Arkansas Society, United States Daughters of 1812
The Arkansas State Society, United States Daughters of 1812 (often abbreviated as USD 1812) is affiliated with the National Society, United States Daughters of 1812. It is a non-profit, non-political women’s service organization for descendants of patriots who aided the American cause during the War of 1812.
The national organization was founded on January 8, 1892, marking the seventy-seventh anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans, which began on January 8, 1815. The American victory in the clash at New Orleans was the last major battle of the War of 1812.
With a motto of “Liberty, Fraternity, and Unity,” the National Society USD 1812 is headquartered in Washington DC. In the organization’s forty-three state societies, there are more than 6,000 members in 184 individual chapters.
The Arkansas State Society, USD 1812 held its first meeting in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on April 4, 1906. Arkansas’s first individual chapter, the Nicholas Headington Chapter, based in Little Rock, was organized on October 24, 1906.
In their work, members of Arkansas USD 1812 reflect the goals of the national society. The group is dedicated to patriotism, marking historic spots, preserving documents and relics, and providing education to help increase knowledge of the history of the American people, especially the period between 1784 and 1815—the close of the American Revolution to the end of the War of 1812.
The Arkansas Society has a long history of supporting the military. During World War I, the ladies of USD 1812 served sandwiches to troops, worked for the Red Cross, and volunteered in other capacities to assist the war effort. This commitment has continued to the present day, with Arkansas USD 1812 supporting current active-duty military, Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) and ROTC cadets, and donating thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours each year for veterans.
Historical preservation efforts by the group in Arkansas began in 1912 with the unveiling of a memorial stone located at the Old State House in Little Rock. It honors General James Miller (1776–1851), hero of the Battle of Lundy’s Lane in 1814 and the first territorial governor of Arkansas, serving in that position from 1819 to 1824. His memorial was the first of many erected by the Arkansas society to honor veterans of the War of 1812.
Locating the gravesites of veterans buried in Arkansas who fought in the War of 1812 has been one of highest priorities of the society. In lieu of cash payment, the U.S. government allotted 6,000 land grants in Arkansas to War of 1812 veterans. Although some did not claim the land, many did and lived their lives in Arkansas.
The first thirty-four veterans to be located through their gravesites were recognized on the War of 1812 Memorial Fountain erected in 1917 near the southeast corner of the Arkansas State Capitol grounds in Little Rock. The women of Arkansas USD 1812 held fundraising events, including planting, picking, and selling cotton, to erect one what has been called one of the finest War of 1812 memorials in the country. In 2019, two zinc plaques were added to the monument, bringing the total to about 700 War of 1812 veterans’ names on the fountain, the largest listing of names of those who fought in that war to be recognized on a memorial.
Arkansas USD 1812, along with other heritage societies, worked for the preservation of the Old State House in Little Rock, helping to prevent the building from being destroyed.
By 2021, Arkansas USD 1812 had four chapters around the state. In chronological order from the date of their founding, they are the Simon Bradford Chapter in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), Baseline-Meridian in Little Rock, Thomas H. Flippin Chapter in Bella Vista (Benton County), and President George Washington Chapter in Texarkana (Miller County). Two members of Arkansas USD 1812 have served as national president of the society.
Veterans of the War of 1812 who are buried in Arkansas include notable individuals such as U.S. Congressman Henry W. Conway (1793–1827), buried at Scull Cemetery at Arkansas Post (Arkansas County), and Governor Archibald Yell (1797–1847), buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Fayetteville (Washington County), as well as U.S. Senator Chester Ashley (1791–1848), Gov. William S. Fulton (1795–1844), Gov. George Izard (1776–1828), and William E. Woodruff (1795–1885), who founded the Arkansas Gazette, all of whom are buried at Mount Holly Cemetery in Little Rock.
For additional information:
Arkansas State Society of the National Society, United States Daughters of 1812. http://usdaughters1812.org/sites/arkansas/ (accessed August 19, 2021).
Arkansas War of 1812 Veterans Buried in Arkansas. https://www.findagrave.com/virtual-cemetery/435878?page=1#sr-27452953 (accessed August 19, 2021).
Baseline-Meridian Chapter, National Society, United States Daughters of 1812 https://usdaughters1812.org/sites/baseline-meridian/ (accessed August 19, 2021).
Garland County Historical Society
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