- What has happened to Christmas?
- The merchants and media now call it a holiday. People
stand in line at malls after Thanksgiving, then rush through the doors
to buy, buy, buy.
- Is this Christmas? Partly, but this story is about the
true meaning of Christmas.
- In 1919 the people of Atlanta, Georgia were like we are
today. The Christmas season was a special time for family, friends and
children. Folks went to church and gave thanks to God for their many blessings.
- There were, however, some who were not as fortunate!
- The aging veterans in the Confederate Soldiers home,
were proud men who have braved many a battle in the 1860s. One of these
men was former Captain Thomas Yopp who saw battle in such places as Fredericksburg
where a cannon shell burst knocked him unconscious.
- The man who stayed with him until he recovered was his
slave who had also joined the 14th Georgia Regiment Company H. Bill Yopp
was more then a slave; he and Thomas Yopp were friends who hunted and fished
- Bill Yopp, a Black Confederate, was sympathetic to the
men at Atlanta's soldiers home who had been his compatriots in arms over
50 years ago.
- In the War Between the States of 1861-1865, Bill Yopp
was nicknamed "Ten Cent Bill" because of the money he made for
shining shoes. He did this for the soldiers at a dime a shine and ended
up with more money than most of his comrades. He was also cared for when
- During the Christmas Season of 1919, Bill wanted to pay
back the kindness shown to him. He caught a train to Macon, where he was
offered help by Mr. Anderson of the Macon Telegraph newspaper. He then
caught a train to Savannah to raise Christmas money for the old veterans.
- Just weeks before the Christmas of 1919, he had raised
the money and Georgia's Governor Hugh Dorsey helped him distribute envelopes
of three dollars to each veteran. That was a lot of money in those days.
- The old Confederates were speechless. Tears were shed
because of Bill Yopp's good heart and kind deed. Many of these men had
little or nothing. Bill was invited to come into the home's Chapel and
say a few words.
- His old master, Thomas Yopp, was near death. Later, Bill
was asked to speak at his funeral. Bill spoke of Thomas Yopp's kindness
- Bill Yopp was later given a medal of appreciation for
his support of the old soldiers and later was voted in as a resident of
the Confederate Soldier's home.
- He died on June 3, 1936. It was said that he was headed
for the pauper's grave, but the old soldiers raised such a ruckus that
he is buried with them at the Confederate Cemetery in Marietta, Georgia.
- Christmas is about love, forgiveness, old friends, family
and the child who became a Savior. Merry Christmas!
- The source of information of this story came from a book,
entitled: Bill Yopp "Ten Cent Bill" A NARRATIVE of a SLAVE! This
book was written in 1969 by Charles W. Hampton.