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Thursday, May 02, 2013

COURTHOUSE CEREMONY MARKS EIGHTH CIVIL WAR PANEL IN CALLAWAY COUNTY, MISSOURI

FULTON, Mo. - Retired Callaway County Circuit Court Judge Gene Hamilton keynoted the dedication of the final original Gray Ghosts Trail Panel in Callaway County, at the County Courthouse in Fulton on September 11, 2012.

On a day when local law officers, firefighters and other first responders were both invited guests and members of a special uniformed honor guard marking both 9/11 and Patriot Day, Hamilton linked the dedication of our modern-day law-enforcement heroes with a tradition including historic officers such as Callaway County's George W. Law.

Besides telling of the soldiers who served from Callaway County during the Civil War, and speaking of the Union occupation of Fulton, the panel "Callaway County Men at War" features a short biography of Confederate Lt. Col. George W. Law, who though having lost an arm in combat served as Callaway County sheriff in 1872-1873. Sheriff Law was killed in the line of duty by vigilantes while transporting a prisoner.

Currently serving law and emergency personnel were invited guests at the ceremony. Thirty-four officers and first responders led in formation by Callaway County Sheriff Dennis Crane and Fulton Police Chief Steve Myers joined a Blue-Gray honor guard of the local Elijah Gates Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans standing with period colors at the panel. They were joined by women in period dress from the Reuben H. Bullard Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Kingdom of Callaway Civil War Heritage (KOCCWH) Co-Chair Joe D. Holt emceed. Martin Northway, KOCCWH chair, referred to the dedication of the Courthouse panel as "the completion of a mission begun seven years ago. … the eighth and final panel among seven historic sites on the Gray Ghosts Trail in Callaway County."

Warren Hollrah of the KOCCWH dramatically presented Northway's account of the life and death of Confederate officer and Callaway County Sheriff Law. As a lieutenant colonel, Law was second in command to Col. Elijah P. Gates of the 1st Missouri Cavalry Regiment (dismounted). He lost an arm in combat at the Battle of the Big Black River in the Vicksburg campaign.

Law is honored with an annual award in his name that the Fulton Rotary Club grants to the county's top law officer. The award was to be announced September 19. Consequently, the Callaway County Commissioners declared September 11 through 19 "George W. Law Days" in Callaway County. Western District Commissioner Doc Kritzer read the declaration on behalf of the other commissioners. (Sheriff Crane was the 2012 award recipient.)

With the Blue-Gray re-enactors holding period colors as a backdrop, panel donors Joseph W. ("Whit") and Virginia McCoskrie of Fulton unveiled the panel on behalf of Virginia's Smockingbird's Gifts. Whit McCoskrie wore his uniform as a retired lieutenant colonel of the U.S. Army.

The event also featured patriotic music of the "Patriot Day Band" performed by Fulton Public Schools band players led by band director Kelly Neudecker.

The Gray Ghosts Trail - which begins in the east in Danville, and includes historic sites in Boone and Callaway Counties and Boonville before wrapping up at Marshall in the west - is sponsored by Missouri's Civil War Heritage Foundation.

Photos by Don Ernst




Thursday, September 06, 2012

FINAL GRAY GHOSTS TRAIL PANEL TO HIGHLIGHT PEACE OFFICER

From Kingdom of Callaway Civil War Heritage

FULTON, Mo. - Retired Callaway County Circuit Court Judge Gene Hamilton will keynote the dedication of the final Gray Ghosts Trail Panel in the county, at the County Courthouse, 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, September 11.

Besides telling of the soldiers who served from Callaway County during the Civil War, and speaking of the Union occupation of Fulton, the panel "Callaway County Men at War" features a biography of Confederate Lt. Col. George W. Law, who though having lost an arm in combat served as Callaway County sheriff in 1872-1873.

Sheriff Law was killed in the line of duty while transporting a prisoner, and on this anniversary of 9/11 now known as Patriot Day, Judge Hamilton will speak of how our free society depends upon law officers like Sheriff Law, firefighters and first responders for our peace and security.

Currently serving law and emergency personnel are invited guests at the ceremony, and their uniformed honor guard will welcome the U.S. flag as it is posted by local veterans and the Blue-Gray Color Guard of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Sheriff Law is honored with an annual award in his name that the Fulton Rotary Club grants to the county's top law officer. This year, the award will be given on September 19. Consequently, the Callaway County Commissioners are expected to declare September 11 through 19 "George W. Law Days" in Callaway County.

The dedication event will be emceed by Joe D. Holt, co-chair of Kingdom of Callaway Civil War Heritage (KOCCWH), and himself a former associate judge of the Callaway Circuit Court as well as a practicing attorney in Fulton. The event will also feature patriotic music performed by Fulton Public Schools band players led by band director Kelly Neudecker.

The eighth panel at seven historic sites on the Gray Ghosts Trail in Callaway County, "Callaway County Men at War" is likewise sponsored by Kingdom of Callaway Civil War Heritage, local affiliate of Missouri's Civil War Heritage Foundation. The panel is funded through a donation by Joseph W. ("Whit") and Virginia McCoskrie of Fulton, and like most of the other panels, was researched and written by KOCCWH chair and historian Martin Northway.

Judge Hamilton is a graduate of rural Callaway County schools, Fulton High School, Westminster College and the University of Missouri School of Law and has a Certificate from the Center for Dispute Resolution from the University of Missouri Columbia. He was admitted to the bar in 1967 and from Jan 1, 1970, to December 31, 1980, he was the elected prosecuting attorney of Callaway County. He also practiced law in Callaway County from January 1, 1970, until December 31, 1982.

He was elected Circuit Judge in November 1982 and served until September 30, 2010. While on the bench, Hamilton served as Vice Chairperson, Supreme Court Committee for Missouri Court Reporters, as Chairperson of the Missouri Supreme Court Committee for Criminal Proceedings for 15 years from 1989 until December 31, 2003, and on the Supreme Court Committee for Judicial Education.

He regularly taught at the Missouri Judicial College on the varied topics of post-conviction remedies, probation violation, criminal jury instructions, trial tactics and evidence. He was also a regular faculty member of the Judicial Orientation session. He was Presiding Judge of the 13th Circuit from September 20, 2002, until March 31, 2010, and served as Chairperson of the Presiding Judge Executive Committee. Hamilton retired as of September 30, 2010.

Hamilton has been the Chairperson of Callaway County United Way and has served as President of the Kingdom of Callaway Supper. He is a member and elder of Old Auxvasse - Nine Mile Presbyterian Church and is a member of Delta Tau Delta, Phi Delta Phi, the Masonic Lodge and the Callaway County Bar Association. He is a member of the Central Bank Board of Directors and serves on the advisory committee of the branch in Fulton.

The current Gray Ghosts Trail - which begins in the east in Danville, and includes historic sites in Boone and Callaway Counties and Boonville before wrapping up at Marshall in the west - is sponsored by Missouri's Civil War Heritage Foundation. The foundation also sponsors the developing U.S. Grant Trail in eastern Missouri. The nonprofit group's Web site is www.mocivilwar.org The Web site of the foundation's Callaway County affiliate is www.callawaycivilwar.org. For information, call the Kingdom of Callaway Historical Society at (573) 642-0570.




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