by Barbara J. Wood
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Confederate Vets Plaque restored

Historians restore Confederate Vets Plaque ....  A plaque once thought lost has been rediscovered and will again be displayed for all to see. The timing coincides with the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War.

"That the memory of Confederate lives may be kept beautiful always" is the sentiment on a 14-inch-by-9-inch copper and bronze plaque that was part of a Confederate soldiers memorial in Floresville.

The plaque was discovered by the late Norman Leus of Floresville among several historical artifacts stored at the home he shared with his wife, LaJuana. It was one of two plaques that hung on the exterior of the gazebo-like structure now located on the courthouse square. The structure was erected in 1926 and was dedicated on Easter Sunday, April 17, 1927, by then-Gov. Dan Moody. It stood in the United Daughters of the Confederacy Driveway Park, formerly located in the center of C Street.

The second plaque read, "Erected by Floresville Chapter of U.D.C. 1926, President Mrs. W.E. Myers."

As Floresville grew and the need for parking spaces increased, the park was removed in the 1950s and the gazebo-like structure was moved to its present home on the north side of the courthouse square. The plaques, however, fell into disrepair and were removed.

While the whereabouts of the dedication plaque are unknown, continued inquiries about the status of the other plaque prompted Wilson County Historical Society members Otto Henke, John and Shirley Grammer, LaJuana Newnam-Leus, and Maurine Liles to act. Henke said Danny Ybarra of the Floresville-based Texaloy Foundry Co. managed to reproduce two missing letters after the Southwell Co. in San Antonio said they could not repair the plaque.

Henke cleaned the plaque and remounted the letters. He then mounted the plaque on wood, which he stained.

Shirley Grammer said the Historical Society plans to ask the Wilson County Commissioners Court to approve construction of a glass display case, to allow the plaque to be displayed in a secure manner in the Wilson County Courthouse. A fund-raiser will be organized to cover the cost of the display, which will include a reproduction of the charter signed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy Chapter 765 on March 7, 1904.

The Historical Society hopes to be able to display the plaque again later this year, to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. Records indicate that more than 400 Wilson County residents were enlisted in the Confederate Army.

COURTESY / Wilson County News  Article written by William J. Gibbs Jr. (July 6, 2011)