Maudie Hopkins

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Maudie Hopkins
Maudie Hopkins
Maudie Hopkins
BornMaudie Cecilia Acklin
(1914-12-07)December 7, 1914
Baxter County, Arkansas, U.S.
DiedAugust 17, 2008(2008-08-17) (aged 93)
Lexa, Arkansas, U.S.
Known forLast publicly identified Civil War widow

Maudie Hopkins (December 7, 1914 – August 17, 2008) was an American woman believed to be the last publicly known and identified surviving widow of a Civil War veteran.


Born as Maudie Cecilia Acklin in Baxter County, Arkansas, she married William M. Cantrell (aged 86) on February 2, 1934, when she was 19. Cantrell had enlisted in the Confederate States Army at age 16 in Pikeville, Kentucky, and served in General Samuel G. French's Battalion of Virginia Infantry. He was captured in 1863, and was part of a prisoner exchange. He had a previous wife, who had died in 1929. Cantrell supported her with a pension of US$25 every two or three months, and she inherited his home in 1937. She received no further pension benefits after his death. She remarried later in 1937, and twice thereafter, and had three children.[citation needed]

It was not especially uncommon for young women in Arkansas to marry Confederate pensioners; in 1937 the state passed a law stating that women who married Civil War veterans would not be eligible for a widow's pension. The law was later changed in 1939 to state that widows born after 1870 were not eligible for pensions. Hopkins generally kept her first marriage a secret, fearing that the resulting gossip (of marrying a much older man) would damage her reputation.[1]

After researching records from Arkansas and United States Census Bureau data, Hopkins was certified by various historical organizations, most notably the United Daughters of the Confederacy. A spokeswoman for the UDC, Martha Boltz, has said that there may be two other widows, one in Tennessee and another in North Carolina, but if they are still alive, they choose to remain in anonymity.[citation needed]

Maudie Hopkins died on August 17, 2008, in a nursing home in Lexa, Arkansas, aged 93.[2]

See also[edit]

  • Alberta Martin, one of the last known Confederate war widows and the last widow whose marriage to a Confederate soldier produced offspring. She died May 31, 2004.
  • Gertrude Janeway, last known widow of a Union veteran of the Civil War. She died January 17, 2003.
  • Irene Triplett, daughter of Mose Triplett, is the last known Civil War pension recipient. [3]


  1. ^ Barron, James. "The 'Last Civil War Widow' Has a Successor, It Would Seem", The New York Times, June 16, 2004; retrieved January 29, 2017.
  2. ^ Hopkins' obituary,; accessed September 26, 2017.
  3. ^ Wall Street Journal, May 11, 2014.

External links[edit]