Memorials to Margie Bearss

"Matriarch of Mississippi History"


Sid Champion V and I would like to thank all of you who wrote notes of sympathy and sent donations to the Champion Heritage Foundation in memory of Margie. Your thoughtfulness would have made Margie so happy since helping to preserve the Champion’s portion of the Champion Hill battlefield was the focus of her work during the final years of her life.

Ed Bearss, accompanied by Jim and Rebecca Drake, visited Champion Hill during the Christmas holidays 2006. While at Champion Hill he visited the grounds of Sid and Matilda Champion’s house (circa 1866) -- the proposed site for the memorial stone to be unveiled in Margie’s memory on May 5, 2007.

The money will be well spent. In fact, Sid and I already have three projects in the making. We are planning a Remembering Margie Bearss Day to be held on Saturday, May 5, 2007. The highlight of the event will be the unveiling of a memorial stone in memory of Margie. We have chosen the stone and it will be a massive 4’ x 4’ gray granite boulder. The front of the raw cut stone will be smooth with an inscription which reads, “In Memory of Margie Riddle Bearss, Oct. 22, 1925 - Oct. 7, 2006, Author, Historian, Friend of Champion Hill." The stone will be placed on the grounds of the Champion House near the crepe myrtle tree where the book signings were held in 2005 and 2006. Margie’s youngest daughter, Jenny Bearss, will plant blooming forsythias beside the stone so in future years the stone will be flanked by yellow blossoms. Ed hopes to be present for the dedication if his schedule allows.

Also, that day I will dedicate the third book Margie and I have written together, Collected Stories of the Vicksburg Campaign. Margie and I began the book a short time before her death. With my husband’s help, I have finished the book and it will be dedicated in Margie’s memory. We have decided to print this final book as a hardback with a white dust jacket displaying the colorful Stars and Bars, the flag which flew over Mississippi from 1861-1863. All proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to battlefield preservation.

Finally, Sid and I plan to use a portion of the money to place a historic marker on the site of the Champion’s first house which was burned by the Yankees in July 1863. Matilda Champion later deeded the land to the black community and it is now the property of Champion Hill Baptist Church. If we are successful in the effort to produce a marker, it will be the first of its kind on the Champion Hill battlefield. Tours will be provided.

We hope you will join us for the 2007 dedication event. Visit the website for future information regarding the time and date.

Thank you for your generous contributions in memory of Margie. In my eyes, she was truly the Matriarch of Mississippi History.

Rebecca Blackwell Drake


Memorials may be sent to:

Champion Heritage Trust
Rebecca Drake
PO Box 336
Raymond, MS. 39154

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