature two more almost forgotten wars, Korea and Vietnam, in future columns so send me your comments and suggestions which are always appreciated. My email address is cncooper1@hotmail.com or write me c/o the Herald and have a great week.

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