The name for this chapter
of the OCR
Mary Amarinthia Yates was born in Charleston, in 1819, and
educated for some years in Philadelphia, where the family temporarily resided.
Later she was a pupil at the Barhamville School, near Columbia, South Carolina.
A beautiful, intelligent and popular woman, she refused many suitors before her
marriage in 1857 to William Snowden, M.D., a member of an old South Carolina
family. Her two children are Yates Snowden, LL.D., Professor of History and
Political Science at the University of South Carolina, and a daughter, known
affectionately to many generations of students of the Confederate College as
Mrs. Snowden's first public work was in connection with her
brother, the Rev. William B. Yates, and his "School Ship Lodebar," a
mission for seamen.
In 1854 she organized the Calhoun Monument Association, which
after long years of work was able to erect a fitting memorial to South
Carolina's great statesman on Marion Square, in Charleston. Of this association
the then Miss Yates was elected treasurer. Having continued to hold this office,
the perils of the War Between the States found her still the custodian of this
fund, so that when Mrs. Snowden, with her sister and children, after the
evacuation of Charleston, took refuge in Columbia, these bonds, to the amount of
over $39,000.00, were carried there with their other valuables.
The actual war work of Mrs. Snowden was of the greatest
importance. The Red Cross was yet to be born, but the same work was done by
various women's societies with excellent organization and co-operation. Mrs.
Snowden was one of the founding officers of at least one
Through their efforts was the Confederate army clothed, and in large measure
fed. Mrs. Snowden was a leader in this work, as well as in nursing. She
organized bazaars for the raising of money, and had a special permit to import
wines and such hospital supplies.
One trip she made to Warrenton, Virginia, ten miles from
Manassas, during the second battle of that name, to bear comforts to the
wounded, both housed and in the open field; here, lying out on Academy Hill, she
found one hundred and eighty wounded South Carolinians, who were helped by her
ministrations. After the burning of Columbia, she received special permission,
to care for Confederate prisoners in the South Carolina College, for which
purpose she added supplies received from the Federal troops to the pitifully
meager, but heartfelt gifts of the women who crowded Columbia.
After the surrender of the Southern forces, she traveled from
battlefield to battlefield, arranging for the bringing home of the dead. By then
widowed, and with property greatly depreciated, she set herself to the problem
of living and the care of her children.
But loyalty to her country's heroes still inspired her, and
in 1866 she organized the Ladies Memorial Association, which has since cared for
the graves of the Confederate dead in Magnolia Cemetery
Her next project was arranging for 84 SC men killed at
Gettysburg to be brought home for burial in Magnolia Cemetery in 1871. She
traveled to Gettysburg herself to locate their graves, and then found the
materials to create more than 800 head stones and the base of the monument in
the Confederate section of the cemetery. On the base of this monument there
is a tablet inscribed to the memory of Mrs. Snowden. Both
she and Rev. Ellison Capers were present at the dedication.
Mrs. Snowden would not yet be satisfied while bereaved
mothers, widows, and orphaned girls were lacking proper care and educational
opportunities. So with other like-minded women to help her, the Home for the
Mothers, Widows, and Daughters of Confederate Soldiers was established as a
tentative effort to provide for an exigency that they thought would soon pass.
Click here for more info on the
Click here for more info on the Home.
This institution was founded in Charleston, South Carolina,
in those dark days of reconstruction that followed the War Between the States,
and was known as the Home for the Mothers, Widows, and Daughters of Confederate
Soldiers. The association was organized on August 12, 1867, at a meeting of nine
women, and the Rev. Charles Stuart Vedder, of the Huguenot Church. The funds in
hand were one dollar, given by a widow living in a charitable institution in
Baltimore, and money enough to pay one year's rent for the Old Carolina Hotel.
The leader of these nine women, the widowed Mrs. Mary Amarinthia Snowden, who,
with her sister, Mrs. Isabella Snowden, a widow also, had mortgaged their home
for this purpose, raised this money.
The great works of Mary Amarinthia Yates Snowden inspired the
South Carolina Legislature to erect and dedicate a memorial to her inside the
statehouse. It is located on the second floor, and may be viewed anytime the
statehouse is open to the public.
Most of this information came from the publication Historical Sketch of the Confederate Home and College published by Walker, Evans & Cogswell, Charleston, SC 1921