Heritage, Volume 14, Number 3, Summer 1996 Page: 7
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United Daughters of the
Confederacy...A BRIEF HISTORY
At a meeting in Nashville, Tennessee,
102 years ago, groups of Confederate
women from all the Southern states decided
to unite into an organization devoted
to service and to honoring and
preserving the legacy of the men who
gave their time, and too frequently, their
fortunes and lives, for their beloved
Southland. Groups of mothers, sisters,
wives, and children of Confederate veterans
banded together to become the
United Daughters of the Confederacy
and chose as their motto, "Dare, Love,
Pray, Think, Live". Their purpose was to
work for the common goal of service to
Confederate Veterans and their families,
education for their children, teaching
the true history of the South, and preserving
their Confederate heritage.
The group had its start with the women
of Missouri with the organization of
"Daughters of the Confederacy" in 1890,
the name taken from that conferred on
the daughter of Jefferson Davis, Varina
(Winnie) Davis, in Georgia. Texas was
the first state to ask permission to use the
name. The spirit of "lending a helping
hand" to the veterans of the War was a
vital force in the reconstruction of the
Southern states. Aid to the disabled and
impoverished men and care of the orphan
children and needy wives and mothers
became the noblest objectives of these
groups of ladies.
After the 1894 meeting in Nashville,
where there had been only independent
chapters, there soon were state divisions
of the national organization, formed to
represent each state's group of chapters.
Texas Division UDC was organized in
Victoria on May 5, 1896, electing Mrs.
Katie Cabell Currie of Dallas Chapter #6
(chapter numbers signify their order of
chartering in the national organization)
as its first president. National membership
is now in excess of 22,000 direct
descendants, some of whom are "Real
Daughters", signifying that their fathers
were Confederate soldiers. Current Texas
Division membership is 88 chapters (the
largest division) and 3,000 members, including
Real Daughters, Granddaugh
ters, Great Granddaughters, and GreatGreat
Granddaughters of the soldiers.
Around the turn of the century, artifacts
of the war and of life in the South were
being collected. In 1903, through the generosity
of Confederate veterans Colonel
N.L. Norton, S.W. Lacey, and W. H.
Westphall, the UDC was given space in
the State Capitol building to open the
Texas Confederate Museum. The Museum
remained in the Capitol location until
1913, when space was required for the state
government. The Museum then moved to
the Old General Land Office Building on
the Capitol Grounds, continuing to collect
and display the artifacts of the period until
that building was reclaimed by the State in
1989. The collection is now in storage
awaiting a new home.
Albert Sidney Johnston Chapter #105,
Austin was founded in 1897 for the benevolent
project of helping veterans in the
Men's Confederate Home. Later the chapter
was instrumental in the purchase by the
Texas Division UDC of land in Austin to
build a home for wives and widows of
Confederate veterans. Although deeded to
the State in 1913, the building continued
to house Confederate widows, providing
small but comfortable private rooms, and
dining and sitting rooms. In 1916, a hospital
and annex were added to the structure,
accommodating as many as 90 ladies. The
only three widows remaining in the early
1960s were moved to a nursing home. The
original structure sees use today as headquarters
to Austin service groups.
UDC members continue to promote
the preservation and publication of the
history of the Confederacy and its people,
to display personal belongings and other
artifacts of the soldiers and their families,
to provide financial assistance for deserving
students, and to encourage active, educated
citizenship in the tradition of the
valiant soldiers of the Confederate States
of America and their families.
Submitted by Edith Fletcher Williams, president
of the Albert Sidney Johnston Chapter
105, Austin, and past president of the Texas
HERITAGE * SUMMER 1996 7
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 14, Number 3, Summer 1996, periodical, Summer 1996; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45405/m1/7/: accessed December 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.