Delta Kappa Epsilon - University of Alabama

Winter 2015 Newsletter

Psi Chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon at the University of Alabama

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Page 10 of 11

Sighs of Psi 11 After some brief sightseeing to get our bearings, we headed for our accom- modations at Shin Pond Village. Within minutes of our arrival at Shin Pond Village, all of the effort of traveling across the country to northern Maine had paid off. I found myself holding in my hand the Holy Grail of all DKE artifacts: Edwin Rogers' original DKE pin, which he was wearing on his uniform on that fateful day of June 7, 1864, when he was mortally wounded at Cold Harbor in Virginia (see photos). Edwin's pin! The same pin that was spotted on the dying Edwin's uniform by our as-yet still unidentified Confederate hero, our Unknown Psi. The same pin- "The emblem of a Brotherhood that bound them soul to soul" in Minot's words- that was removed from Edwin's uniform at his death, and thence traveled from Virginia, probably to somewhere in Alabama, having been safeguarded by a Southern Deke soldier from June 7, 1864, until some time around 1873, when it found its way back to Edwin's family home in Patten. The same pin that perhaps provoked a Southern father to finally track down Dr. Rogers in Maine, to provide some closure to his Northern counterpart. The same pin around which John Clair Minot had constructed a legendary poem over thirty years later. The same pin that has been read about by countless numbers of Dekes in the 117 years since the June 1897 edition of the Deke Quarterly introduced the DKE Nation to "Brothers in DKE." Edwin's DKE pin! It should look quite familiar to any of us who have ever worn one, although it is about 50% larger than the one issued to me in the spring of 1979. Other than that, the similarities are remarkable. The modern goldsmiths who produce these pins now can claim little or no advantage to their counterparts of the 1860's. Actually, Edwin's earlier pin is even more ornate than the modern pin. The familiar "diamond, stars and scroll" are very similar in each, but the detail around the edges is far more intricate and elaborate in the older pin. However, the face of Edwin's pin does indeed look somewhat "battered," to use Minot's words, as though… well, as though it had seen several months of hard military service and combat. The reverse of Edwin's pin, as expected, is engraved "E. S. Rogers," above which is engraved the Greek letter "theta," surrounded by starbursts. The "stick" on the back of the pin, which would've attached the pin to Edwin's uniform, is missing, apparently having broken off some time after the pin was removed from the dying Edwin's uniform on June 7, 1864. Locating Edwin's pin, and having the privilege of holding it, examining it, and photographing it, was of course the greatest moment to date in our quest to find the truth behind the story told in "Brothers in DKE," and by far the most enjoyable and rewarding experience I have had in several years of serving as Psi Alumni Historian. It is hard to imagine this experi- ence ever being surpassed. However, our visit to Edwin's hometown was only beginning. We had things to do, places to go and people to meet. And we still had not identified The Unknown Psi. To be continued in the next Sighs of Psi…. I would like to thank the following people for their assistance in the research and preparation of this article: Robert E. L. Krick and Jason Spellman of Richmond National Battlefield Park; Anthony Douin and David Cheever of the Maine State Archives; Alice Sheppard, Tom Shirley, Caroline Woodward, Johnny Moore, Frank Rogers, Edwin A. Rogers, Jean Tillson, Darrell Nieberding, Grant Burnyeat, Mark Medley, Black Chaffe, Lee Hurley, John Nielsen, John McNeil, the staff at Shin Pond Village, and, last but not least, my wife, Catherine, and our four children (and traveling research assistants): Tim, Eliza, Brandon and Lauren. I also need to give a shout-out to my long-deceased Deke grandfather, H. Mortimer Favrot, Tau Lambda Tulane 1915, himself somewhat of a Deke historian, having authored a history of the Tau Lambda DKE chapter on the commemoration of the 50 th anniversary of its founding in 1948, 12 and who has thus been an inspiration to me in this ongoing effort. In the Bonds, T. Semmes Favrot '82 New Orleans, La. Alumni Historian FROM THE HISTORIAN 12 My thanks also to Brother Rick Blum, Tau Lambda Tulane '78, for apprising me of the existence of my grandfather's history of the Tau Lambda chapter, which had inexplicably escaped my notice until Brother Blum brought it to my attention in 2012. The author (center) with Frank Rogers (left, president of the Lumbermen's Museum) and Edwin A. Rogers (right), both great-great-nephews of Edwin S. Rogers. Brandon Favrot and Eliza Favrot fly the DKE flag at the grave of Edwin S. Rogers in Patten, Maine. TRIVIA QUESTION Q: What do the University of Alabama and Edwin Rogers' hometown of Patten, Maine, have in common, other than the subject matter of this article? A: Patten, Maine, is the hometown of former Crimson Tide head football coach Harold "Red" Drew, who coached Alabama from 1947-1954.

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