40 years ago the Jackson ancestral home was identified at the Birches, Portadown. A plaque was unveiled by the then American Consul Mr McManus. Since then the plaque and the ancestral home of Thomas Jonathon 'Stonewall' Jackson was largely forgotten except by the locals in the Birches. A couple of years ago it was decided that one of Northern Ireland's most famous sons should be remembered and honoured and the Stonewall Jackson Appreciation Society was set up.
This year, 2008, was the 40th anniversary of the unveiling of the plaque and it was decided to hold a public event to commemorate this.The Stonewall Jackson 40th Anniversary Event was held at Peatlands Park on Saturday 30th August was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone who attended.
The Mayor of Craigavon, Alderman Sidney Anderson, joined members of the Society at the plaque for a short ceremony and later the Mayor got into the spirit of the event as he spent time with the 8th Alabama infantry at their campsite. He even managed to get his hands on an original 1860's Enfield musket! The 8th Alabama re-enactors put on displays of marching, drill and volley fire.
In the marquee the entertainment was provided by the groups 'Stonewall' and 'The Dog Ruff String Band' as well as the Roadrunners line dance team and the 'Flower of the Bann' Scottish dancers. Children attending the event made good use of the Bouncy Castle and Slide provided by Bouncy Castles Direct.
Dog Ruff on stage
The Stonewall Jackson Society would like to thank Peatlands Park for the use of their facilities and our thanks also go to Craigavon Borough Council and the Ulster Scots Agency who funded the event.The Stonewall Jackson Society is seeking to educate people in Northern Ireland about the contribution made by Ulster men and women in the formation of America and particularly their involvement in the War Between the States.
We are looking for members so that our society can grow. Anyone interested can find out more about the society on our webpage at http://www.stonewalljacksonsociety.com/. The secretary can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Secretary Stonewall Jackson Society
photos courtesy of Tate photography