And Now You Know: Orange loses two Confederate veterans, one day apart

Published 5:30 pm Saturday, January 11, 2020

Mike Louviere, And Now you Know

On January 12, 1930, George Ward died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. John Kurtz, at 314 Polk Street. His death brought the number of Confederate veterans living in Orange down to 10.

For many years, Ward had been one of the most active members of the Walter P. Lane Camp of United Confederate Veterans. Until his last year (1929) he had attended all the state and national reunions of the UCV.

He had been in “feeble health” for several months. He was found slumped in his rocking chair, “expired as though asleep.”

Ward was born in Mississippi, then had lived in Jonesboro, Louisiana for about 22 years. He had actively served the full four years of the Civil War and often recounted incidents of the battles he had been in.

His war record showed that he had served in Company D, 3rd Mississippi Regiment. The regiment was part of Featherstone’s Brigade. Ward was taken prisoner by Federal forces at Atlanta, Georgia on June 22, 1864 and remained a prisoner of war until the end of the war.

He was survived by two daughters and one son. His funeral services were held at his daughter’s home on Polk Street. Internment was in Evergreen Cemetery.

Active pallbearers were from the David Bland Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans. Honorary pallbearers were his fellow Confederate veterans; George Hubbard, Jeptha Sterling, J.P. Tatum, W.J. King, M.E. Grubbs, J.C. Camp. B.E. Turpin, B.A. Stephens, and J. Van Ratcliff.

The day following the report of Ward’s death, January 13, 1930, there was the report of the death of J. Van Ratcliff, one of the remaining Confederate veterans.

Ratcliff died at his home, located at 1208 Green Avenue after a long illness. 

Ratcliff had lived in Orange for over 80 years and was considered Orange’s oldest citizen. He remembered Orange as a landing site on the Sabine River known as Green’s Bluff and later as the town of Madison. He saw Orange develop from a mere ferry landing to a town with modern conveniences. 

Ratcliff recalled the “digging out” of the road that later became Green Avenue.

Ratcliff was referred to as one of the pioneer cattlemen of Orange County. In his younger years, he had established one of the first meat markets in Orange.

For several years, he had operated a livery stable and later a market on the site that was occupied by First National Bank at the time of his death.

During the Civil War, he served in the Confederate army and later in a local military organization that was part of the state calvary militia.

He was survived by his wife of 62 years, the former Miss Caroline Foreman and nine children.

His funeral was held at his home the day following his death, his burial was in Jett Cemetery.

Once again, the remaining Confederate veterans of Orange were designated as honorary pallbearers.

At the time of Ward’s death, he was 84 years old. Ratcliff was 88. The ranks of the United Confederate Veterans of Orange were thinning. 

“And now you know.”