"Let the women of the South organize memorial associations, for it is the women who must see that those who gave their lives for the greatest cause the world has ever known, must live forever in the hearts of the Southern people."
This was the appeal that Father Abram Joseph Ryan made in the spring of the year 1866. Father Ryan was a Catholic priest, journalist, and poet, and had served as a Chaplain in the Confederate army.
Following in this spirit, about 40 Fayetteville ladies met on Monday June 10, 1872, at the Methodist Church South, to begin the task of securing a piece of land which would be the permanent resting place for Confederate dead. Just one year later on Tuesday June 10, 1873, the ladies dedicated the Confederate Cemetery and the first graves were decorated. The largest crowd ever assembled in the county, since the burial of Col. Archibald Yell, gathered that day to attend the first annual Southern Memorial Day service.
Today, the Confederate Cemetery located at the top of East Rock Street, is still privately owned and maintained by the Southern Memorial Association of Washington County, Arkansas, holding to the same purpose and devotion as the ladies of 1872.
The Southern Memorial Association is the oldest continuous women's organization in Washington County. It is possibly the oldest women's organization that has remained in continous operation in the entire State of Arkansas.
Please feel welcome to contact any of the officers with suggestions or concerns you may have about the Southern Memorial Association or the Confederate Cemetery. The officers wish to serve the purposes of the association in a dignified and orderly manner so that we all can be proud of this historic Confederate Cemetery.