Answering the Call to Be United in Service

First Florida Chapter

The Florida Division had its beginning in Jacksonville with the Chapter that was known later as Martha Reid Chapter.
This first Florida Chapter was chartered as Jacksonville Chapter No. 19 by the General Organization UDC while assembled in its Second General Convention in Atlanta on November 7, 1895. Mrs. Clarence Maxwell of Jacksonville made the trip to Atlanta to pick up the new Chapter's charter. In January 1897, the Chapter's name was changed to Martha Reid Chapter No. 19 to honor the memory of Mrs. Mary Martha Reid, the beloved matron of Florida Hospital, a wartime hospital established in Richmond by Dr. Thomas M. Palmer and other Floridians. Mrs. Reid nursed Florida soldiers throughout the War Between the States and in the conflict, lost her only surviving son in the Battle of the Wilderness.

The origin of this first Florida Chapter goes back two years before the founding of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in Nashville. All 32 charter members of Jacksonville Chapter No. 19 were former members of the Confederate Home Association, a women's group which was founded in 1892 to establish a home for "aged and disabled" Confederate soldiers and sailors. When the call came from Nashville, stating that all Southern women in Confederate memorial and auxiliary societies should "have one name and wear one badge," the Confederate Home Association made an application for a charter. It was disbanded, and UDC Chapter No. 19 was chartered in November 1895.

First Division Convention

Florida now had its first Chapter, but to form a Division, a state needed to have three or more Chapters. Members of Jacksonville Chapter, under leader­ship of their first president, Mrs. Theodore Hartridge, through correspondence with Mrs. Anna Davenport Raines, of Savannah, and through other contacts within the state, exerted their influence towards the founding of UDC Chapters in other Florida cities. So successful were their efforts, within a few months, five Chapters were chartered and ready to answer the call, sent out by Mrs. Hartridge, for a meeting to organize a Florida Division.

This historic meeting, destined to be known as the First Annual Convention of the Florida Division UDC, was held in the Board of Trade Building in Jacksonville on July 14, 1896. Most of the members of Jacksonville Chapter No. 19 attended. The five charter Chapters of the new division were:

  • Jacksonville (Martha Reid) Chapter No. 19
  • Lake City (Stonewall) Chapter No. 47
  • Ocala (J.J. Dickison) Chapter No. 56
  • Brooksville Chapter No. 71
  • Palatka (Patton Anderson) Chapter No. 76

Today, 125 years later, the Florida Division is still united in carrying out the objects of the Organization - Historical, Educational, Benevolent, Memorial, and Patriotic.





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