George Fikes

"My cousin sent this to me, it's from the Montgomery Advertiser 4/01/1991. It mentions Perry county and Old Salem church north of Marion. I didn't see it listed in the churches of Perry county. I thought you might be interested in including the article on the Perry county page."

Source: Descendants honor Confederate soldier - Montgomery Advertiser - 4-01-91

Pvt Fikes' final resting-place may remain a mystery, but a marker commemorates his service to the Confederacy.

by Alvin Benn

Marion: George Fikes' descendants gathered on a cold, windy Perry County hillside Saturday afternoon to honor the memory of a Confederate soldier missing for 129 years. Family members believe Pvt. Fikes died while making the long walk home as he tried to return to his wife and six children.

The military funeral service included about 100 descendants, members of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and curious onlookers attracted to the unusual event.

Pvt Fikes, a cook with Company H, 36th Alabama Infantry Regiment, last was seen alive on Sept 15, 1862 when he left a Confederate hospital in Selma enroute to his home about 50 miles to the north.

He never reached his destination and is believed to have succumbed to an unspecified illness that took him out of possible combat with his unit.

His great-granddaughter Louis Fikes Crunk of Tuscaloosa began to research the case a few years ago and, with the help of her daughter and Denver Ragland, a local Civil War historian, some pieces of the 129 year old puzzle began to fall into place.

Pvt Fikes' final resting place may remain a mystery, but a marker commemorating his service to the Confederacy has been erected next to Old Salem church Cemetery north of Marion.

Mr Ragland was able to obtain a marker from the Veterans Administration and place it in the family cemetery a few months ago. Saturday's service officially dedicated it.

The memorial ended as six confederate re-enactors fired three volleys from their Enfield Civil War replicated rifles high above the marker.

"It's great that people care enough to do something like this" said Marie Fikes Carastro of Montgomery, an employee of the state Department of Public Health, who is a great-granddaughter of the honored Confederate soldier.

According to some of the Confederate re-enactors, who represented three different Rebel units, as many as 50,000 Civil War soldiers may lie in unmarked graves due to poor record-keeping in those days.

In Pvt. Fikes' case, he was 50 miles from home, traveling on foot, ill and with no way to contact his wife and children.

"Was he attacked by highwaymen.. or was his lifeless body devoured by wild animals?" asked Kay Reyes, his great-great-granddaughter, who helped do research for her mother, Mrs. Crunk.

Mrs. Reyes, who ware a flowering black period dress complete with hat and veil, read a biography of her ancestor, a man she said had "fought for what was right".

Mrs Reyes' 10 year old son, Robin, joined the Confederate honor guard as a drummer boy and chipped in by playing "Dixie" and "Tapes" on a flute.

Although Mrs Reyes and her son have been living in Ohio the past year, they made sure everyone at the ceremony knew they were 100 percent southern in Breeding and spirit.

Two women who attracted most of the attention were Hattie Tubbs, 89, and her sister, Arbert Carter, 86, who are two of Pvt Fikes' three remaining granddaughters. They stood quietly, arm in arm, near the marker which said "He Sleeps in an Unknown Grave". They listened intently as their grandfather was eulogized by one of the many descendants born in another century, in another time.

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