Genealogical Society guest will speak on Civil War pets


"Pets in the Civil War" will be the topic of the next membership meeting of Sumter County Genealogical Society. Camden resident Joseph A. Matheson Jr. will address members and the public beginning at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Swan Lake Presbyterian Church, 912 Haynsworth St.

Matheson will discuss the history of dogs serving in the military "since the beginning of our republic." Dogs of the Civil War include Abraham Lincoln's Fido, the 4th Texas Infantry's "Candy" and "a regiment of dogs belonging to the 30th Massachusetts Infantry." However, he will also present information on other animals that served as mascots.

Matheson's presentation will include the 8th Wisconsin's famous eagle, Old Abe, the 3rd Tennessee Infantry's Jake the Rooster and Gen. George Meade's horse, Old Baldy, and several others. Other non-canine pets in the war include Robert E. Lee's chicken, Nellie, and Douglas the Camel of the 43rd Mississippi Infantry.

A graduate of the University of Richmond, Matheson has been a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans since 1989, the newsletter editor of the Joseph B. Kershaw Camp No. 82, SCV, Camden, for 25 years and a member of the Hampton Legion Infantry of South Carolina for 12 years.

He has also been a member of the 2nd SC Infantry of England for 10 years and is a member of the Confederate States Allied Command - Europe (CSA-E).

Sumter County Genealogical Society meets monthly from September through May. Visitors are welcome and encouraged to attend. Admission is free to the public, and refreshments will be served after the presentation.

Interested persons can join the society. Membership includes nine monthly newsletters during the year and free use of the Sumter County Genealogical Society Research Center. Annual dues are $30 for an individual membership and $35 for family. Call the Society's Research Center for more information at (803) 774-3901.