DAR, UDC lead parade, award ceremonies

Published 1:29 am Saturday, July 9, 2016

With this week beginning with historical observances it seems appropriate to consider some of the activities of local heritage organization who held commemorative celebrations. Also it is significant to emphasize the role such play in genealogical research. Considerable documentation of lineage all the way to one’s ancestor in the American Revolution for Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) membership and to one’s ancestor who rendered service in the Confederate States of America for becoming a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC). In addition, men have parallel organizations, SAR and SCV.

On Monday, July 4, 2016, a special parade was sponsored by the local Old Three-Notch Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, which was chartered in 1957 in Andalusia with Mrs. R.H. Cobb as first regent. There appears to be increased interest in the colorful parade. The route, which begins in the First Baptist Church parking lot extends to the parking lot of City Hall, passes in front of a grand display of American Flags in front of the First Baptist Church, City Hall and the First Methodist Church. Also there are flags displayed in front of selected businesses, which is a project of the Andalusia Civitan Club. The parade is planned to be short with the realization that many families have traditional holiday activities planned and are unable to attend.

The Fourth of July parade was begun in 2014 by the DAR chapter in cooperation with the City of Andalusia. Chapter Regent Brenda Gouge spearheaded the project, which proved to be well received by the local citizens. The entries in the parade are “neighborhood driven” with anticipation of children, pets, families and anyone interested in expressing patriotism and appreciation of our American heritage. (There was excellent coverage in pictures of many of the entries in the Tuesday, July 5 edition of the Andalusia Star-News.)

A significant entry each year is that of the Grand Marshal who is selected by the DAR chapter members. In the first parade in 1914 this honor was given to Jean Jones who had been chapter regent for several years. In 1915, Ann (Hair) McGlaun was designated posthumously. Ann’s ancestors were instrumental in organizing the chapter, and her mother, Sara (Waits) Hair and grandmother Nannie Belle Waits Garrett, were both chapter regents. For the 2016 parade Margie Thomasson was selected to be Grand Marshal. Margie’s membership in DAR was trough her ancestor, Major George Anderson of Anderson, Laurens County, S.C.

A second notable parade entry is the DAR’s honored Distinguished Citizen Award recipient. This recognition was begun in 2015 with the chapter selecting John Givhan, retired attorney and veteran of Vietnam War, for his patriotic and community service. For the 2016 year, J. Fletcher Jones, retired attorney, veteran of WW II and former Alabama State Representative (1958-1966), was given the honor. Jones is also a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and a Lifetime Member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

The DAR has long been recognized for its promotion and preservation of American heritage and good citizenship. For many years they have presented a Good Citizenship Award to a senior from each of the six high schools in the county. This is done at a special tea served by the members of the chapter. In addition, beginning this year of 2016 they have chosen to participate in a new national DAR program to award medals to 49 area students. These are a group composed of one student from each of grades five through eleven at each of the schools in the county. This was done in an assembly of those students and their parents or guardians with members of the DAR.

Another heritage event occurring on the Fourth of July in 2016 was a social meeting for the local Thomas Randolph Thomasson Chapter 2471 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Immediate Past President Tammie Evans and her husband, Denis Evans, hosted a cookout for the chapter and friends at their home on Riverview Road near Gantt Lake. The Evans’ daughters, Brandi and Mallory, who are both members of the local UDC Chapter, assisted their parents. Brandi is the current President of the Chapter.

The traditional meal of grilled meats, barbeque, baked beans, broccoli salad, potato salad, chips, and sandwich makings made an enjoyable feast. Then an abundance of desserts including cheese cake, pound cake, fresh apple cake, caramel layer cake, strawberry shortcake, blueberry delight and cream pie were delectable.

In addition to the enjoyable food and fellowship, a brief, but very significant program was staged by officers of the UDC. The primary purpose was to present the Jefferson Davis Historical Gold Medal Award. Tammie Evans, District Director, presided and was assisted by Immediate Past Alabama Division President Donna Clark of Elba. The award, which includes a medal and certificate is the highest non-linkage one presented by the Organization to a member or non-member.

UDC District Director Evans read the following ritual: “The Jefferson Davis Historical Gold Medal is awarded by the Daughters of the Confederacy for excellence in history, essay writing, declamation and other points of special attainment in keeping with the historical aims and purposes of the Organization.

The medal design was adopted at the Annual General Convention in Los Angeles, Cal., in 1941 as presented by Mrs. John L. Heiss, Historian General, and her committee composed of Division Historians. The concept of this award was presented by Mrs. Robert P. Sweeney of Atlanta, Ga. The medal is designed with a red enamel Maltese Cross in the center, bearing the UDC monogram surrounded by a circular band of white enamel. Etched above the cross is Jefferson Davis’ famous clarion command at Buena Vista, “Stand Fast,” and below the cross is the phrase of no less important meaning to those with Confederate ancestors, “Our Heritage.” The Medal is encircled with a hero’s wreath of laurel leaves in gold.”

The representatives of the UDC acknowledged the recipient of this prestigious award as Brandi Leigh Evans, current president of the local chapter. The certificate reads “Jefferson Davis Historical Gold Medal Certificate given to: Brandi Leigh Evans by: the Thomas Randolph Thomasson Chapter 2471, Alabama Division, United Daughter of the Confederacy for: furthering the preservation of Confederate history by writing numerous essays on topics which include “General Phillip Roddy,” “Wade Hampton’s Legion,” “Mountain Creek Confederate Park, “ “Traits of a Southern Lady,” “Sallie Cargill Jones and the Alabama Division UDC,” “Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan’s Escape from Ohio Prison,” and “Women Soldiers,” presented: This 4th day of July, 2016.”

The DAR and UDC chapters hold regular meetings and are always seeking ladies who are eligible to submit application with documentation of lineage for respective membership. They promote preservation of history, encourage youth and good citizenship and render many services to the community.

Anyone who might have a question relative to these organizations or this narrative is encouraged to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: cthomasson@centurytel.net.