Susan Landon Vaughan

My Great Aunt, Susan Hutchinson Adams, as listed in the family bible, is more famously known as Susan Landon Vaughan, the founder of Decoration Day. There is a monument on the State Capitol grounds of Mississippi with the inscription: "Sue Landon Vaughan, the Founder of Decoration Day, April 26, 1876". The monument sits about 60 feet high with a life-sized statue of a Confederate soldier atop it.

Susan was born in St. Charles, MO, 12 Oct 1835. Educated at the Fulton Synodical College in Missouri, receiving the degree, Mistress of LHD. She lived at the home of her uncle, Sen. Robert H. Adams of Mississippi and was a teacher. During the Civil War, she was a Confederate nurse, Rebel spy and land blockade runner. She carried medical supplies from St. Louis to Vicksburg in a carpet bag on the boats that operated on the Mississippi River. Posing as a missionary, she entered Union lines innumerable times, supposedly to minister to the needs of the troops. She jotted in her mind all the military information she could obtain.

After the soldiers return, she declared, "Garland the graves of our fallen braves," and wrote an Appeal to the Daughters of Southland to do this. Decoration Day was consecrated on April 26, 1865. When "The Lady with the Roses" wandered the groves of the cemetery, she noticed barren graves. She was told that these were Northern. She replied, "I will garland them with pink roses for the mothers and sisters sobbed prayers as they marched away."

Civil War Flags

Inside the monument is the inscription:

It reeks not where their bodies lie
By bloody hillside, plains or cave;
Their names are bright on famous skies,
Their deeds of valor live forever.

Decoration Day
Originated in Jackson, Mississippi,
April 26, 1865
By Sue Landon Vaughn

Memorial Day of the North was first observed May 30, 1868.


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