The Georgia Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy played host to its 118th annual convention in Marietta this year. Daughters from all over the state flocked to the city to plan for the coming year, and to honor many of the historic sites across Marietta.
To be admitted as a daughter, one needs to prove direct lineage to a Confederate soldier, said Carole Jordan, a 25-year member of the Kennesaw Chapter UDC 241.
Daughters strive to uphold five pillars of the UDC: historical, educational, benevolent, memorial and patriotic objectives, said Jane Durdon, a past president of the state division and a former president of the national organization.
Friday’s memorial service paid homage to Mattie Harris Lyon, who was born in 1850 on the Noonday Plantation, about 10 miles north of Marietta, off of Canton Highway.
Lyon, one of the charter members of the Kennesaw chapter of the UDC, led a march of schoolchildren through the Confederate Cemetery to clean up the graves and was named an honorary president of the UDC, said Durdon.
Lyon is buried next to her husband, Merritt R. Lyon, who was a Confederate soldier.
The daughters placed a Confederate flag on her grave to rededicate the marker since it had been a long time since it was first dedicated, said Janice Thurmond, a Marietta resident and member of the Phillips Legion 2300 chapter, which meets in Smyrna.
An Iron Cross was also dedicated on the grave of her husband, and a basket of white carnations was placed in front of the statue of Mattie Lyon, which sits beside her grave.
“She was such an important part of the UDC and the cemetery,” Durdon said.
The state members of the UDC donated $5,000 to the Marietta City Confederate Cemetery Foundation this year. The donation will be put toward buying a new statue of a Confederate soldier for the cemetery, said Betty Hunter, the foundation’s president.
The members traditionally wear all white, with white gloves and hats, because white is the state’s traditional color, said Sandi Driskill, the Georgia state historian. Each state has its own color, but members of the Georgia division can wear other colors if they choose, she said.
A red ribbon was draped across Driskill’s chest, where more than 20 thin, gold bands were pinned. Each band read the name of one of Driskill’s ancestors who had fought for the Confederacy, said the Albany resident.
Many of the women wore similar pins, proudly bearing the names of their ancestors.
There are currently more than 2,100 members of the Georgia division, and about 20,000 in the national organization, said Durdon.
The annual convention began Thursday at the Hilton Marietta Hotel and Conference Center and will run through today.