MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR PVT. JAMES MONROE MCKINLEY
Liberty Baptist Church, Thomasville, Alabama
October 24, 1992
We are gathered here today to honor the memory of a brave patriot, Pvt. James Monroe McKinley of Company G of the 36th Alabama Volunteer Infantry of the Army of the Confederate States of America.
James Monroe McKinley, patriotically named for a president of the United States, was born on April 3rd, 1839, probably in Monroe County, Alabama. He lived a hardworking, but peaceful existence on his daddy’s farm until war broke out. The South, suffering invasion by a hostile foreign nation, sent out the call to arms. Young farmboy McKinley answered that call, traveling to Mobile, to join the Confederate Army in March of 1862.Years later he would explain his decision to fight for the Confederacy to his son, Mr. Jeff McKinley, saying, “son, I didn't fight to keep no slaves - I didn't own any. I fought to keep Washington from telling us how to live our lives down here.” -- a sentiment we can all understand with so many government encroachments upon the rights of a private citizens today.
Pvt. McKinley's pension record describes him as a faithful soldier who served til the end of the War. He was wounded twice in service of his country. At the disastrous battle of Nashville, he suffered from a head wound which left him with a natural part and severe headaches which plagued him for the remainder of his life. Near War's end, during the fighting at Spanish Fort in South Alabama, Pvt. McKinley’s trigger finger was shot off by enemy fire abruptly terminating his military service.
The now-citizen McKinley then returned home, married Miss Eugene Gramble and with his young bride set out to rebuild their beloved war-torn Southland. The young couple would have six children before Patriot McKinley’s peaceful life would once again be visited by tragedy as his beloved wife and seventh child died in childbirth. The two youngest children soon followed their mother in death.Veteran McKinley then found solace in the gentle Lucy Daniels whom he married on June 26, 1879. Mama Lucy, as her affectionate step-children called her gave birth to eleven children of whom two are still with us, Mr. Jeff and Miss Addie.Mr. McKinley was a God-fearing Christian. Mr. Jeff tells how every church Sunday his daddy would pack the family in the mule wagon and head for Mt. Nebo Baptist Church. Mr. McKinley was no Sunday Christian, however, but practiced Christian principals in his daily life. He was hear to have pronounced only one cuss word during his long life and that was when a fellow tried to shoot his dog.Mr. McKinley, although not a rich man, always looked after the needs of those less fortunate than he. Whenever he'd kill a beef he'd give most of it away to the needy. Mr. Jeff recalls when an elderly back man came by the house, his daddy took his own new shoes off and gave them to that black man.Shortly after his 81st birthday Veteran McKinley who had long suffered from rheumatism in both hips, began to suffer from shortness of breath and took to his bed. On April 20, 1920 he died in the arms of his beloved son, Mr. Jeff, who describes his daddy as his best friend.
Written and delivered by: Kay R. Ryes, National President-General
of the Confederate POW Society
Transcribed from a typed copy in the collection of thePost Office Box 1637
Monroe County Heritage Museums
Monroeville, AL 36461-1637
Hours: Mon. - Fr. 8-12, 1-4; Sat. 10-2
Mr. Jeff McKinley, son of James Monroe McKinley and Lucy Daniels, was buried at the Liberty Baptist Church in Thomsville on August 31, 1999. Mr. McKinley was 104 at his death.
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