The Joseph Brevard Kershaw Chapter #205 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy held their annual Lee-Jackson Luncheon with a fashion show on Saturday, January 21 at 12 noon in Hunter Hall of the First Presbyterian Church of Laurens. This is the fourth year of the luncheon and, having grown each and every year, the chapter had to continue to move the location for the luncheon.
The chapter members had held the event in the Simpsonville/Mauldin area for a couple of years in an effort to draw ladies from the Greenville area. Finally, after crowded conditions last year at the 2011 event, the chapter decided to bring the event home to Laurens. Everyone was extremely pleased with the location of the event in Laurens. Perhaps a few people did not attend due to the change in location, but most people did not seem to mind, particularly since the venue was so much roomier for the event.
Kershaw President Jennifer Sawyer opened the event by thanking all those attending for doing so. She particularly thanked her friends and UDC sisters for their support during the past year, the most difficult of her life. Mrs. Sawyer is fighting a very rare form of cancer and credits the event’s success this year to the work of her committee. “We simply would not have been able to have this luncheon if the committee had not done most of the work.” The committee was chaired by Martha Gilchrest. Mrs. Sawyer then welcomed SC Division UDC President Eloise Verdin and UDC President General Martha Van Schaick from Greenville and from the Winnie Davis Chapter UDC. Mrs. Sawyer introduced the kitchen staff of the church who call themselves The “Kitchen Witches.” Everyone laughed at the name as they really were very delightful and helpful ladies who served a wonderful meal.
Mrs. Sawyer explained that all proceeds from the event were going to the Martin Guards Flag restoration, a project of the SC Division UDC. The Martin Guards were men from the Clinton/JoAnna area who fought for the Confederacy in the War Between the States. Their flag has been in storage at the SC Relic Room. This past fall at the SC Division UDC Convention, the ladies voted to raise funds and restore the flag at the cost of $22,000-$23,000. This is a long project which is beginning under the Presidency of Eloise Verdin and will be completed in a few years. The flag belongs to the Daughters and will be on display after restoration at the Relic Room. One of the two cakes for dessert displayed the flag for all to see. Cakes were cut by Eloise Verdin and Martha Van Schaick before being served.
A beautiful fashion show of 1860’s clothing was put on by Jeannie Rucker of Spartanburg, and Holly, Raquelle, and Heather Sheen of Taylors. All outfits were beautifully hand crafted by these seamstresses and modeled by the ladies, each commentating for themselves and giving very interesting information on the clothing even down to the under garments.
The table decorations were a big hit. Kershaw Associate Mary Lee Watkins, whose husband Ludie Watkins had once served as the McGowan Camp #40 Commander, was responsible for the 1860’s style decorations. She questioned, “What would the wife of a common soldier have used for table decorations in 1862?” 150 years ago. The answer was “What she had.” Mary Lee showed us how to use magnolia, holly, cedar, pecans, oranges, and apples to make beautiful table decorations. The oranges had been “cloved” by chapter ladies at a work meeting. This is simply sticking cloves into the oranges. Mrs. Watkins had one that her late husband had made 35 years ago. Ladies were invited to take an orange home to see how many years it could last, even if it turned dark and moldy.