Young Black Reb
The 21-foot high granite obelisk, stands in a residential area on Academy Street, E.
Canton, MS in front of a cemetery. It was built in the 1890s with funds provided by William Hill Howcott.. The inscription includes these words: “A tribute to my faithful servant and friend, Willis Howcott, a colored boy of rare loyalty and faithfulness, whose memory I cherish with deep gratitude.”
Harley Howcott reports that his Great-grandfather, W.H. Howcott, was only 15 years old when he joined Harvey's Scouts in 1864. Willis, his childhood playmate and friend, was only 13 but would not be dissuaded from being at his side. Willis was, tragically, killed in combat sometime in 1865 at the age of 14. The monument was erected by his friend years after the war, after he had left Mississippi for New Orleans and made his fortune. The memory of the loss of his close friend never left him. That W.H. Howcott returned 31 years after Willis' death to erect a 21 foot tall monument to their friendship speaks volumes.