On finding a Confederate grave in Spencerport with Andre Marquis (BHS ’81, UR ’86) from UC Berkeley

On finding a Confederate grave in Spencerport with Andre Marquis (BHS ’81, UR ’86) from UC Berkeley

[6/15/21 Fairfield Cemetery in Spencerport, NY. Andre Marquis at the Grand Army of the Republic monument dedicated to the Martindale Post, originally unveiled in 1889. Inscription: In memory of the Brave Men who gave their lives for the protection of the Union. Photo: David Kramer see A Small Flag at the Bottom of a Trunk and Confederate soldiers buried in Batavia, Pittsford and Spencerport]

This week Andre Marquis was in town visiting family. A 1981 graduate of Brighton High School, Andre received a BA and MA in Cognitive Science from the University of Rochester in 1986 and an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business in 1996. After a career as a serial entrepreneur starting internet and biotech companies, Andre became the Executive Director of the UC Berkeley Lester Center for Entrepreneurship in 2010 and continues to teach there as a Senior Fellow.

Brighton High School yearbook, Crossroads, 1981 (left) Andre Marquis, senior portrait; (right) Juggling Club This year’s Juggling Club lack the desired involvement, so it’s main goal (besides keeping the balls in the air) was to attract more interest and involvement from the student body. The members did work well together and worked in their best interest with each other. The more experienced members offered pointers and even some of their secrets to the less experienced members; which was always greatly appreciated. [Held at at scanned courtesy of the Brighton Memorial Library] See Filmic evidence shows I “froze” at the 1976 Brighton Little League All Star game and other Brighton memories

Andre and I were intrigued that several Confederate soldiers are interred in Monroe County and Batavia, so we set out to see the grave of DeWitt Clinton Guy in Spencerport’s Fairfield Cemetery. Andre was thrilled to take his first Talker adventure. Absent the usual Bay Area traffic bottlenecks Andre is used to, we reached Spencerport in no time. Our first stop was the Ogden Veterans Memorial Park (1967) across from Fairfield Cemetery. Andre was impressed by the well-manicured Fairfield Cemetery and its neighboring streets, which remind him of Concord, Massachusetts, where he frequently visits. Except in Concord, the gravesites date back to the earliest American war.

(l-r) 5/30/54, Democrat and Chronicle. Last year 1 Flag. This Year 2 Second Confederate Son Honored” By ARCH MERRILL PROPER FLAG Accompanied by Arch Merrill who received Confederate flag from the South, Mrs. Charles A. Hutton of Churchville displays it after placing it on grave of her great-uncle, DeWitt Clinton’ Guy in Fairfield Cemetery, Spencerport ; Dewitt Clinton Guy . . . buried in Spencerport; John H. Thurmon (1843 – 1919), Pittsford Cemetery [Photos: David Kramer 4/23/21 from A Small Flag at the Bottom of a Trunk and Confederate soldiers buried in Batavia, Pittsford and Spencerport]

Of course, Talker needed to take photos for the Rochester war series, especially of the Spanish War Veterans 1898 plaque. I mentioned how the men inscribed on the plaque probably never got anywhere near Cuba for the “Splendid Little War” that was little more than a few skirmishes but was nonetheless widely represented as marking the end of the Civil War since Northern and Southern boys were marching together in battle against the empire of Spain. A fitting prologue for visiting Civil War graves.

6/15/21 The trek included a stop at the Ogden Veterans Memorial Park (1967) across from Fairfield Cemetery. David Kramer at the Spanish War Veterans 1898 plaque. [Photo: Andre Marquis] See On Spanish-American War monuments in Rochester and Mr. Crane’s Vivid Story

As we looked at the markers of many wars, Civil and Spanish American, WWI and II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf Wars, we discussed which soldiers may or may not have died in vain. World War I did not end all wars, as advertised.

6/15/21 Ogden Veterans Memorial Park (1967) World War 1918: Ogden’s Soldier’s of Liberty [Photo: David Kramer see When all was quiet on the western front on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, 1918. ]

We both said stopping Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan was necessary. Andre said of our Asian wars that the two-state outcome in Korea seemed to help at least half of that peninsula’s residents, while the collapse of South Vietnam proved how fruitless and wrongheaded our intervention was. It’s hard to draw simple conclusions on exercising American power abroad.

6/15/21 Fairfield Cemetery in Spencerport, NY, Andre Marquis [Photo: David Kramer]; Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Memorial Day, 1889 OUR DEAD SOLDIERS Tributes to Brave Defenders of the Union. MONUMENTS UNVEILED Impressive Exercises in Spencerport and Seneca Falls. OFFERINGS OF FLOWERS Western New York Honors the Memory of Those Who Fought for the Flag of Their Country — Reports From Many Towns and Villages. See A Small Flag at the Bottom of a Trunk and Confederate soldiers buried in Batavia, Pittsford and Spencerport

We had a photo-op at the nicely refurbished GAR monument as we honored the Union dead, who fought to end slavery. Hearing of Confederate soldiers buried in Batavia, Pittsford, and Spencerport, Andre was surprised to learn that a scattering of Rochestarians still believe in the Lost Cause of the Confederacy. With the help of cemetery maps taken from the internet, we quickly found Guy’s gravesite. In the pre-internet era, we might have had to spend days combing local libraries to find the maps we needed.

6/15/21 (left) David Kramer at Dewitt Clinton Guy’s (1889) grave in Fairfield Cemetery, Spencerport, NY. [Photo: Andre Marquis] Along with the CSA flag and markers is a small plaque labeled Point Lookout P.O.W. , referring to the later months of the war when Guy was held as a prisoner of war at the Union-run Camp Hoffman at Point Lookout, Maryland.  Above the grave is a painting of A.P. Hill’s Rebels sweeping in on Gettysburg where Guy fought [from The Golden Book of the Civil War, American Heritage, 1970]  “A confederate soldier, DeWitt C. Guy,  is buried at Fairfield Cemetery. After the war, he married Martha Flagg of Ogden. They lived in his home state of Virginia [although Guy was born in Lockport, NY] until his death in 1889. Her family had his body disinterred from his grave in Virginia and reburied in Fairfield Cemetery in 1903. In the recent past, Confederate re-enactors have visited Guy’s grave and conducted memorial services.”  “Many from Ogden served in Civil War,” (Westside and Greece News, 2012); (right) Guy’s gravesite is in Section VIII – D – 4 from Records of the Fairfield Cemetery See A Small Flag at the Bottom of a Trunk and Confederate soldiers buried in Batavia, Pittsford and Spencerport

Looking at once grey-clad Dewitt Clinton Guy amid the blue of the G.A.R, Andre noted that “how we cast our heroes and villains is one of the inescapable aspects of the culture wars.” We can cast Guy as the villain and remove the CSA flag and markers. As Andre said, doing so runs another risk. Removing Guy  — and the historical and systemic racism he represents — would further a narrative in which racism happened in the South and not in places like Ogden, who sent so many of its sons to defeat the Confederacy. Andre noted that in Rochester, we like to think that Frederick Douglass found a haven from racism. Still, the city’s history of de facto segregation even included restrictive deed covenants on our own parents’ houses. Rochestarians have reckoning to do.

Andre lives in San Francisco and teaches at UC Berkeley, hotbeds for discussions of the symbolism, naming, and recalling of historical sites like monuments, cemeteries, statues, and schools. For example, the San Francisco School Board had planned to rename a number of its schools to encompass contemporary sensibilities, including [Abraham] Lincoln high school. Many people favored the removal in 2020 of a Ulysses S. Grant statue in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, notwithstanding his role as commander of all the Union armies, because Grant personally owned a slave before the Civil War and oversaw Indian wars as President. Andre has mixed feelings about removing the statue — mostly against — but confronting our racist legacy is necessary. Andre wondered what his San Francisco friends would think of him wandering around an old cemetery searching for an old Rebel who was loyal to Jefferson Davis’s Confederacy to his dying breath.

After a pit stop at the Union Street Coffee House and enjoying our brew in the Clyde W. Carter Memorial Gazebo on the Erie Canal, we drove back into town and visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial of Greater Rochester in Highland Park.

Andre had never been there. The reality facing the generation right before ours hit hard as we passed the bollards of fallen Brighton High School alums.

Brighton High School graduates killed in Vietnam. Bollards on The Walk on Honor at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Highland Park. [Photo: David Kramer, 11/09/18] From Veterans Day in Brighton

[l-r) Bollard # 22 Gary D. Hopps, #68 Robert Waldron Forbush Jr. #238 John P. Lambooy Jr., # 252 Edward Clark Caldwell III. From On the day to remember its fallen, Brightonian Slagana Avramoska Mitris reflects on what Memorial Day means to her.

For Andre, the inscribed timepieces chronicling that painful period brought back images of the Tet Offensive and the anguished LBJ, slumped in a chair, holding his brow. The tail end of the war happened while we were in middle school, so those memories are distant. We talked about how fortunate our generation was to have grown up in relative peacetime; our friend Phil Ghyzel, who was in the Navy, never had to experience combat.

Andre recently rewatched the documentary The Fog of War (2003) on the brilliant Robert McNamara, who, despite his high IQ, badly botched our strategy in Vietnam. That led Andre to remember reading “Groupthink: Psychological Studies of Policy Decisions and Fiascoes” in 1980 while at Brighton High School. It’s a book on how groups of people tend to socially reinforce their existing beliefs instead of seeking out a diverse set of opinions before making complex decisions.  McNamara seems to recognize America’s Groupthink error only after talking to North Vietnamese generals in 2003 and understanding the Vietnamese had nowhere else to go: they couldn’t surrender no matter how many bombs the US dropped.

With the United States pulling out of Afghanistan after an almost 20-year stalemate, it’s clear that we continue to suffer from costly Groupthink errors today. That led to brainstorming on how we could get Americans out of their current social media-driven Groupthink bubbles when reckoning with our country’s history of slavery and discrimination.

Our Talker excursion was a rousing success. As part of Andre’s research into new business models for publishers, he mentioned the success of Bay Area community-based magazines like the Narrative Magazine (published online since 2003) that are filling voids left by the collapse of traditional journalism. Reading and supporting inclusive local journalism is a strong tactic for fighting Groupthink. Always a big thinker himself, Andre proposed that Talker  can be the next Narrative, but only if more people participate. Andre concludes, “Talkers, Join us. Write articles, take photographs, start discussions, repost on social media, offer your technical wizardry, and, yes, please avail yourself of the DONATE button. Act now!”

Andre Marquis and David Kramer. Democrat and Chronicle (left) 10/31/77 Winning concentration Andre Marquis keeps his eye on the board and his mind on the game as ponders his next move at a ‘meeting of the Rochester Chess Club at the Central YMCA; (right) 11/21/80 Dave Kramer of Brighton concentrates on his next move. He lost. Of the Brighton v. Webster matches, Jim Myers writes: “He was slaughtered,” Brighton’s Andre Marquis announced. “He had no chance. He had no attacks at all, and I was still pouring on the pressure.” And there were restrained post-game post mortems. “He made a mistake and gave me a bishop,” said Bernard Gunther, Webster-Thomas’ No. 1 player who beat his Brighton counterpart, Dave Kramer. “But I wasn’t looking too good before that,” Kramer, said. See Wildcats strike out our undermanned Barons

OTHER ARTICLES ON AND BY BRIGHTON HIGH SCHOOL GRADS

At his boyhood home site, Historic Brighton dedicates Marker to Edward Crone, Brighton War Hero and Famous Fictional Protagonist

Brighton High School loses one of its two great sportscasters, Hank Greenwald ’53

Nazareth College’s President Daan Braveman on defining moments and his own March on Washington, August 1963

Five years ago when Michael Raff found his perfect mark. And over 70 years of history at the B’Nai Brith bowling league

Leslie pines for her shrines

On the electoral road with Van White

A poem from former Degrad Jonathan Caws-Elwitt, BHS ’80. And advice to young writers.

Dr. Harold Pollack left Brighton as a conservative and returned a liberal

One of Brighton High School’s Fab Five is back in town

Eric Kemperman, Brighton High School ’81, is back in town and sledding!

Bruce returns from Cambodia with “Umpire State”

Fear and Loathing in DC: Inside Hunter S. Thompson’s Last Book Tour

Local philatelist faults Talker’s Edgerton Park hoopla. Et tu,Tucker?

Getting To Know Svet Radoslavof, Brighton High School ’05; A Groundbreaking Hip Hop Violinist and Influential Figure In Music

From Brighton to LA: Andria Langston, a bright actress sharing her light with the world

Brighton girl taking feminist humor big time

An Eerie Quiet at Nazareth College, Part Two, by Ian Richard Schaefer

Brighton fans celebrate hometown hero Ernie Clement in victory

About The Author

dkramer3@naz.edu

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, and the CITY.  My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.

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