© 2006 - 2011 The Stephen D Lee Foundation and
General William Barksdale Camp 1220, SCV
All rights reserved

Two Columbus Institutions Receive MDAH Museum Library Awards
The Columbus Packet
Thursday September 8,2011

Two Columbus organizations are the inaugural recipients of awards recognizing excellence in the preservation and interpretation of Mississippi history. The Department of Archives and History presented the Capers Award to the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library and the Carr Black Award to the Stephen D. Lee Home and Museum at a luncheon August 2 on the campus of Mississippi University for Women.

The Capers Award, which memorializes longtime MDAH director Charlotte Capers, recognizes smaller institutions or organizations whose mission is to acquire, preserve, and provide access to materials of enduring historical value. The Columbus-Lowndes Public Library was praised for outstanding archival achievement and a strong commitment to the preservation of local history. The library's extensive outreach services include  local workshops on preservation topics such as processing/preservation and preserving photographs through the Archival Training Collaborative, work to create an online collection through the Mississippi Digital Library, and the Local History Announcements blog. The library also partners with the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science on the annual "Tales from the Crypt" project.

The Carr Black Award, named in honor of author and former Old Capitol Museum director Patti Carr Black, recognizes outstanding work by Mississippi museums or individuals in preserving, interpreting, and presenting public aspects of Mississippi history, art, or culture. The Carr Black Award was awarded to Carolyn Burns Kaye, the curator of the Stephen D. Lee Home and Museum, for her work as researcher, collector, exhibit planner, and tour guide. Kaye travels throughout the region to promote the house and museum and recently produced a brochure about the house's history. Her efforts have resulted in increased visitation.

The awards were established in 2010 and will be presented biennially as merited.

Recipients are selected by the board of trustees of the Department of Archives and History. The 2011 Capers & Carr Black Awards each carry a $300 cash prize.

The Mississippi Department of Archives and History is the second-oldest state department of archives and history in the United States. The department collects, preserves, and provides access to the archival resources of the state, administers various museums and historic sites, and oversees statewide programs for historic , preservation, state and local government records management and publications. The department is headquartered in the state-of-the-art William F. Winter Archives and History Building, located on the comer of North and Amite Streets in downtown Jackson. For more information call 601-576-6850 or see the MDAH Web site, WWW.mdah.state.ms.us.

Lieutenant General Stephen Dill Lee
September 22, 1833 - May 28, 1908

Lieutenant General Stephen Dill

There probably is not one member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans who has not heard of Lieutenant General Stephen Dill Lee who on April 25 1906 charged us as follows:

"To you, Sons of Confederate Veterans, we will commit the vindication of the cause for which we fought. To your strength will be given the defense of the Confederate soldier's good name, the guardianship of his history, the emulation of his virtues, the perpetuation of those principles which he loved and which you love also, and those ideals which made him glorious and which you also cherish.”

However, there are probably very few that realize that he, like four other Confederate Generals, adopted Columbus, Mississippi as his home nor that his final resting place is Friendship Cemetery in Columbus.

Lt Gen S D Lee Home Historic Marker                  SDLee_Cln_Grave.jpg

SDLee.jpgThe youngest Lieutenant General of the Confederacy,  Stephen Dill Lee was born to Dr. Thomas Lee and Caroline Allison Lee on 22 September 1833 in Charleston, S.C.  He entered West Point at the age of 17 and graduated in 1854; he served in the U.S. Army in Texas, Florida, Kansas, and the Dakotas.  In 1861, he resigned from the U.S. Army to enter service in the Confederate Army as a Captain and aide-de-camp to General Beauregard. and rose in rank from Captain to Lieutenant General.

By profession an artillerist, he served in the artillery through all the Virginia campaigns until Sharpsburg, and was meantime promoted through grades to Colonel. On November 6, 1862, he was appointed Brigadier General and was assigned to the command of General Pemberton’s artillery at Vicksburg. He was exchanged after the capitulation of the place in July 1863, and was promoted Major General on August 3. He was then placed in command of the cavalry in the Department of Mississippi, Alabama, West Tennessee, and East Louisiana.

Promoted to Lieutenant General on June 23, 1864, he assumed command of Hood’s old corps of the Army of Tennessee, which he led during the Tennessee campaign and in the closing days, until the surrender of General Joseph F. Johnston in North Carolina.

Lee was severely wounded in Nashville, Tenn., in 1864 and surrendered with Johnston in High Point, N.C., on 26 April 1865

Despite his youth and comparative lack of experience, Lee’s prior close acquaintanceship with all three branches of the service --- artillery, cavalry, and infantry --- rendered him one of the most capable corps commanders in the army.


   In February 1865, Lee married Regina Harrison, daughter of James Thomas Harrison and Regina Blewett, of Columbus, Miss. They settled in Mississippi after the war and Lee was active as a planter for several years.


  In 1878, Lee was elected to the Mississippi Senate.  From 1880 to 1899, he served as the first president of the Mississippi Agricultural and Mechanical College, now Mississippi State University.


 He resigned as college president to serve as member of the commission to organize Vicksburg Military Park.  Lee was active in the Confederate veterans, wrote several articles on the Civil War, and held the post of Chief of the United Confederate Veterans until his death in Vicksburg on 28 May 1908.

The S. D. Lee Home

In 1847, Major Thomas Garton Blewett, prominent early citizen of Columbus, completed this spacious .Italianate mansion for his family home. The walls and foundation are of solid brick which was made and laid by local masons and the wood milled and crafted by local carpenters and artisans. The original house had a conservatory on the south side which overlooked formal gardens and a one and a half-story master bedroom wing on the north side. The present-day kitchen was a hall which led not only to the master bedroom but a covered out- side walkway leading to a beautifully appointed Roman bath house and the kitchen.

After the deaths of Major Blewett and his wife, Regina DeGraffenreid, their daughter, Regina Blewett Harrison, inherited the house. At her death the house was left to her two daughters, Mary Harrison, who never married, and Regina Harrison Lee, wife of General Stephen D. Lee. Eventually the house was inherited by their son, Blewett Harrison Lee, a practicing lawyer in Chicago. In 1916, he sold the house and entire block to the City of Columbus for use of the city school system, and the Stephen D. Lee High School was built on the square. The wings of the home and outbuildings were removed and the home converted into the home economics building and school cafeteria.

In December 1959, the school was destroyed by fire and the home severely damaged. On the day following the fire, the Association for the Preservation of Antiquities in Columbus and Lowndes County met with city officials to pre vent the planned demolition of the house and to request permission to restore it. The Association for the Preservation of Antiquities and the Lowndes County Historical Society combined to form the Stephen D. Lee Foundation, a tax exempt nonprofit corporation. This umbrella organization represented pilgrimage home owners and various civic, patriotic and historical groups.

The Lowndes County Historical Society uses two upstairs rooms for a museum, and the Stephen D. Lee Chapter 34 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy furnished the upstairs room on the west side.

SDLeeHome2.jpgSome of the original furnishings, paintings and memorabilia were returned by the family, and many handsome gifts have been received from donors, both Columbians and others. The home now serves the community as an educational and cultural center.

The Florence McLeod Hazard Museum and UDC Room are filled with a variety of treasured and valuable historical items pertaining to the state and local area.

Through the Historical Society's Docent Program, weekly tours are conducted for visitors, and complimentary school tours are given by appointment. The downstairs is used for meetings, weddings, educational events, and many other special occasions.

The property receives no financial support from the city, county or state and is maintained and operated entirely by private funding and voluntary contributions.

On behalf of both organizations, the Stephen D. Lee Foundation extends a warm welcome to this beloved home and museum, a property now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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The MIDI file of "Confederate Land.mid" is used by permission of Benjamin Robert Tubb from his website at Public Domain Music <http://www.pdmusic.org>.

© 2006 - 2011 The Stephen D Lee Foundation, Columbus, MS and
  Gen William Barksdale Camp 1220, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Columbus, MS.
All rights reserved

Permission is hereby given to any Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp or any United Daughters of the Confederacy Chapter to download images and or text for the furtherance of their cause of supporting, promoting, and defending Southern Heritage provided (1) a credit acknowledgment to the Stephen D Lee Foundation and Camp 1220 is included in the printed matter or website and (2) Camp 1220 is notified of its usage.

It may not be used, nor distributed by any other organization, nor any individual for any purpose, commercial or otherwise, without the express written permission of the General William Barksdale Camp 1220, Sons of Confederate Veterans.