About Us

A Brief History Tennessee Division

United Daughters of the Confederacy ®

The United Daughters of the Confederacy is the oldest Southern heritage and patriotic organization. It is made up of the lineal and collateral female descendants of the soldiers, sailors and statesmen of the Confederate States of America. Originally established in 1894 as a service organization to aid Confederate soldiers and their families, the UDC expanded its role to include educational, historical, memorial, benevolent and patriotic responsibilities.
​
 ​There were many ladies organizations across the South with similar patriotic purposes, working to benefit the returned Confederate soldiers and their families. Gradually these auxiliaries began to operate as “Daughters of the Confederacy.” Correspondence between Mrs. Caroline Meriwether Goodlett of Nashville and Mrs. L.H. Raines of Savannah GA resulted in a called meeting of representatives of these different societies throughout the South to meet in Nashville on September 10, 1894, and the general organization was founded. A year later the name was changed to “United Daughters of the Confederacy.”

​ The first chapter in the organization also was the first chapter in Tennessee. Nashville #1 chartered September 20, 1884. Others came along across the state in 1895 and Tennessee became the third Division in the organization.  The first chapters composing the Tennessee Division were: Nashville #1, Musidora C. McCorry #5 in Jackson, Clark #13 in Gallatin Gallatin , Franklin #14, South Pittsburg #15 and Zollicoffer-Fulton #16 in Fayetteville.  Mrs. Caroline Meriwther Goodlett was elected the first Division President.

 The first convention was held in the rooms of Frank Cheatham Bivouac in Nashville TN on January 21, 1897.  At that time there were ten chapters in the Division.  At that convention, Mrs Goodlett reported that the Tennessee Chapters had raised more money for the South’s Memorial Institute than any three states in the South. At the fourth Division Convention the motion was made and carried that Mrs. Caroline Meriwether Goodlett be given the honor of Honorary President. 

​ The Division helped raise the funds to provide the monuments on Monument Avenue in Richmond, the monument at Shiloh, and monuments at other battlefields throughout the South by raising money with bake sales, socials and other fundraisers.  Recognizing the need for education, they helped to build Confederate Memorial Hall on the campus of George Peabody College in Nashville, now part of Vanderbilt.  This was a dormitory where Confederate descendants could live free of charge while they studied to be a teacher.  In return, they spent two years teaching in a rural southern school. A few years ago Vanderbilt officials wanted to change the name of this building to remove the word “Confederate.” Like our ancestors before us, we rallied together to oppose the name change and we can proudly say we won the (court) battle and the name remains.

​ Today, the Tennessee Division is made up of Chapters who strive to honor the era of the Confederacy (1861-65) by providing scholarships for students who are descendants of Confederate servicemen, holding memorial services at burial sites of soldiers, participating in historical and educational programs and working in VA hospitals to show respect and gratitude for those who continue to serve our country.