A series of stories about Bryan County history, hosted by Three Valley Museum, continued Wednesday at the gazebo on the courthouse lawn. Judy Polson, president of the Julia Jackson chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), spoke about the statue of the Confederate soldier that stands on the lawn of the Bryan County Courthouse.
“He has been watching over the residents of Bryan County for 95 years,” she said.
Polson said in February 1912, the members of the UDC began a fundraiser for the statue. By the end of the year, the group had collected sufficient funds to commission the statue. The statue was made in Italy out of Italian marble by an unknown artist.
The newly made statue was put into storage for five years, because the UDC and city officials could not reach an agreement about the location of the statue.
In 1916, the Daughters were invited to erect the statue on the lawn of the newly built Bryan County Courthouse. A big celebration was held to commemorate the statue.
“This lawn was full of speakers, specials guests and even an orchestra that played patriotic songs,” said Polson.
R.L. Williams, governor of Oklahoma at the time, delivered a lengthy speech to the audience about the importance of the statue.
Polson said the Confederate statue is special because it doesn’t just represent one person; it is for all confederate soldiers.
“It represents the gallant soldiers that fought and died for their beliefs, convictions and dreams,” she said.
At the end of the presentation, Three Valley Museum Curator Nancy Ferris led the audience in singing “Dixie.”
“We are fortunate that we have people willing to come give us a little bit of Bryan County history,” she said.
Next Wednesday, Bryan Hallmark from Kiamichi Technology Center, will speak about Eaker Field and how Durant’s airport came to be. These stories will continue every Wednesday in June, from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m.