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Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/14

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6 Southern Historical Society Papers.

the war, was in the celebration of Washington's Birthday in 1873, when, upon the invitation of the W. L. I., all the "Rifle Clubs" paraded together, and about one thousand men, with arms in their hands, marched through the streets of Charleston.

The writer had been called to the command of the Rifle Club in May, 1872, with the promise of a short two-year service, to secure a permanent life to the organization. Withdrawing from the com- mand on 22d May, 1874, this extract is made from his letter of resig- nation: " While attention to military studies and exactness in drill should mark your future, be ever mindful of those in whose homes are the vacant chairs; whose young lives have been darkened by broad shadows from recent battle-fields the widow and the father- less! Let us illustrate our times with deeds of charity and of kind- ness, and if incentive is wanting for renewed exertion in this direction, refer to the records of our own " Charitable Association " for re- minder of what earnest men can do. * * * Under their auspices, they also erected the first memorial shaft raised in South Carolina in honor of the dead of the war."

Within one year the "Easter Fair" was held, the most brilliant public entertainment ever seen in Charleston, made so largely by the taste, talent and enegy of the late Major R. C. Gilchrist, and the effective work of the members of the Rifle Club. The net proceeds were over $8,000. In dealing with this handsome result, the Rifle Club created a trust (of five members), separate from the general Treasury of the command. The trustees have, in twenty-eight years, by judicious investments, doubled the original amount of 1875, and as far as is known, this is to-day the only Permanent Confederate Benefaction in the South. The management of this fund has been conducted throughout, without one cent of cost for administration a labor of love by the trusteesĀ !


The five original trustees were elected 22d May, 1875 General James Conner, Captain Wm. A. Courtenay, Lieutenant Oct. Wilkie, Lieutenant Henry I. Greer, F. L. Parker, M. D. General Conner was elected Chairman; Lieutenant Wilkie, Treasurer; Lieutenant Greer, Secretary. On 2oth March, 1883, General Conner resigned on account of ill health; died in Richmond, Va., 27th June, 1883. Major R. C. Gilchrist was elected by the company a trustee in his place.