Tales from the Cemetery
For the fourth consecutive year Manila fifth and sixth grade students learned about early settlers of the community through the Tales from the Cemetery.
Fifth grade students gathered at the Manila Depot Center Thursday morning to hear the story of early settlers of the Manila area. Featured in this year's event were Mary Ann "Granny" Davis, mother of World War I hero Herman Davis, portrayed by Sherry Bunch; Clarkie Ann Wilsford Bishop, portrayed by Iris Poteet; and Donald Veach, World War II veteran, portrayed by Terry Selby, who served in the same unit years later as Mr. Veach.
Following the live history lesson, fourth grade students visited the Manila Depot Museum getting a look at items from the area donated to the museum by local residents.
Manila Business Women and Depot Committee members served refreshments to the students.
In the afternoon the sixth grade students met at the Herman Davis Monument where "Granny" Davis told about her son and why the Herman Davis monument stands in his memory still today. Herman Davis was born Jan. 3, 1888, to Jeff and Mary Ann Davis. Herman Davis was drafted into the Army on March 4, 1918, and served in the 113th Infantry Regiment. He returned from the war and back to Big Lake where he was raised enjoying hunting and fishing.
Later a list, General John J. Pershing's list, of greatest heroes of World War I came out and Herman Davis was on it. He received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Croix de Guerre with Palm, the Croix de Guerre with Gilt Star, and the French Medalille Militaire. He kept his medals in his tackle box.
In 1922 Davis became ill with tuberculosis from the Mustard Gas used in France. David died Jan. 5, 1923, at the age of 35.
Veterans raised money and even school children had a penny drive to help fund the monument to be placed in his hometown of Manila. In 1925 the Herman Davis Park was dedicated. The body of Herman Davis was moved from the cemetery to the back of the monument. In 1954 Davis was honored by the state when the iron fountain near the entrance of the Old State House in Little Rock was named in his memory.
"Granny" Davis told the children to be proud of being an American.
Students walked from the Herman Davis Monument to the Manila Cemetery where Poteet portraying Clarkie Ann Wilsford Bishop shared some highlights of Bishop's life.
Clarkie Ann Wilsford was born in 1846. She was married to Rufus Riley Bishop, a Civil War veteran. Poteet talked about the Civil War and how the two married in 1865 and had 11 children.
They floated down Little River from Hornersville to Big Lake where they made their home. She talked about the bountiful hunting and fishing they found at Big Lake. She said Mr. Bishop liked to trade with the Indians.
Clarkie Bishop's granddaughter, Patsy Bishop-Vance, was at the cemetery for the presentation. She talked about the family and how they lived during the era. She also talked to the young people about genealogy and searching their family history.
Terry Selby met with students to honor Donald Veach, a World War II veteran. Veach was born March 15, 1921 and died Dec. 18, 1997. He was a member of the 82nd Airborne. Selby said he was proud to represent Mr. Veach as he later was part of the same unit.
On hand for the presentation was Mr. Veach's great-grandson, Oscar Aguilar.
Veach received the Purple Heart, four Bronze Stars, Combat Infantry Badge, Good Conduct Medal, EAME Campaign Ribbon with Bronze Arrowhead, and two overseas bars; and took part in the Invasion "D Day" of Normandy. He was also part of the Operation Market Garden in Holland, Battle of the Bulge and the campaign in Rhineland.
Mr. Veach returned from the war and made his home in the Lost Cane area where he farmed and raised his family.