My Lifetime As A Proud Southerner
I first became interested in Confederate history from listening to a Great-Aunt, Pearl Whitley & Great Uncle, Earnest Whitley who were brother & sister still living on the old Whitley family home place in Cool Springs Alabama, near Ashville tell of our ancestors in the 7th Georgia Infantry Regiment Company H (The Roswell Guards)
Of course, there were other Whitley family members who were in other Confederate Units raised in the Atlanta area. Plus, my Price Family ancestors in the Pinson, Clay/Chalkville area of what is now Eastern Jefferson County Alabama had served in the Confederate Army. This just raised more interest on the subject.
The book that really sparked my interest was my 4th grade history book, “The History of Alabama” in the early 1960`s while attending Springville Elementary School. It set me on fire on the subject of Confederate history for most of the remaining years of my life until the present. I have since that time read, learned & devoured everything I could about Southern History, especially Confederate history.
I first learned of the Sons of Confederate Veterans from an old set of 1958 World Book Encyclopedias my parents had bought when I was a young child. In the very early 1980s I sent a letter to Mississippi to the gentleman who was still keeping the S.C.V. embers alive asking to join.
I was first assigned to a camp in Mobile, Al. I think. the Admirable Raphael Sims Camp. After about a year with them I asked to be transferred to a camp closer to home so I could attend a meeting every once in a while. I was then reassigned to the Gen. Forest Camp in Homewood, Al. and made a few meetings at their old library building when I could.
In the early 1980s one of my ex-high school teachers, Stanley Horn had placed an ad in our local St. Clair county newspapers that he was looking for people interested in starting a Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp in Ashville, Al. I contacted him and set about recruiting members as having a camp in my own backyard meant I could attend most meetings.
At that time it took 10 members to create a camp and 5 camps to have an Alabama State Division of S.C.V. I think our St. Clair Camp #308 was either the 4th or 5th camp in the state, so our camp helped reactivate the Alabama Division. Speaking of reactivations, St. Clair Camp #308 after its reactivation carries the name the original Confederate veterans gave it. Our camp met for a while in the Old Ashville City Hall, then for a time at the St. Clair County Board of Education Building, thanks to Dr. Stanley Horn.
In the mid-1980s my wife, Sue McKay Price use to carry orders of food to Miss Sally V. Inzer who still lived in what today is known as the Inzer Museum. She was the Granddaughter of Col. John W. Inzer Commander of the 58th Ala. Inf. Regt. One day she mentioned to my wife that she would like to see the home become a Confederate Museum in honor to her Grandfather.
I relayed this request to Dr. Stanley Horn, our first camp commander and Gene House who became our second camp commander. In 1986 Sally V. Inzer’s brother Jack Inzer and the Inzer Family heirs deeded the historical Antebellum home to St. Clair Camp #308 S.C.V.
There have been many people since 1986 who have worked, raised money and saw this beautiful old home restored & used as a Confederate Museum. It’s come a long way since the early days when we were working on its infrastructure.
We replaced the roof, the front porch, the base of one of the columns, replaced the floor in the building next to the outside kitchen, kept the old house painted and numerous other odds and ends that had fallen into disrepair. Everyone involved at the start, middle and end of this project have created a historical gem that should be treasured for generations to come.
Myself and my family were also Confederate re-enactors, we would not portray Union. Of course, there are fewer re-enactors today so if you want a skirmish or battle that looks historically realistic it’s best if you portray both sides when called on to do so.
Through the 1980s-90s we belonged to the 28th Ala. Inf. Regt, 10th Ala. Inf. Regt, 58th Ala. Inf. Regt, and the 30th Ala. Inf. Reg. which I commanded. I was the person instrumental in bringing the first Civil War Re-enactment to Ashville in 1991 and was over all the committees involved.
I am extremely proud of all my accomplishments continuing and helping to save our Southern history, heritage, culture & symbols of it, even my many Op-Ed`s in defense of it. From being a Charter Member of St. Clair Camp #308 to the Sgt-at-Arms and 1st Lt. in our S.C.V. Camp to being a Confederate Re-enactor.
You will always find me somewhere in this fight and struggle, sometimes seen, other times unseen, but I`ll be in it somewhere until the end doing what I can.
Billy E. Price