Group to honor Civil War soldier

Clinton Albert Cilley was a popular Yankee in post-Civil War western North Carolina.

War brought Cilley to the state in the latter half of the 19th century as a member of the Union army.

A series of brave acts secured his residency as a southerner and a place in the history of Catawba and Caldwell counties.

"Col. Cilley was an interesting fellow," said great-great-grandson John Cilley IV, currently a Newton attorney. "He was stationed in the Happy Valley part of Caldwell County after the war, made friends with the folks there and married a local girl named Emma Harper. Once he was accepted into a southern family and had the Harper family's good seal of approval, he became a permanent resident."

Cilley, a member of Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery during the Civil War. SAR will honor his accomplishments with a grave-marking ceremony at Oakwood Cemetery in Hickory at 10 a.m. April 21.

To read more of this story, pick up the Thursday edition of Catawba County's community newspaper, The Observer News Enterprise, at newsstands throughout the county.