Delores L. Walker, Free Press Reporter
On a frigid afternoon straight from the Arctic North two Confederate soldiers were honored for their service by friends and family at Wayfare Cemetery in Mayo.
The 2 p.m. ceremony Saturday, Jan. 10, 2004 to dedicate markers for George W. Simpson, a soldier in the C.S.A. joining in 1861 and John Henderson Polk, who enlisted in the C.S.A. in 1864 was conducted by Wiregrass Greys Camp #1683, Adel, Ga. and A. Livingston Camp #746, Madison, Fl.
The soldiers were some of the first settlers to come to Lafayette County.
Polk and his wife Mary Frances Lewis moved to the county shortly after their marriage in 1866. They bought land near the Suwannee River and reared 11 children at their homestead currently known as the Ace Ranch.
Mr. Polk's family history was read by Donald Davis, a great-grandson, unveiling of the marker was done by grandson Harry Davis, and the placing of the floral tribute was carried out by Anna Lee Polk Comfort, granddaughter.
Simpson and his second wife Nancy bought a 120-acre farm in Lafayette County in 1909 living there until his death. Simpson was the father of 14 children.
The family history was read by Bob Robinson, great-great grandson, the unveiling of the marker was done by James C. Robinson a fourth-great grandson. The floral presentation was done by Jacob Gunter, third-great grandson.
To honor their memory family and friends gathered at Wayfare, laying wreaths and displaying photographs of the heroic soldiers as part of the dedication ceremony that also included a military gun salute and Taps skillfully played by Jon Taylor, a junior at Lafayette High School.
Family members and friends were visibly moved as the long ago achievement of these two soldiers was unfolded at the final resting place of the two men that helped to shape a nation in what history records as one of the darkest and most pivotal times in America.