Group to honor daughter of the Confederacy

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Anna Mary Riddick spent her life preserving the Confederate cause.

This weekend, nearly seven decades after her death, the founding member of the Suffolk Chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy will be honored posthumously for her life-long devotion.

The Tom Smith Camp of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans No. 1702 will pay homage to Riddick, the 11th recipient of the Marion Joyner Watson Award, on Saturday. The organization gives the award, named in memory of the late local historian, annually to someone who has done outstanding work promoting historical awareness in Suffolk.

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&uot;She spent her life honoring and making sure the cause of the Confederate soldier was never forgotten,&uot; said F. Lee Hart III, lieutenant commander of the Tom Smith Camp. &uot;She has been on our list for a long time because of her connection with Suffolk’s heritage. The recognition is long overdue. It’s time her story was told.&uot;

Riddick, who died in 1936 at the age of 95, lived most of her life in the house now called Riddick’s Folly. She was born in 1841, one of Nathaniel and Missouri Riddick’s six children.

The only significant time she spent away from the 21-room house was during the Civil War, when the family fled to Petersburg for several years while Union troops occupied their home.

Riddick returned to Suffolk after the war, having lost everything in her home to Union troops and the love of her life, Jonathan Smith, to the war, Hart said. She never married after Smith’s death.

After the war, she established the local chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy and spent more than 30 years serving as its president.

&uot;She was so good at what she did,&uot; said Hart, noting that the Tom Smith Camp has stacks of the Daughters’ meeting minutes recorded during Riddick’s tenure as president.

The banquet begins at 6 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 213 N. Main St.

Tickets are $16, or two for $30, and can be purchased at Riddick’s Folly, the Suffolk Seaboard Station Railroad Museum and the Visitor Center.

Robin Rountree, director of Riddick’s Folly, will accept the award and speak on Riddick’s life at the event. Steven A. Cormier, author of the &uot;Siege of Suffolk,&uot; will be the keynote speaker.