About the Department, Yesterday and Today
Nebraska is a mid-west plains state. Historically, it was the first state to join the Union after the Civil War, becoming the 37th star in the flag in 1867. Settlement greatly increased in the early 1870s. Many Civil War veterans came, took up homesteads and helped establish towns. Thus the state has quite a few memorials to the Civil War soldier.
Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War 1861-1865 (DUV) was originally Daughters of Veterans (DV). It was organized and incorporated in 1885, and is believed to be one of the earliest of women’s patriotic direct-lineage societies.
In 1890 Nebraska was one of five states (called Departments) with DV Tents (the local units are called Tents) organized in time to attend the first National Convention. The decade of the 1890s saw many Tents throughout the state. However, the early 1900s seems to have brought different times.
In 1919 the Nebraska Department received a new Charter and in 1920 held its first Department Convention. Many Tent members in the early days were “real daughters” and their fathers sometimes came to meetings with them. Department Conventions were held side by side with GAR Department Encampments, and the Father & Daughter Banquet was one of the memorable features.
From the first the Daughters were interested in promoting patriotism, service in the Soldiers & Sailors Homes, preserving history, keeping the Memorial of Memorial Day, as well as many other activities. For many years a second-floor room at Arbor Lodge, the home of J. Sterling Morton who founded Arbor Day, in Nebraska City, Nebraska, displayed Civil War artifacts. The artifacts to a large extent were contributed by the Nebraska Department.
In 1978 a History was published by the Nebraska Department Bicentennial Committee. This was a short history of the Department and the Tents of the Department, and National as well. The members of the Bicentennial Committee were Cleo Schmidt of Tent No. 29 and Hattie Heible of Tent No. 27.
The Department and Tents continue in many ways to be interested in the community, preserving history and promoting patriotism. They support the National DUV and contribute to causes such as scholarships, Service Academies, wreaths at Memorials, Gallaudet University, and the National DUV Museum in Springfield, Illinois.
The Department, through the Tents, is involved in volunteer work in the three Veterans Administration Medical Centers and the four State-owned Veterans Homes in Nebraska. Memorial Day is observed as a day to remember the old soldiers. In recent years DUV ladies in white have taken part in the dedications of Civil War Medal of Honor monuments at six veteran’s graves in the state.
The old GAR Hall in Nebraska City has been fitted out as a Museum. This building, on the National Register of Historical Buildings, holds some of the old artifacts from Arbor Lodge. An on-going project of some years, the Department DUV has helped support it.
The DUV looks forward to cooperating with the Camps of the Department of Nebraska, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.
If your town or group has a unique historical event relating to the Civil War, please consider inviting the DUV.