In 2016, I officially joined the Sons of Confederate Veterans, but I had knowledge of the SCV prior to that. When I first began reenacting, I got involved with a living history and small skirmish north of Piedmont, Alabama. Through that skirmish, I met the then brigade commander Frank Leatherwood. I also met the then Piedmont camp Adjutant, Brian Cooper. Those two men introduced me to what I began knowing as the SCV.
Unknowing of other meeting locations, I drove 20+ miles several months to attend the SCV meetings at the Piedmont camp. Attending for months, I eventually invited my high school girlfriend at the time. She later told me that the SCV was a traitorous, and un-American organization. This is because when she attended a banquet with me, we saluted the Confederate flag after pledging to the United States flag. This later led to an ongoing disagreement between us, because I refused to change my hobby or way of life.
I don't consider myself to follow social norms, or go along with the crowd. In fact, I feel more welcome in a cemetery than in most churches. Visiting graves has been a pastime of mine since I also enjoy studying genealogy. The SCV is a welcoming group of these hobbies. Not only do members know who their ancestors are, they are proud of them! SCV members, unlike members of any other organization the SCV is an ongoing defender of their family history. They do not cave to demands or make negotiations. As previously stated, this is the only organization fighting to preserve Southern history.
Within my first six months in the organization, I was promoted to Camp Adjutant. Soon after that promotion, our commander at the time decided to step down, and he handed the position to me. The camp at the time of our command change was 8 members. In May of 2018, I had been doing some research on past SCV camps in the area.
I was told by a past history teacher in high school that there was a camp in the 1980's, he was a member. This question eventually led to me contacting General Headquarters of the SCV. GHQ eventually emailed me a 32-page document stating the original camp far outdated the 1980's organization. In 1903 the Samuel C. Kelly #454 Camp was formed in Oxford, Alabama. This camp was formed by 10 men from the Oxford area, who elected the camp be named after a prominent citizen of Oxford.
Samuel Camp Kelly, the namesake of the camp was mayor of Oxford twice, served honorably in the Mexican-American war, and achieved the rank of Colonel in the 30th Alabama Infantry (C.S.). Kelly proudly helped to fund Oxford College, what is now the site of Oxford High School.
In July of 2018, my camp voted unanimously to restore our name to the original, and more historic camp name. We now have over 24 members in and out of the state. Two of those members are at the life status at both the Alabama Division and General Headquarters.
As a college student, I am exposed to a much younger age group than most camp commanders in the organization. I am recruiting almost daily to try and gain members for our "new" camp in Oxford. In fact, since becoming Camp Commander, I have appointed all new officers, all of which are under 23 years old, with the exception of my Camp Chaplain, who is an experienced, young, man.
I look forward to my future endeavors in the SCV. I also look forward to the opportunity to build a new camp and share the historical significance of our camp name.