Washington column for Feb. 7

Daughters (and students) of the Confederacy

According to Mrs. Robert E. Howard, president of Culpeper Chapter #73 of the Daughters of the Confederacy, the chapter was organized in July 1896 with 40 ladies from Culpeper and Rappahannock counties. The members met once a month and worked to replace rotting Confederate grave markers with proper markers that showed the soldiers’ names and the companies  they served with.

Joyce Wharton’s RCES fifth-grade history students participated in the Daughters of the Confederacy essay contest, including winners (from left) Christy Smoot, Kayla Compton, Bevan Forrest and Lauren Petty, who are posing here with Mrs. Robert E. Howard, president of the Culpeper Chapter (center), and Wharton (far left). Courtesy photo.
Joyce Wharton’s RCES fifth-grade history students participated in the Daughters of the Confederacy essay contest, including winners (from left) Christy Smoot, Kayla Compton, Bevan Forrest and Lauren Petty, who are posing here with Mrs. Robert E. Howard, president of the Culpeper Chapter (center), and Wharton (far left). Courtesy photo.

These women cared for disabled veterans and their families by raising money, taking food to the homes, finding shelter for those in need and lobbying the state and local governments for funds to be provided to the veteran soldiers and displaced blacks who needed assistance. They kept very detailed minutes of the meetings that can be used today to gather historical details.

The ladies celebrated the first Robert E. Lee Day in 1897, in honor of the Confederate military leader’s birthday. They held their events at the old theater and churches in Culpeper and gave their first Essay Award to a student in 1900; back then, the prize was 50 cents. In the years after, the event was held in the school and the entire community attended. The awards’ growth was helped by donations from local merchants and families.

The United Daughters also have a youth group, Children of the Confederacy, an organization for boys and girls. Members of the Culpeper chapter, the Little Fork Rangers, elect their own president, vice-president and other officers, hold fundraisers, attend memorial events and visit museums to learn about the local history; they even have their own annual convention.

A piece of local history is the “Remington” chapter, organized in 1900 in Washington. Those ladies worked hard to ensure the monument was placed at the Rappahannock County courthouse honoring the veterans that served their community.

The tradition continues for kids from Rappahannock County Elementary School, where Joyce Wharton’s fifth-grade history students recently participated in the Daughters’ essay contest. Students were challenged to write a two-page paper with footnotes and illustrations on the “Colorful J.E.B. Stuart.” The awards ceremony was held Jan. 21 at Culpeper Methodist Church.

The RCES winners included first-place honoree Bevan Forrest, who received $50; second-place finisher Kayla Compton, who received $35; and third-place winners Lauren Petty and Christy Smoot, who both received $25.

Wharton and her assistant Katherine Todd were both able to attend the ceremony and are very proud of their students. This project required many hours of work and responsibility.

Mardi Gras night

Whether you’re headed to the Theatre for the Dixieland Direct Jazz Band or just looking for a fun evening, stop by Tula’s Off Main this Saturday (Feb. 9) for game time starting at 6 p.m. Bring your own games or try one of theirs; you can even challenge their team to Trivial Pursuit or Scattergories. Tula’s is also serving a Mardi Gras-inspired menu for the day, including gumbo, muffaletta and king cake cupcakes. Stop in before the theatre show and show them your ticket to receive Mardi Gras beads or a mask. There’s a 15-percent discount for the evening (beer and wine not included). For more information, call 540-675-2223.

WVFR breakfast

The Washington Volunteer Fire and Rescue holds its next all-you-can-eat breakfast from 7 to 11 on Feb. 16 at the fire station. Extend your Valentine’s Day celebration and bring your sweetheart out for breakfast. All proceeds are used to fund daily operations. For more information, call 540-675-3615.

Lenten services

Annual community Lenten services at Washington Baptist Church start Feb. 20 and continue Wednesday evenings through March 20. Each service begins with a potluck dinner at 6 p.m., followed by the program in the church sanctuary at 7; child care services are provided free. This year’s theme is: “Finding Him in the Hymns,” with the following ecumenical schedule: Feb. 20, speaker Rev. Jennings Hobson III, music by Washington Baptist Church; Feb. 27, speaker Rev. Phil Bailey, music by Trinity Episcopal; March 6, speaker Rev. Sara Keeling, music by Methodist Charge; March 13, speaker Rev. John Heddleston, music by Reynolds Memorial Baptist; March 20, speaker Father Christopher Murphy, music by St. Peter Catholic Church.

All are welcome, and you may bring an item for the Food Pantry each night; there is a silent auction each Wednesday night during the dinner hour for the benefit of the Rappahannock Benevolent Fund. The joint Lenten services have been held in the town of Washington for 41 years. For more information, call the Washington Baptist Church at 540-675-3336.

Birthday wishes

Birthday wishes from many of Washington’s citizens go out to Rock Smoot of Washington, who celebrates his day today (Feb. 7), Frank Moffett, who is celebrating his special day tomorrow (Feb. 8) and Tamara LeAnn Estes, who celebrates her birthday Monday (Feb. 11). Her mother wishes her a happy birthday – she loves you very much!

Anniversary wishes

Anniversary wishes go out to my daughter and son-in-law, Christie and Matt Ralls. They celebrated their special day on Monday, Feb. 4.