Confederate past stirs memories
Shelby Star Staff Writer
Isaac Mooney
Isaac Mooney

LAWNDALE--The tidy little cemetery almost hidden in the southwest corner of Lawndale-Casar and Mauney roads hasn't had a new grave in decades, and seldom sees visitors. But Paul Lee, raised nearby and now living in Shelby, still reminisces about the grandfather who is buried there. It was Ike Mooney who gave him his name.

When premature twins were born to James Walter and Blanche Mooney Lee March 19, 1920, the little girl died. Even though the infant boy clung to life, his parents were reluctant to name him. After six months passed, grandfather Mooney stepped forward and said it was time. He offered his own name--Isaac Paul.

Looking at the old photograph of Ike Mooney as a young Confederate soldier, Lee said, "I knew him with a long, white beard. He would visit pretty often. He lived in town (Lawndale) near where the Baptist church is now, in a big two-story house up on the hill. We lived up the road five or six miles. "He'd come in that buggy," recalls Lee, and times were happy when he was around.

Civil War Reunion

"Oh, he was just always jolly," he said. "He bought my oldest sister, Mary Elizabeth, an organ, and brought music into the house." The musical heritage spread to another sister, Margaret Anne, who attended Brevard College, a brother, George, who took up the violin, and rests now in Lee's son, Stephen, who earned a master's degree in sacred music.

Born in 1842, Ike Mooney fought the Rebel fight during the Civil War. Fortunate to survive--as did his three brothers who also fought--tales of his struggle to get home are family treasures. Captured by Grant's Yankee army, soldiers released after the surrender trudged hundreds of hungry, barefoot miles. They pilfered food and stole fresh milk from cows in the fields. "Our boots and shoes had been gone a long time and we could be tracked at times by blood spots," Mooney would recount to children and grandchildren. Deprived of good home cooking and even the basics of a good diet, Mooney dreamed of eating just what he wanted, and for the rest of his life, insisted on having exactly what he wanted at every meal. On the trek home, comrades had to carry a sick man, the physician who had cared for the fallen on the battlefields, Dr. Griffin Gold. He later became Mooney's brother-in-law.

The original tombstone set after Mooney's death has been replaced. The slender newer marker does not state the years of birth, 1842, and death, 1934, but simply gives his military unit -- Company F, 34th North Carolina Infantry, CSA, as if being a Confederate soldier were the epitome of his life.

A section of a photo from a 1914 Confederate reunion shows a bearded Isaac Mooney, back row center.

This article originally appeared in the October 13, 1997, edition of the The Shelby Star .

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