On 4 March 1921, a new women’s Civil War lineage society was chartered in Santa Barbara. Although it was five years after her death, a woman who had been deeply involved in the local Women’s Relief Corps was honored by the tent’s founding members and became the namesake of the tent, which became known as the “Laura Belle Stoddard Tent #22, Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War.”
Laura Belle, daughter of a Methodist clergyman, Thomas Madison Gossard, and his wife, Sarah, was born on the 12th of April 1854 in Xenia, Greene County, Ohio. She met and in 1875 married Charles Sidney Stoddard in Northfield, Rice County, Minnesota. Charles, himself a Union veteran from Company F, 2nd Minnesota Cavalry, became a physician after the war. The young family moved to Santa Barbara in 1886 with sons Thomas and Harry, then about eight and five.
Laura Belle became prominent in local charitable, church, and musical circles, while her husband served the community as beloved physician for 42 years before his death. Charles also served as patron for the CA/NV Department of the D.U.V., commander of the local Grand Army of the Republic Starr-King Post #52, and Department Commander for the CA/NV G.A.R.
Laura Belle Gossard Stoddard died in Santa Barbara at the age of 51 on 9 November 1925 and received full honors from the G.A.R. and the Woman’s Relief Corps. Her dedication and loyalty to God, Country and Flag fully illustrates her worthiness to be namesake of Tent #22, CA/NV Department.
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