Portrait of Anne Eliza Johns. Johns gained fame as a nurse and advocate for both Union and Confederate soldiers in Civil War hospitals Danville, Va.

About the Chapter,164,and a little

history of Anne Eliza Johns

             The Anne Eliza Johns Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy of Danville Virginia was organized March 9, 1896 and its charter was granted on November 11, 1897. The founder of the chapter was Mrs. Berryman (Nellie Rives) Green who also served as the President for the first 20 years. Her father, Col. B.A. Rives of the 1st Brigade, 3rd regiment, Missouri, was killed in the Battle of Pea Ridge in Arkansas on March 9, 1862. Her husband served with the Danville Blues and became a captain in the 5th VA Cavalry.

             In 2009, the Chapter placed a UDC Member marker and a Real Daughter’s marker on the grave of Nellie Rives Green and held a grave marking ceremony in Green Hill Cemetery. (Number 5 on the Walking Tour in Green Hill Cemetery)

Photo of the Johns house in Eden, NC

             The Chapter was named after Miss Anne Eliza Johns, better known as Annie, a Confederate nurse, author, and teacher, born in Pittsylvania County July 16, 1831. She ministered to Confederate soldiers and Union prisoners in the hospitals and prisons in Danville during the War Between the States. Daughter of a doctor, she returned to Leaksville, NC (now Eden) after the war and wrote the novel, Cooleemee: A Tale of Southern Life, based on her personal experiences during the war. She also wrote memoirs of her hospital experiences which were published in a number of newspapers. Annie never married and dies October 22, 1889, a little over six years before the UDC chapter named after her was formed. The articles that Annie wrote about her war experience along with a series of papers written by other women were republished in 1998 in a book titled Our Women in the War edited by William McKinnon. The book was sold as a fundraising project by the chapter. The biography of Anne Eliza Johns was published in the March 2008 issue of the UDC magazine. A portrait of her has a prominent place in the chapter room in the Danville Museum of Fin Arts and History. Annie is buried in the cemetery at the Church of the Epiphany at 538 Henry St. in Eden NC. The Chapter provided information and a photograph in 2005 for a NC Civil War Trail Marker that was placed at the site of Anne Eliza John’s grave. In 2010, the house in Eden at 1011 Center Church Rd where Annie lived with her parents, Dr. and Mrs. A.B. Johns and her siblings, was restored. It is believed to be the oldest historic house in Eden and is now operated as an events center named the Johns Manor House. Our Chapter met there and toured the house in 2011.

             Our Chapter has made may contributions to Danville. The UDC was instrumental in saving “the last Capital of the Confederacy”, the old Sutherlin Mansion, home of Major William T. Sutherlin in Danville. President Jefferson Davis stayed there April 3-10, 1865 when he and his cabinet evacuated Richmond. The last full cabinet meeting was held here and this is where Davis received news of Lee’s surrender. When Mrs. Sutherlin died in 1912, the mansion was threatened with demolition. The Daughters raised $20,000, Half of the funds required, which were matched by the City of Danville. In 1912, the City deeded to the UDC two upstairs rooms in the mansion for a meeting place in appreciation of their work in saving the building. A wall was removed to make one large room which the chapter continues to use for its meetings. The room contains the marble table where Jefferson Davis wrote “The Last Proclamation”. The two chandeliers in the room are original to the house. There are many antiques and collectibles in the chapter room donated by friends including portraits of the Sutherlins and Anne Eliza Johns along with items purchased by the chapter such as the iron strong box which stored the gold brought to Danville by President Davis. An inventory of “The Treasures in the Chapter Room” was completed in 2006 By Sandy Bolen and Dee Smith.

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Chapter Name: Anne Eliza Johns  Virginia Division

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