Arkansas now home to oldest Confederate widow

(June 15, 2004) - (Little Rock-AP) -- An Arkansas woman has been recognized by an organization as a Confederate widow. The United Daughters of the Confederacy says Maudie Celia Hopkins is a surviving widow of a Civil War soldier. The group says there could be others like her. When Hopkins 19 years old, she married 86-year-old William M. Cantrell on February second, 1934, after he hired her to clean his house. She says poverty led her into the marriage and tried to keep the union quiet. Last month, Alberta Martin of Elba, Alabama, died at age 97. She was believed to be the last widow of a Civil War veteran until Hopkins' relatives told Confederate historians. The historians researched Hopkins' story through Baxter County marriage records and other documents. The United Daughters of the Confederacy now recognizes her as having been married to a Confederate soldier.