OKLAHOMA’S CONFEDERATE HOME (1911 – 1942)
The United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1906 began a temporary establishment in McAlester, Oklahoma, to house indigent veterans, their wives and their widows, but this was only temporary. Action toward the construction of a permanent building began on Feb. 20, 1909, when eight Confederate veterans met in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to form a private corporation, The Confederate Veterans Home Association of Oklahoma. The group was granted a charter by the Oklahoma Secretary of State. On March 20, 1909, the group met and directed by William Cross, the Oklahoma commander of the United Confederated Veterans, and became the first board of trustees of the Oklahoma Confederate Home. The board met on June 30, 1909, and selected a committee to examine several proposed sites. Vinita, Claremore, Muskogee, Oklahoma City, Sulphur, and Ardmore all made propositions for the home but the spokesmen for Ardmore proposed forty acres of land in two different locations, $7,500.00 cash and free water, gas, and electricity for five years. After careful investigation, the committee selected Ardmore as the most suitable site. On August 3, 1909, the board met and appointed D.M. Hailey, R.A. Sneed and J.R. Pulliam to choose several building sites offered by Ardmore. The three men accepted a twenty-three and three-fifths acre plot from Mrs. Lutie Hailey Walcott of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The Walcott addition was one-quarter mile south of Ardmore city limits. Although Ardmore gave the home free water for twenty years, the promise of cash, free gas and free electricity was never carried out. The Oklahoma Confederate Home at Ardmore was established by the state legislature under House Bill No. 41 (By Gilmer, Maxey and Casteel, of the House, and Allen, an act of the Senate).The bills were passed and signed on Feb. 14, 1910, by C.N. Haskell, the governor of Oklahoma. On June 24, 1910, Ardmore Masons laid the corner stone, and the actual construction of the first building began. On March 6, 1911, the deed was registered, and the governor appointed the following board of trustees for the Oklahoma Confederate Home: D.M. Hailey, John Threadgill, George H. Bruce, J.W. Blanton and R.A. Sneed, all Confederate Veterans. The veteran’s home officially opened in July of 1911. The home was officially known as the Oklahoma Confederate Home, for Indigent & Disabled Confederate Soldiers & Sailors, Their Wives & Widows. There were eight (stipulations governing admissions to the home as listed:
1. Residence in the state of Oklahoma for two years prior to the date of application.
2. Honorable service in the army or navy of the Confederate States.
3. Physical inability to support self or family.
4. Wife or widow of any soldier or sailor of the Confederate States.
5. A full Muster and Description List, certified to under oath by applicant, identified and endorsed by two comrades. No person of unsound mind shall be admitted.
6. Certificate of judge or county clerk, that he believes applicant to be worthy of admission and that if admitted, the county clerk will furnish transportation to the Home.
7. In counties where there is a camp of United Confederate Veterans, approved by the Commander and Adjutant of such a camp and an order for admission signed by the President or Vice-President.
8. Applicant must obligate himself to perform such duties as policing the grounds, caring for the lawns, beautifying the home, and such other duties as the Superintendent or his assistant may direct.
The old veterans that came to live in the home were later listed in Oklahoma state documents as “Inmates of the Confederate Home at Ardmore.” Thirty-one men were initially listed. But the number later grew and included veterans, wives and widows. By the act of the Oklahoma Legislature, the state agreed to maintain the home for twenty-five years or as long as there were eligible people in need of care. One year after its opening, an additional $16,500 was asked of the Oklahoma Legislature to build and equip an annex capable of housing twenty additional residents. In 1914 the South Building Annex was built. In 1918 the North Building Annex was built. By 1922 The Oklahoma Confederate Home plant consisted of the main building, a hospital, and an annex for twenty additional residents, three barns, a powerhouse and several smaller wooden structures. The main building was of gray brick, 133 by 84 feet. Two large porches were supported by four ionic pillars. In 1922 licensed nurses staffed it around the clock, the home physician always on call. The total appraised value of the home in 1922 was $161,000.00; this figure did not include the land, livestock, farm tools, touring car or farm truck. After the old Confederate veterans started to pass away, other veterans (Spanish American War, World War I and II) were allowed to live at the home. Today, the facility is still used by the state and is known as the Ardmore Veterans Center. It is the only known former Confederate Home building still in existence. Click below to read the Second biennial report of the Confederate Home of Oklahoma at Ardmore, 1913-1914. A roster of the “inmates” and the unit of their service in the Confederate Army is also listed.
Be sure to click the first image to see the panorama of the home. Information courtesy: Several sources including the above brochure, Rick Wallace, and files from The Warren Collection. Images of the Oklahoma Confederate Home, courtesy: Oklahoma Historical Society, United Daughters of the Confederacy, and the Warren Collection, Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs.
The new website is coming along. One thing I’m not 100% satisfied with right now is the Search Engine box. There is a trick to finding something on my website. When you enter something in the search box, if there are 2 or more words, put them with quotation marks. Example: “dog catcher”. If you enter those two words with quotation marks, you will find only one newsletter out of 26 year’s worth is displayed in the results. Its issue 1,291 on October 21, 2021.
July 1, 1903 Dog Catcher’s Report: Jim Staples, the dog catcher, reports that the 13 days the dog law has been in effect he impounded 71 dogs. 9 were redeemed by the owners and 62 were killed.
If you don’t remember who Jim Staples is, he’s the guy who plowed a dirt row west from the railroad track and created the starting point for the city of Ardmore’s Main Street.
This Week’s Emails
I took this picture this morning, May 4th, on our deck. I keep dog food out for the foxes until the snow disappears. It is forecasted to snow another 8 inches over the next ten days. -Monroe in Big Sky, Montana
`That’s all for now, see everyone next Thursday.
Butch and Jill Bridges
236 Timber Road