Old Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Home
This collection consists of applications for admission to the Florida Old Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Home, including a small amount of supporting documentation attesting to the veracity of the applicant's claim. Applications provide information about each applicant's current residence and medical condition as well as their Civil War service, including such information as unit, dates served, and wounds incurred/cause of disability. The records were maintained by the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), Florida Division, which played a key role in the operation of the home in its last years.
The Florida Soldiers' Home Association was formed in 1888 with Albert J. Russell, the state superintendent of public instruction and a Confederate veteran, serving as the organization's president. Four years later, the organization purchased ten acres of the Whitney homestead near Jacksonville in which to care for aging Confederate veterans. The Florida Old Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Home began operating in April 1893. In addition to President Russell, ex-Governor Fleming, William Baya, David E. Maxwell, and Walter R. Moore served as trustees.
Chapter 4250 of the Florida Laws of 1893, "An Act to Aid in the Maintenance and Support of a Home for Disabled and Indigent Ex- Confederate Soldiers and Sailors," authorized the state to pay to the Home $100.00 annually for each inmate (excluding those already receiving a Florida pension), not to exceed $2,500.00 per year. Subsequent legislation in 1909, 1915, and 1919 increased the state appropriation. It would operate for the next 45 years, surviving on its state appropriation and donations from veterans' organizations and the UDC.
Chapter 8505, Laws of 1921, dissolved the Old Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Home Association and transferred its assets to the Board of Commissioners of State Institutions. The act authorized the governor to appoint a Board of Managers to administer the Home, consisting of the president of the Florida Division of the UDC, the State Commander of the United Confederate Veterans, the State Commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the Comptroller of the State of Florida, and an at-large position nominated by the four other board members. It further authorized the expenditure of up to $10,000.00 for repairs and improvements to the Home.
In the Home's final years the UDC played an increasing role in its operation. In 1930, for example, UDC President Macie Calhoun Medlin noted that the Home's managers "assisted by devoted members of the U.D.C., have left nothing undone toward making the soldiers at our Home in Jacksonville as comfortable as possible. There are sixteen living there, now."
Florida's Old Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Home remained in operation until 1938, when the last resident died. The property was then sold, and the state commander of the United Confederate Veterans transferred funds to the state for the establishment of an endowment fund to be used for scholarships at the Florida State College for Women and the University of Florida.