Confederate Paymaster Charles Jarrett

Today, we are pleased to welcome back guest author Roger Futrell

You may view part one here

Jarrett's paymaster chest

Jarrett’s paymaster chest

Charles F. Jarrett, whose iron paymaster’s chest was featured in a previous post, was instrumental in raising the funds needed to create a park on the site of Jefferson Davis’ birthplace at Fairview, Kentucky.  He was also supportive of joint endeavors between Union and Confederate veterans’ groups.

Charles F. Jarrett (1839-1923),[1] a Hopkinsville native, grew up in Paducah.[2] He dropped out of Centre College, in Danville, at the beginning of the Civil War and enlisted, at Camp Boone, Tennessee, in Co. D, 3rd. Regiment, Kentucky Mounted Infantry, CSA.[3]   His enlistment papers indicated he was twenty two years old; stood five feet eight inches tall; had dark complexion; blue eyes and dark hair; and was a clerk by trade.[4]  He soon moved from field duty to a clerical position in the Quartermaster Department due to severe astigmatism.[5]

Mr. Jarrett served under Generals Breckinridge, Buford, Lyon, and Forrest.[6]  He rose to the rank of Captain;[7] became an aide-de-camp to General Abraham Buford; was temporarily assigned to General Hylan B. Lyon;[8] promoted to Provost Marshal of Nathan B. Forrest’s Military Court;[9] and surrendered with Forrest at Gainesville, Alabama, in May 1865.[10]

Nathan B. Forrest had headquartered at Hopkinsville during the winter 1861-1862.[11]   His troops camped at the old fairgrounds one mile North of town.  Their camp site at 938 North Main Street is currently a rock quarry.[12]  A measles epidemic swept through the post and killed over one hundred troops.[13]  The Hopkinsville Presbyterian Church, at East Ninth & Liberty Streets, was converted into a hospital to treat the survivors.[14]  One church official indicated that every pew was occupied by a sick soldier.[15]

Mr. Jarrett returned to Christian County, Kentucky, after the war;[16]  he last lived at 903 East 7th. Street, Hopkinsville.[17]   He worked as a banker, tobacconist, and Shorthorn cattle breeder.[18]  He was active in the Christian County Hunting Club and in Confederate Veteran affairs.[19]  He was on the board of the Jefferson Davis Home Association at Fairview;[20] a trustee of the Kentucky Confederate Home at Peewee Valley;[21] and Commander of the Ned Meriwether Camp of the United Confederate Veterans (UCV) at Hopkinsville.[22]   The Ned Meriwether UCV Camp was named in memory of Mr. Jarrett’s friend Captain Charles Edward “Ned” Meriwether (1824-1862) of Woodstock Farm near Trenton.[23]  Meriwether was a member of Forrest’s cavalry when he was killed at the Battle of Sacramento.[24] His sister Caroline Meriwether Goodlett founded the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC).[25]

The Kentucky Department of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a preeminent Union veterans’ organization, held its annual state encampment at Hopkinsville in April 1895.  Local businesses draped their storefronts with American flags and red, white, and blue bunting to honor the vets.[26]  General Thomas G. Lawler, the GAR National Commander, presided at the session.  Commander Lawler invited Mr. Jarrett and Hopkinsville’s Ned Meriwether UCV Bivouac to join him and his comrades for a joint veterans’ parade through the downtown district.  Five hundred ninety-six Union and Confederate vets, both “colored” and white, turned out for the inclusive event.  A number of area residents participated in the street parade.  The line-up included: four bands, two colored and two white; one hundred twenty-four colored Union veterans; seventy-five white Union vets from the John V. Boyd GAR Post 23 at nearby Crofton; and thirty-six ex-Confederates from the Ned Meriwether UCV Camp.  One local newspaper reported that spectators cheered the Rebels on as the procession passed.[27]

The Rev. James Knox Polk, D.D. (1845-1918),[28] a former slave of General Abraham Buford, visited with Captain Jarrett when he attended the Kentucky Colored Baptist Association’s annual convention at Hopkinsville in 1908.[29]  They both had served Buford.  Jarrett was on Buford’s staff; James Knox Polk was Buford’s hostler.[30]   After the war, Mr. Polk earned a Doctorate of Divinity; was ordained to preach; and founded the Pilgrim Baptist Church of Midway, Kentucky.[31]

Captain Jarrett served as master-of-ceremonies when the Jefferson Davis Memorial Park at Fairview was dedicated in 1909.[32] The Jefferson Davis Monument was later built on the site.

Mr. Jarrett represented the Ned Meriwether UCV Camp when the local UDC chapter presented the City of Hopkinsville with a Confederate Memorial Fountain in honor of Christian County’s Rebel troops.[33]  The eight feet tall white marble shrine was erected at the intersection of Ninth and Main Streets, in downtown Hopkinsville, but was later moved to the front lawn of the Christian County Courthouse.  The edifice was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997 as part of the “Civil War Monuments in Kentucky” project.[34]

Charles F. Jarrett died in Hopkinsville on Oct. 28, 1923.[35] The Courier-Journal covered his death in a news story titled, “C.F. Jarrett, Is Dead, Served With Forrest.”[36]  His funeral was held at historic Westminster Presbyterian Church, East Ninth and Liberty Streets, where Forrest’s troops sought refuge in 1861-1862.[37]  Mr. Jarrett was buried in local Riverside Cemetery.[38]  His grave was marked with a granite headstone and cast iron Southern Cross of Honor.  The cross disappeared long ago.

[1] C. F. Jarrett, death certificate no. 051-25230 (1923).

[2] “Men In Mind In Hopkinsville,” Hopkinsville Kentuckian (Hopkinsville, Ky.), May 2, 1914, 1; 1860 US census, McCracken County, Kentucky, 993.

[3]C. F. Jarrett, Compiled Military Records…Confederate… Kentucky, roll 7.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] William English Mickle, Well Known Confederate Veterans and Their War Records (New Orleans: Mickle, 1907), xix.

[7] Confederate Veteran Magazine 13 (Mar 1905), 126; Confederate Veteran Magazine 14 (Jul 1906), 299.

[8] “Charles F. Jarrett,” biography in Henry George, History of the 3d, 7th, 8th and 12th Kentucky C.S.A. (Louisville: C.T. Dearing, 1911), 187-88.

[9] C. F. Jarrett, Compiled Military Records…Confederate… Kentucky, roll 7.

[10] “Men In Mind,” Hopkinsville Kentuckian, May 2, 1914, 1.

[11] “Hdqrs. CSA Commander,” Kentucky Historical Highway Marker #880.

[12] “Hdqrs. CSA Commander,” Kentucky Historical Highway Marker #880; “Forrest Reconnoitered,” Kentucky Historical Highway Marker #618.

[13] Dennis O’Neil, “Fighting for the fallen,” Kentucky New Era, Jan. 23, 2012, 1.

[14] “First Presbyterian,” Kentucky Historical Highway Marker #1045.

[15] “History of First Presbyterian Church,” First Presbyterian Church of Hopkinsville, Ky., website.

[16] “Men In Mind,” Hopkinsville Kentuckian, May 2, 1914, 1.

[17] Caron’s, Hopkinsville, Ky. City Directory, (1922), 154, 333.

[18] “C. F. Jarrett…Is Dead,” Courier-Journal, Oct. 28, 1923, 2; Kentucky State Gazetteer and Business Directory, vol. 4 (Detroit: R. L. Polk & Co., 1883-84), 280.

[19] “Men In Mind,” Hopkinsville Kentuckian, May 2, 1914, 1.

[20] Confederate Veteran Magazine 20 (Sep 1912), 407; Confederate Veteran Magazine 32 (July 1924), 252.

[21] Frank Kavanaugh, Kentucky Directory (Frankfort: The State Journal, 1914), 177.

[22] “Charles F. Jarrett,” biography in Gen. Clement A. Evans, editor, Confederate military history; a library of Confederate States history (Atlanta: Confederate Publishing Co., 1899), 447-48.

[23] “Caroline Meriwether Goodlett-Founder,” biographical sketch, UDC Headquarters website.

[24] “Captain Charles Edward Meriwether obituary,” Clarksville Jeffersonian (Clarksville, Tenn.), Jan. 3, 1862, 1; “Captain Charles Edward “Ned” Meriwether,” tombstone photos, FindAGrave.com; Mike Fisher and Joe Jared, Devotion for Warriors: A Christian Perspective of the Civil War (Tate Publishing, 2009), 299.

[25] “Caroline Meriwether Goodlett,” tombstone photos, FindAGrave.com.

[26] “Visiting Veterans,” Hopkinsville Kentuckian, April 16, 1895, 1.

[27] “Has Come And Gone,” Hopkinsville Kentuckian, April 19, 1895, 1; C. M. Meachem, History of Christian County, Kentucky (Nashville: Marshall & Bruce Co., 1930), 224.

[28] James K. Polk, death certificate no. 012-05945 (1918), Kentucky Bureau Vital Statistics.

[29] Confederate Veteran Magazine 16 (Sept 1908), 439.

[30] “Polk, James Knox,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, University Kentucky Libraries.

[31] “Pilgrim Baptist Church,” Kentucky Historical Highway Marker #2239.

[32] Meachem, Christian County, 251.

[33] Confederate Veteran Magazine 20 (Jan 1912), 13.

[34] National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Submission: Civil War Monuments in Kentucky, 1865-1935.

[35] “C. F. Jarrett…Is Dead,” Courier-Journal, Oct. 28, 1923, 2.

[36] Ibid.

[37] Ibid; “First Presbyterian,” First Presbyterian Church of Hopkinsville, Ky., website.

[Note: Today’s First Presbyterian Church, East Ninth and Liberty Streets, was constructed in 1848-1849.  The church has changed names several times: it has been Hopkinsville Presbyterian Church; Second Presbyterian Church; Nashville Street Presbyterian; 9th. Street Presbyterian; Westminster Presbyterian; and First Presbyterian Church.]

[38] “Charles F. Jarrett,” tombstone photo, FindAGrave.com.

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