|The following eloquent
address was delivered by Judge W. S. Bullock on the presentation of the
loving cup to Mrs. Fannie R. Gary yesterday:
Is this a dream as I listen to the clatter of the hoofs, rumbling noise of the wheels on the paved streets, and hear those familiar names of the names gone by and I look down the vista of time, ten, twenty, thirty, forty yerars-oh, a half century ago, with magic power it takes me back to childhood's hours, when with bare feet and tousled hair, with boyish fun I tumbled and rolled in the deep sand bed around the public square of the old courthouse in Ocala.
Truely, my friends, it seems a dream. I can scarcely realize the stern reality of truth. There are things that we feel that we can not express, and as I stand before you on this delightful occasion, when every word, thought, act and deed is filled with inexspressible gratitude to God for such manisfestation of his inestimable love toward us, I am overcome. I am filled with such emotion that I can not find words, the ordinary and common vehicle of thought, to speak to you. I know that I shall be unable to convey to you the most infinitessimal conception of how all this ceremony has impressed me. Oh, what recollections, what reminiscences, sweet and bitter, in panoramic form passes before me on this occasion. The sweet memories of childhood, the green pasture to life. The old circle of friends and families, there life and death. The passing away of the old conditions, as we watch the unfolding of the new. The ebb in the tide of life runs on and on, Life and Death. What a theme for contimplation!
To many of you, my friends, this is but a ceremony. You but honor a worthy president. With me it is different. To me it is a volume, a book with many pages, an unwritten history. To me it is a mirror reflecting the images of those who have gone on and passed over the hill of life, and out of sight, but whose memories I cherish in fondest recollection. By the side of some of these we have walked and listened to their counsel. Some of their voices has been hushed in death. To some of them we are listening still. They are still climbing, moving on and on, and at the head of the same procession, treading in the same paths of life, toiling in the same vinyard, waiving the same banner that they have proudly borne for fifty years.
Commrades, friends, Daughters of the Confederacy, those names spoken in my hearing with magic power take me back to childhood's hour. Where are those familiar faces and voices of my childhood days, the voice of Badger, DeBruhl, McConnell, Rogers, McClure, Bullock, Gary, Marin, Dickson, Long, Harris and a score of others. Only here and there a tottering frame. The large majority have joined their old comrades on that other shore.
God bless those who are with us still, and we will honor ourselves with strewing the end of their path of life with roses of sweet perfume-of honor, love and respect.
This occasion is not only one to pay a tribute of respect to those noble patriots who bore the muskets and wore the uniforms, but emphatically to honor that noble patriot who stands at the head of the column of patriots and to take part in these exercises testifying our love, affection and esteem of the matchless character of Frances Rosa Gary.
Talk about patriotism; my friends, it was the noble, pure women of our loved Southland, that were true patriots. There was no beat of the drum, nor rattle of the musketry, no whoop of the comrade to cheer the patriot women as they stood at the gate for the last farewell to husband and son as they marched from home for the last time. But amidst the stern realities of truth, the lonliness of home, when the shadow of the evening was come, when the songbird had ceased its music, when a faint flicker of a home made candle burned dimly in the corner, or perchance a few burning embers from the old fireplace reflected a shadowy ray across the bare, coarse floor-there were prattling, innocent, sweetfaced babies gathered around her knee. They could with sincerity, truth, and resignation say, "Father, thy will be done." This is patriotism, second only to the patriotism of the Prince of Peace, whose pure life was poured out for our transgressions.
In 1864, when I was a little boy, eight years old, I saw this same noble, patriot woman we honor today, then 31 years of age, a sweet young woman, then in the beauty, prime and vigor of womanhood, with that Christian fortitude that has characterized her life, invoking God's blessing on her husband as she sacrificed his companionship and protection, that he might lay his service at the command of his country. I have watched the coming and parting days of her life since then. How I recall when we had no Baptist Church, not enough people to have different Sunday Schools, we all went to the old Methodist Sunda School, an old fashioned house that stood on the block of the present Methodist Church, facing the west, almost opposite the present stome building of Mrs. Wallace, with two doors, on one side of which the men sat, on the other the ladies sat. The men were not as brave then as now, for it was a rare thing for a gentleman to sit with the lady he took to the evening service. He left her at the door as she entered and received her as she left.
This condition could not satisfy the yearning of her soul. She was almost the only Baptist in Ocala, but there was an old ante-bellum church house that stood on the block just south of and across the street from the present residence of Mr. George K. Robinson. It had been a long time since the Baptists had preached in that house and it needed some repairs, and Mrs. Gary got a carpenter and went down to do the work and found the house to be occupied - a tennant of sufferance, the mother and her children. I have come to the conclusion that the tenant was either a Methodist, Presbyterian, Christian or Episcopalian, because they growled so much on being disspossesed.
Mrs. Gary found in the pulpit an old opossum with a nest of young ones. How the Baptist cause in Ocala has grown under God's blessing.
Sixty-four years has she sat at the feet of her Master doing what she could. Fifty-three of these years has been spent in Florida. It needs no tablet of stone to have her deeds of Christian kindness written thereon, that perish with time for they are burned in the hearts of those who know her, and recorded in the Book of Life. Her energy and influence have not been confined to Ocala, and while it has been her home where the result of her active influence and energy has been most, if by no means confined to Ocala.
In 1891 she organized and was elected president of the Confederate Memorial Association, and raised by entertainments and subscriptions $500 that was contributed to aid in the purchase of the "Home for old Confederate Soldiers" in Jacksonville, Fla.
In 1896 she organized and was elected President of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Dickson Chapter.
Source: 1908 Ocala Evening Star Extraction
Transcribed by Linda Flowers