Revolutionary War marker dedicated in Braggs
Published 11:26 am Thursday, April 11, 2013
By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal
A bit of early American history came to life at a cemetery in the Braggs Community of Lowndes County Sunday afternoon.
The Lt. Joseph M. Wilcox Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) and the Lowndes County Historical & Genealogical Society were joined by state and local DAR representatives, the General Richard Montgomery Sons of the American Revolution color guard, Bragg family descendents and members of the Braggs Community Sunday for the dedication of a marker in honor of Peter Newport Bragg (1763-1841), a Revolutionary War soldier, at New Bethel Cemetery in Braggs.
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The cemetery is located off Lowndes County Road 7. The Lowndes County Historical and Genealogical Society provided the funds for maker, according to Jean Till Styles, regent of the Lt. Joseph M. Wilcox Chapter NSDAR and president of the Lowndes County Historical & Genealogical Society.
“Someone out there watching is very proud to be receiving this honor today and to see that his family members are here to honor him also and have made his name so proud,” State Regent Connie Grund of the Alabama Society DAR said.
The DAR, as part of its mission, tries to locate and mark the graves of Revolutionary War soldiers, Styles said.
“We don’t know exactly where Mr. Bragg’s grave is. So, we decided to put a marker here and honor him (Bragg),” she said. “It will be seen and people will remember because he gave the community its name.”
The purpose of DAR is “to preserve the history and the memory and to honor the memory of those who served to give us our freedom,” Grund said.
She also noted that it was a special occasion when family members could be on hand.
Among family members present were Harry Houghton Smith, Dora Haas and Ryan Terry, all of Montgomery, and Julia Fellows of Madison.
“I want to thank all of you for doing this. It’s a wonderful thing that we remember our patriotic fathers and grandfathers and great-grandfathers and have a moment of recollection that the freedoms that we have are based on their sacrifice,” Smith said of the honor given his ancestor.
Also in attendance was Carolyn Dunaway of Valley Grande, Southeastern District director of ASDAR and representing the William Rufus King Chapter NSDAR.
The color guard from the General Richard Montgomery Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) included Tom Smith, carrying the American Flag and serving as the state color commander SAR, Jack Caraway of Montgomery with the Alabama Flag, and Brad Sanders of Montgomery with the SAR flag.
According to family history, Bragg was born March 4, 1763, the son of John Bragg and Mary Newport in Fauquier County, Virginia.
At the age of 16, he joined the American Army under the command of General Nathanael Greene and was in the battle of Guilford Courthouse among others.
Smith said he was ultimately at the winning battle of Yorktown.
In 1829, Bragg and his family moved to Lowndes County (Alabama), settling in the area now known as Braggs.
When the first post office was established in southwest Lowndes County, Bragg was the first postmaster. The post office was located in his store, which led to the community becoming known as Bragg’s Store and later Braggs.
Smith said his ancestor died on May 21, 1841 and was buried in his front yard under and oak tree.
While the family history notes that after Bragg’s death his widow and five of their sons moved to Arkansas, his oldest son, John Brewton, and daughter, Abigail Bragg Wiley, remained in Lowndes County.
Smith said, however, one of Bragg’s sons, Peter Newport Bragg Jr.’s, son, Walter Lawrence Bragg, came back after the Civil War and practiced law in Montgomery, becoming the first president of the Montgomery Bar Association.
“I think it’s wonderful. Particular at these times it is important to remember our ancestors, in particular those who fought for our freedom,” Smith said.
New Bethel Baptist provided its fellowship hall where refreshments were served after the dedication.
The program at the cemetery came to a close with a retirement of the colors and a lone bugler playing Taps.