Saturday, June 12, 2010

Children, Send Your Dimes

Ex-Confederate fundraisers were willing to put the bite on anyone who could contribute to construction of their Confederate soldiers’ home…even children. Alabama’s J. M. Faulkner, chairman of the fundraising effort for the Alabama Confederate Home, asked newspapers to publish his open letter to the children of Alabama at Christmastime 1902:

In the midst of the pleasures of the holiday, he wrote, “I want to remind you that there are a large number of old Confederate soldiers in Alabama who are sadly in need of help.”

Faulkner paints a grim holiday picture:

“The time has passed when it is possible for them to be surrounded by groups of happy children and the comforts of life. Unless those who are charitably inclined shall come to their relief, the inevitable result will be that their last days will be spent in poverty and misery.”

Then he makes his pitch:

“It has occurred to me that there is not a child in this state who would not esteem it a great privilege to contribute as much as one dime to the building of this beautiful home. This, I believe, you can do without prejudice to your own wants.”

But, let’s not stop there:

“While you are providing your own dime, you might suggest to your older brothers and sisters, and your mothers, that a contribution of a quarter of a dollar, or a half a dollar, would be very acceptable. If every one of your fathers should take it into his head to send a dollar, the success of the home would be assured.”

I couldn’t locate any information describing the number of dimes, quarters, half-dollars and dollars collected by Faulkner’s appeal, but the Jefferson Manley Faulkner Soldiers’ Home opened at Mountain Creek later than year.

(See The Florence (Ala.) Times, January 2, 1903.)

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