United Daughters of the Confederacy

The first United Daughters of the Confederacy chapter in Arkansas—and the second west of the Mississippi River—was Pat Cleburne Chapter 31, chartered on March 7, 1896, in Hope (Hempstead County). As with all Arkansas chapters, the objectives remain the same: historical, educational, benevolent, memorial, and patriotic. Mrs. C. A. Forney was the chapter’s first president. Arkansas has chapters in eighteen towns, encompassing 600 members in 2005. On January 21, 1952, the Arkansas UDC was incorporated as a non-profit organization.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy was the outgrowth of consolidating benevolent organizations and auxiliaries of United Confederate Veterans Camps, which were formed after the Civil War. On September 10, 1894, Anna Davenport Raines of Georgia and Caroline Meriwether Goodlet of Tennessee met in Nashville, Tennessee, to draw together these groups under the name the National Association of the Daughters of the Confederacy, with Goodlet as president. At a second meeting in 1895, the name was changed to the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and Mrs. John C. Brown became the first president-general of the modern organization.

An ongoing activity of the organization is the placing of monuments at historic sites, such as Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC and the site of the Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee. The 1913 Jefferson Davis Highway Project was another major accomplishment. It mapped a series of roads that linked Civil War sites from Washington DC to San Diego, California. After the states involved designated which roads were to be used, the United Daughters of the Confederacy began placing markers and their state trees and beautifying the route.

Another function of the United Daughters of the Confederacy is the preservation of public reminders of the Civil War era. Recently, the Arkansas UDC has been active in restoring monuments and signs erected in the past. During the latter part of the twentieth century, the Arkansas UDC restored the Little Rock (Pulaski County) Confederate Veterans Home sign, the Capital Guards Monument at MacArthur Museum, and the Arkadelphia Confederate Monument.

Women may join the United Daughters of the Confederacy if they can prove blood relationship to someone who honorably served the Confederacy. It requires records such as birth or death certificates, marriage licenses, or census records that lead back to the ancestor.

The organization maintains the purposes it began with: honoring the memory of Confederate patriots; collecting and preserving Confederate memorabilia to ensure a truthful history of the war; assisting descendants of the Confederacy with education; and helping those who served, their descendants, and all U.S. military veterans.

For additional information:
Poppenheim, Mary B. The History of the United Daughters of the Confederacy 1894–1955. Raleigh, NC: Edwards & Broughton Printing Co., 1956.

United Daughters of the Confederacy, Mildred Lee Chapter No. 98, Records and Memorabilia, 1897–1990. Special Collections. University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Wanda Dean
United Daughters of the Confederacy

Last Updated: 12/29/2017