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For Brooke Snead, a Fredericksburg resident who died this past weekend, Civil War history was more than words on a page or stone markers on a battlefield
Brooke Snead, who died Saturday
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By LEE WOOLF
Just last month, 98-year-old Brooke Snead traveled with friends to Columbia, a small town in Fluvanna County between Richmond and Charlottesville.
The occasion was to honor her father, Eldridge Tucker Hughes, with a Confederate Iron Cross and flowers at his grave site in the St. John's Episcopal Church cemetery.
Snead, who died Saturday at her Fredericksburg home, was the last "real daughter" of a Civil War veteran associated with the Fredericksburg Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. According to a UDC spokeswoman, Snead's death leaves only eight real daughters in Virginia and 81 nationwide.
"I remember she was very alert that day in Columbia and so pleased to make the trip," recalled Lois Bailey, who accompanied Snead. "We took pictures during the church reception, and she just had a great time."
Bailey recalls one scene in particular.
"A man from the Sons of Confederate Veterans group spoke to Brooke, and he got down on one knee during their conversation. I kidded her afterward, that it probably had been some time since she had a young man kneel down in front of her.
"And in typical Brooke fashion, she came right back, 'That's what you think . Well, you might be surprised!'"
The scene reflects two things about Snead--that she was very proud of her Virginia heritage and that she will be remembered for a delightful sense of humor.
"She was a true Southern lady," said Bailey, who is president of the local UDC chapter. "I never heard Brooke say a cross word to anyone. And she was quite a comedian. She always had a quick comeback for people. She was just a marvelous person."
Bailey said that Snead would have been a member of the UDC for 50 years next February.
"We already were planning a celebration," Bailey said. "And Brooke was looking forward to it. This is a big loss. But if just one fraction of her rubbed off on anyone, they are better for it."