Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart died young, at age 31, being mortally wounded in May 1864 near Richmond while serving as a Confederate cavalry commander.
But the memory of the Civil War hero hailing from Ararat, Virginia, continues to be honored, including at a birthday party planned in Mount Airy this coming Saturday.
A birthday observance for Stuart, who was born on Feb. 6, 1833 at a site known as Laurel Hill just across the North Carolina line, has been held for at least 10 years, says Tom Bishop of the sponsoring J.E.B. Stuart Birthplace Preservation Trust.
The party originally took place in Stuart, the Patrick County town named for the Civil War figure, but was relocated to Mount Airy after an antique mall in the Virginia town closed.
Saturday will mark the fourth year for Mount Airy to host the event, which is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Mill Creek General Store at 541 Pine St.
Everyone is welcome to the party, which will feature live music by The Lone Ivy String Band from Patrick County along with free cake and lemonade.
Members of the board of directors of the J.E.B. Stuart Birthplace Preservation Trust — which oversees the Laurel Hill site and stages events there including a Civil War encampment and re-enactment in the fall — will attend the party and meet the public.
Bishop added Tuesday that Confederate heritage group members from Surry County also might be there along with other local history enthusiasts.
“In the winter months, it’s a good event to get people out and talk about history,” Bishop has said of the party.
While its venue has crossed state lines from the earlier location in Gen. Stuart’s home county, the birthplace trust spokesman considers Mount Airy a natural fit for the event.
During Stuart’s lifetime, the bonds were tight between this community and his family due to its close proximity to Laurel Hill.
In addition to other attractions Saturday, J.E.B. Stuart-themed merchandise will be on sale such as books, T-shirts, commemorative mugs and hats.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.