Alabama Charter Chapter UDC members dedicate Iron Cross grave

Published 11:00 am Friday, November 10, 2023

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Members of Alabama Charter Chapter No. 36 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy traveled from Camden to Buffington Cemetery in Castleberry to dedicate an Iron Cross grave marker at the grave of Jerry P. Mathews, 1831 – 1917, great grandfather of Chapter President Gerry Seales Burford on Thursday, Oct. 19.

They were joined at the cemetery by descendants Sally Seales Steele and Martha Wolff McKenzie  and friends Earl and Tim Calloway.   

The Confederate Iron Cross grave marker is patterned after the design of the Southern Cross of Honor, a commemorative medal established in 1899 by the UDC to honor Confederate veterans.

On one side is the Confederate battle flag surrounded by a wreath and the letters CSA. On the other side are the dates 1861 and 1865 and the words DEO VINDICE, which is Latin for “Vindicated by God.”

Mathews was a Private in Company H, Alabama Infantry during the War Between the States.

The Alabama Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (ALUDC) was founded on March 26, 1896, by Sallie Jones of Camden, Wilcox County. The seven chapters that initially made up the Alabama Division were the Alabama Charter Chapter No. 36, the Selma Chapter No. 53, the Admiral Semmes Charter No. 57 in Auburn, the R.E. Rhodes Chapter No. 64 in Tuscaloosa, the Cradle of the Confederacy Chapter No. 94 and the Sophie Bibb Chapter No. 65 in Montgomery, and the Pelham Chapter No. 67 in Birmingham.

Its purpose, like that of the national organization, was to commemorate the Confederate States of America and its soldiers who served in the Civil War.

The National Association of the Daughters of the Confederacy was founded in September 1894 by Caroline Meriwether Goodlett in Nashville, Tennessee, and one year later the name was changed to the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC).

The Alabama chapters met in Montgomery’s City Hall on April 8 and 9, 1897, for their first organizational state convention. The secretary general of the UDC came from Atlanta to help assist chapter presidents with organizing and with the election of officers.

The national United Daughters of the Confederacy has 19,714 members in 705 chapters and awards approximately 40 scholarships a year.

Membership is limited to direct female descendants and collateral descendants, such as those descended from an aunt or uncle, of men and women who honorably served the Confederacy or aided its cause, with authenticated proof, who are at least 16 years old. Lineal descendants of former members also are eligible.