Woman’s Relief Corps

Woodland Cemetery, Des Moines, Iowa

Woodland Cemetery, Des Moines, Iowa

SARAH

ELIZABETH

WIFE OF

E. P. DRAKE

DIED JUNE 4, 1894, AGED 38 Yrs.

The Western White Bronze Monument Company of Des Moines produced zinc monuments.  The Woodland Cemetery in Des Moines, Iowa, has many of their monuments in all shapes and sizes including the obelisk of Sarah Drake. Sarah Drake was a member of the then fairly new Woman’s Relief Corp.

The Woman’s Relief Corp was founded in 1883 in Denver, Colorado, as the auxiliary group to the Grand Army of the Republic.  Founded as a women’s service group over a century ago, the patriotic organization was formed to, according to their Website:

  • To perpetuate the memory of the Grand Army of the Republic and its heroic dead to assist in every practicable way in preserving, and making available for research, documents and records pertaining to the Grand Army of the Republic and its members;
  • To assist such Veterans of all wars of the United States of America as need our help and protection, to extend needful aid to their widows and orphans, and to assure them of sympathy and friends. To cherish and emulate the deeds of all loyal women who rendered loving service to our country in her hour of peril; and
  • To maintain true allegiance to the United States of America; inculcate lessons of patriotism and love of country among our children and in the communities in which we live; and encourage the spread of universal liberty and equal rights of all.

IMG_6728

Reproduced on the obelisk is the Woman’s Relief Corps Badge.  The badge is a Maltese Cross attached to a bar pin engraved with the F C L for the initials of the words in their motto: Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty.  If the insignia was in color the ribbon would be red, white and blue.

In the circle of the cross is an American Flag encircled in a wreath of stars and depicting five figures: Goddess of Liberty, a soldier, boy, a woman and a child.

According to their Website:

  • The Soldier symbolizes Fraternity because the Comrades created their organization as their Auxiliary in 1883.
  • The Boy is emblematic of the youth and strength of the future life of the Nation.
  • The Woman is emblematic of motherhood, the very source of all civilization throughout the world. She has taught mercy, kindness, and has extended Charity from the beginning of time.
  • The Child is emblematic of the hope of the world, with our patriotic teachings of Loyalty to the nation’s laws and principles, with Freedom and Justice for future generations yet unborn.
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