Senator LeRoy Percy was born to Col. William Alexander Percy and Nannie I. Armstrong on November 9, 1860. Percy was a lawyer before serving as United States Senator representing Mississippi from 1910-1913. He later served as Mississippi State Senator when another Senator died suddenly and Percy was chosen to fill his spot. The first State Park in Mississippi was named in his honor. After his death on December 24, 1929 his son William Alexander Percy commissioned sculptor Malvina Hoffman to create a bronze memorial in his honor.
Arguably the most recognizable memorial in the Greenville Cemetery is The Patriot honoring LeRoy Percy. Commissioned by Percy’s son, author and poet William Alexander Percy, the statue known as The Patriot is “a life size bronze figure of a knight in armor against a wall of marble,” as described by Harry Ball in his personal diaries. The statue was made by Mrs. Malvina Hoffman, “a noted sculptor of New York,” after William Percy’s own suggestions. The inscription on the back of the marble wall lists LeRoy Percy’s name, birth and death dates along with this inscription:
They out talked thee hissed thee tore thee
Better men fared thus before thee
Fired their ringing shot and passed
Hotly charged–and sank at last
Charge once more then and be dumb
Let the victors when they come
When the forts of folly fall
Find thy body by the wall
Colonel William Alexander Percy was born May 10, 1834 in Alabama. Percy served in various regiments in the Civil War, and organized a cavalry in Washington County known as the “Swamp Rangers.” Following the war Percy practiced law in Washington County and was known as the “Grey Eagle of the Delta” for his leadership during reconstruction. Percy served as State Representative in the Mississippi Congress and was elected Speaker of the House in 1878. Husband to Nannie I. Armstrong and father to LeRoy Percy, Fannie Percy, William Percy, John Walker Percy, and Lady Percy, Colonel W.A. Percy died January 19, 1888.
Harriet Byron McAllister was born in Greensborough, Georgia on April 17, 1798. She came to the Delta as the bride of Colonel William Whitaker Blanton after their marriage on March 26, 1818. Their home was known as Blantonia Plantation. After Colonel Blanton’s death in 1838 Harriet married Dr. Samuel Theobald on June 27, 1841. Following the burning of Greenville by Federal Troops during the Civil War, Harriet Theobald donated a portion of Blantonia Plantation to rebuild the town, earning her the nickname “Mother of Greenville.” She died in Greenville on January 23, 1888.
Richard A. O’Hea was born on December 9, 1821. An immigrant from Ireland, O’Hea enlisted in the Confederate Army as an engineer in 1862 and was promoted to 1st Lieutenant on April 30, 1864. After the war O’Hea, a civil engineer, was hired by Mrs. Harriet Blanton Theobald to aid in designing Greenville. He also designed the new Greenville Cemetery after the old cemetery was filled by the Yellow Fever Epidemic in 1878. O’Hea died on April 2, 1891 and is buried near the gates of the cemetery he designed.