I was looking for some information on the UDC and was disappointed that the national and state UDC website had no extensive history and the founders of this American treasure. Through our history the south has always given disapportionetly more in honor and blood than the rest of the country from before and since the Civil War.
In an edition of the Encyclopedia Americana, the United Daughters of the Confederacy is described as “A social, literary, historical, monumental and benevolent association, composed of the wives, mothers, sisters and lineal descendants of men who rendered honorable service in the Army and Navy of the Confederate States, or who served in the civil service of Confederacy, or of any of the states embraces therein, or who gave personal service to the Confederate cause.”
The United Daughters of the Confederacy was organized at Nashville, Tennessee, September 10, 1894, and on July 18, 1919, it was incorporated in the District of Columbia. Just a little over one year from the founding of the UDC in September, 1894, a chapter was organized in Florida.
Tennessee has the distinction of being the state in which the United Daughters of the Confederacy was organized. It is therefore necessary in writing a history of the Tennessee division, to give a brief sketch of the general organization, its conception, its personnel, and wonderful growth.
All over the south, in 1861-1865, relief societies were formed by the women of the Confederacy for the purpose of caring for sick and disabled Confederate soldiers. There seems to be no special date marking the beginning of this loving service, which will cease only when the last soldier has answered the last roll call. Then will his descendants, to the third and fourth generations, find the now splendidly organized band of Southern women “Carry on” in the historical and educational work of the South that they may know “The Story of the Glory and the Glory of the Story of the Men who wore the Grey.”
Of these relief societies in Tennessee we find that the earliest had as its leader, Mrs. Felicia Grundy Porter, of Nashville. Following this was the Monumental Association, the Ladies’ auxiliary to the Confederate Soldiers’ home, Southern Mothers, and the Ladies’ Memorial Association, which is still an active organization caring for the graves of the Confederate dead wherever located.
Mrs. Caroline Meriwether Goodlett was the first to conceive the idea of consolidating the work of all the Confederate women and called a meeting Nashville, September 10, 1894, for the purpose of organization.
To this call Georgia, Tennessee and Texas responded, and the name “National Daughter of the Confederacy” was adopted, and the following constitution was drafted:
CONSTITUTION OF THE NATIONAL DAUGHTERS OF THE CONFEDERACy
(Organized September 10, 1894)
A distinguished lawyer says; “The interpretation of the duties of a President is to protect the Constitution under every and all circumstances, When changes are to be made, it must be by the voice of this body alone, and no one, whether President or otherwise, has the power to take from or add to it.
Section 1. The survivors of Confederate soldiers and sailors in the United States of America, as are now or shall hereafter be organized into local associations or bodies concurring, are hereby united and embraced in one general organization, and the form for the union of such components shall be that of a federation of subordinate bodies.
Section 2. The name or title of the federation shall be National Association of Daughters of the Confederacy.
The first Florida chapter was the Martha Reid in Jacksonville and its president, Mrs. Edwin G. Weed, was the wife of Bishop E.G. Weed, Head of the Episcopal Church in Florida.
The next three chapters organized were the Stonewall Jackson, Lake City chartered April 14, 1896; Dickinson, Ocala, Chartered April 24, 1896 and Brooksville at Brooksville (no date given) a little later. As three chapters were all that were needed to form a division, Mrs. Edwin G. Weed of the mother chapter, Marta Reid, on July 14, 1896, issued a call for the first convention to be held in Jacksonville July 14, 1896.
Chapters having representation at this first convention of the UDC in Florida were: Martha Reid, Jacksonville; Stonewall Jackson, Lake City; Booksville, Brooksvill; Dickinson, Ocala; and Palatka of Palatka. It seems that the Palatka organization sent representatives, although it did not receive its charter until July 27, 1896, something like ten days after the convention met.