Eugene and Barbara Parsons recently attended the 119th General Convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in Richmond, VA, where she ended her term, giving her final report for the Tennessee division UDC as president.
During the past year, $223,000 in cash and goods and 37,750 hours were donated to a list of 141 charities. Firewood was given, as well as shoes and tires for families out of work. A horse was donated to a therapeutic riding program and a yard sale was held for tornado victims, raising $1,000, Four pounds of coke tabs were sent to St. Jude Hospital and hair was donated for a cancer wig program. These were among the donations reported at the convention.
The sesquicentennial quilt that 144 women participated in piecing was auctioned for $3,000 to benefit the Tennessee Confederate Monument Restoration Fund. Work was begun on the monument at Paris, Henry County, TN. Donations of $2,800 were given to support the Sons of Confederate Veterans project of replacing cannons in Confederate Park in Memphis that were given for scrap metal during World War II. These replica 1861-'65 cannons cost over $72,000.
A new Jefferson Davis Highway marker was placed as well as a new marker on courthouse grounds. In cooperation with the SCV, they observed the 100th anniversary of General Robert H. Hatton’s monument. A member donated an acre of land for a military park in Savannah. The original keys to Appomattox Courthouse, passed down in a Tennessee family, were loaned for display through the sesquicentennial.
Six unpublished Confederate letters were transcribed and documented and three hundred records of Confederate gravesites were recorded. Members read 1,205 books on Confederate history, donated 93 books to libraries and gave programs in schools. Children wrote 212 essays on Confederate history. Seven division and chapter college scholarships were given, a member donated $10,000 to the University of Memphis and another donated $20,000 to fully fund a Tennessee division UDC college scholarship.
Service records for 713 Confederate soldiers were placed at General Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park. Memorial services were held in cooperation with the Arkansas Division, honoring their men fallen in Wartrace and Tullahoma, with soil from Arkansas placed on the graves of these men. A marker for General Patrick Cleburne was dedicated at the site.
Memorial services were held for three black Confederates with their descendants traveling from as far away as New York City. The chapters had to purchase the markers for these men as the Veterans Administration continues to refuse applications for these servicemen. The Tennessee division continues to lead the way in documenting the service of black Confederates during the War Between the States, locating and marking graves, building the database and again won first place at the general convention for this work. A listing by county of all Tennessee black Confederate pension applicants was included in the Confederate History Compendium of Tennessee book completed in 2010, available at both the Art Circle Library and the Cumberland County County Archives and Family Heritage Center.
Wounded Warrior programs given and money raised to support this project, which the Children of the Confederacy has adopted as their major fundraising project for the sesquicentennial. Korean War veterans were honored at a luncheon. VAVS volunteers at every Veterans Administration Hospital in Tennessee donated 3,413 hours as well as attending funeral services for deceased veterans. A member aged 91, continues to go twice a week to assist veterans at a nursing home.
Newly naturalized citizens were given U.S. flags and lapel pins. Twenty six veteran history project videos were submitted to the Library of Congress. One chapter is working to restore the last Quonset hut in military use. A Christmas party was held for deployed military families and gifts given to all the children.
They stormed the courthouse at Murfreesboro, burned the bridge at Charleston, TN, and the county courthouse at Linden, TN, in a few of the reenactments across the state last year. They look forward to even greater things in the coming year as they fulfill their objectives: benevolent, memorial, educational, historical and patriotic.
After the convention, the Parsons continued to Pax River, MD, and Washington, D.C., to visit with children in that area before returning to Crossville.