News reports in May that the last widow of a Civil War soldier had died in Alabama prompted relatives of an Arkansas woman to verify her claims, kept private for decades, that her late husband also was a veteran of that conflict.
Now the United Daughters of the Confederacy recognizes Maudie Celia Hopkins as a surviving widow of a Civil War soldier -- and the group says there may be others like her still alive.
Hopkins married 86-year-old William M. Cantrell on Feb. 2, 1934, after he hired the 19-year-old to clean his house. But she says she never talked about it much.
"I thought people would gossip about it and say, 'Oh, she married an old man, she married an old man.' I thought that if I didn't talk about it, people would keep their mouths shut," Hopkins, 89, of Lexa, Ark., told the Associated Press in a telephone interview Monday.
Last month, Alberta Martin of Elba, Ala., died at 97. News reports, including those in The Washington Post, described her as the last widow of a Civil War veteran.
When Hopkins's relatives heard the reports, they talked to Confederate historians, who researched Hopkins's story through the United Daughters of the Confederacy research library, Arkansas pension records and U.S. Census Bureau data.