Sons of Confederate Veterans mark burials at University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


The Pine Bluff Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans recently placed 14 monuments and markers in two historic cemeteries on the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff campus.

Evelyn Wright approached a member of the SCV, Edgar Colvin, and requested help marking some of her relatives’ graves and restoring the old historic Wright Cemetery located on the UAPB campus.  It was later learned that 37 individuals were moved to the Jane Oliver Cemetery in 1998 to make way for the Golden Lions Stadium. The cemetery was named for a black woman who acquired the Wright’s farm after the Civil War. According to Adam Robinson of Robinson Funeral Home of Pine Bluff, who supervised the relocation of these graves, they held the remains of children and adults that died in the late 1800s to the early 1900s. Since these graves remained unmarked, the SCV decided to place a monument and four corner markers to mark their location. 

After contacting Dr. Lawrence Davis of UAPB and discussing the matter with him, Dr. Davis agreed that it was important to memorialize these historic sites.  Dr. Davis also stated it is important to remember our history and tragic mistakes so as not to repeat them in the future. 

Five monuments and four markers were placed in the Wright Cemetery that according to Evelyn Wright of Pine Bluff, who has done extensive genealogical research on the Wright family, was established with the death of Dr. Joseph J. Wright in 1854. The cemetery was located on the family farm that was patented in 1842 when Joseph Wright and his wife Elizabeth Tucker, who was born in North Carolina, settled in Jefferson County. The family home was located at the present day intersection of University Avenue and Jane Oliver Drive.  This location was also used as an encampment during the Civil War by Texas soldiers.

The SCV members raised the fallen marker of Dr. Joseph Wright, the early settler, and placed a monument to his wife Elizabeth Tucker.  She was born on June 18, 1811, and died August 5, 1865.  The group also placed monuments to mark the graves of Dr. Wright’s sons who served in the Confederate army during the Civil War. The sons were Lt. Joseph W. Wright and Pvt. Hartwell T. Wright who survived the war and lived until  the 1890s. A monument was placed to mark the grave of Mary R. Toney, wife of Hartwell Wright, who was born February 6, 1847, and died May 26, 1883.  Information on the markers also lists names of three other Wright children, but Ms. Wright is not certain if they are buried in the Wright Cemetery. 

The monuments were procured and some engraved by Edgar Colvin, a long-time historic preservationist from Pine Bluff. Colvin has placed monuments not only in Arkansas but also in Louisiana, Texas, Missouri and Mississippi.  He has been instrumental in the development of the Marks’ Mills Battlefield area near the Marks Cemetery and park at New Edinburg.