Byline: Kevin Turner
CALLAHAN -- Two West Nassau County groups exploring members' Confederate backgrounds are growing by leaps and bounds, members say.
The Lt. Edward Johnston, CSN, Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp No. 745 was founded in 2003. It's named for a Confederate sailor from Fernandina whose remains were returned from New England in 2002 to be reburied in Bosque Bello Cemetery -- 139 years after he died in a prisoner-of-war camp in Massachusetts.
Sons of Confederate Veterans members are male descendents of any veteran who served honorably in the Confederate armed forces during the Civil War. The organization was started in 1896, in Richmond, Va., the former capital of the Confederate States of America.
Jim Lear, commander of the Nassau County SCV camp, said attendance at the group's monthly meetings in Callahan is steadily increasing.
"We average over 50 people at a meeting. We've had as many as 80," Lear said.
The companion group, Order of the Confederate Rose, is open to all, said Janice Sain, treasurer of the Nassau County chapter named for Rebecca Higginbotham Jones. Jones' husband, Lt. John David Jones, a Confederate cavalry soldier, was killed in Nassau County near Roses Bluff in 1863, Sain said.
Lear said part of the group's mission is to preserve the stories from an important era in American history, and history is always a major point of discussion at group meetings, Sain said.
"Some of us are just discussing it. That's what I like about the group. They aren't all just genealogists. Some are doing it for their family and some are doing it just to dress up. …