WORKS TO PRESERVE TRUE HISTORY, IDEALS AND GLORIES OF THE “OLD SOUTH”
By Mrs. Henry Rugeley.
The Capt. E. S. Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy was organized in Bay City Texas in February, 1902 , with 47 members. Mrs. H. L. Rugeley, the moving spirit in its organization, was elected the first president of the chapter. A short time later Mrs. Rugeley was elected Life President and she served in this capacity until 21 years later, the time of her death. The other original officers of the chapter elected at the time of its founding were Mrs. W. C. Carpenter, secretary and Mrs. Henry Rugeley, treasurer. Other presidents of the chapter during its 35 years of life are: Mrs. C. M. Amos, Mrs. Kate Moore, Mrs. Ocie Fullingim, Mrs. Henry Rugeley and Miss Florence Bouldin.
The name, Captain E. S. Rugeley Chapter, was given the organization in honor of Captain Rugeley, who served as commanding officer of the Matagorda company of the Confederate Army during the War Between the States.
In 1913 the chapter erected a monument, now standing on the court house yard in Bay City, to the memory of all the Confederate soldiers from Matagorda County. This monument was unveiled on Jan. 19, by two granddaughters of Confederate soldiers: Mary Rugeley and Larry Phillips.
In 1930 the E. S. Rugeley Chapter also erected a white marble marker in the cemetery at Matagorda, to the memory of the thirty-two [twenty-two] young soldiers of the Captain E. S. Rugeley Company. These young men were drowned and frozen in the blizzard which came up on Matagorda Bay as they were attempting to cross the bay to attack the Union forces encamped on Matagorda Island, and therefore prevent an attack being made on the town of Matagorda.
Throughout its life the Capt. E. S. Rugeley Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy has worked faithfully to teach the younger generation the true history and glory of the South. Each year the chapter has given programs at the schools in Bay City on the birthdays of Generals Lee and Jackson and in memory of Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederacy. Books on Southern history and pictures of Southern heroes have been presented to the schools by the chapter. It was through the interest and efforts of the chapter yhat the Bay City Public School was named in honor of Jefferson Davis. On Southern Decoration Day, April 26 of each year, the chapter holds memorial services and decorate the graves of all Confederate veterans and their wives in the Bay City cemetery. The chapter has marked all the known graves of Confederate soldiers in Bay City, Matagorda, Ashby and other places in the county with bronze crosses.
Through its interest and influence, the chapter has helped a number of Confederate veterans to enter the Confederate Home in Austin. The chapter's interest in and affection for these old soldiers does not end with their entrance to the home. They are remembered at Christmas and other times throughout the years with gifts and greetings.
The chapter has been faithful in its interest to regard for the Confederate veterans through the town and county. Entertainment had been given in their honor and financial aid rendered them in time of stress and need. No Christmas has been allowed to pass without gifts and greetings from the chapter to these men who served the South so loyally.
In matters of importance in the work of both the state and national organization of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Captain E. S. Rugeley Chapter has always played a prominent part. The chapter has contributed yearly to the Confederate homes for veterans and women, in Austin. Also the chapter makes a contribution each year toward the maintenance of the Confederate Museums in both Austin, Texas and Richmond, Virginia
The chapter contributes to the Scholarship Fund of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and to the Randolph Relief Fund, which helps to take care of the widows of Confederate veterans. The chapter also contributed to the memorial fund for the purchase of Stratford Hall, the original home of the Lee family in America, in which Robert E. Lee was born. These are only a few examples of the many works of town, county, state and national scope in which the E. S. Rugeley Chapter has played a part. The state organization has honored our chapter during the past year by appointing one of its members to fill a state chairmanship and another member to place to a place on a state committee. Our chapter has sent delegates to many Confederate reunions and to both state and national conventions of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Throughout its long life, the Captain E. S. Rugeley Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy has taken an active and earnest part in the teaching and preservation of the TRUE history of the South and its participation in the War Between the States. No attempt nor desire has ever been made nor felt by the chapter, collectively or individually to keep alive enmity between the different sections of our country, but an ever increasing effort has been put forth to give to the younger generations of the South an honest, reverent, and proud realization and appreciation of their glorious heritage.
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