Mrs. Flora Adams Darling
Founder and 1st President
United States Daughters of 1812
Memorial plaque placed by the Society in honor of their Founder. Click on image for larger view.
Memorial bench placed, in 2009, by the Association of State Presidents Past and Present, N.S.U.S.D. of 1812. Click on image for larger view.
Flora Adams Darling
(July 25, 1840 – January 6, 1910) was an American author born Sophronia A. Adams in Lancaster, New Hampshire, the fifth of eleven children of Harvey Adams, a member of the Adams political family, and his second wife Nancy Dustin Adams, née Rowell. She is still listed as "Fronia Adams" on the 1860 census, and is living in Lancaster with her family at age nineteen. At some point after this, she changed her name to Flora. (She was an descendant of Henry Adams, of Braintree, MA (1636), and thus, remotely related to the second and sixth U.S. Presidents, John Adams and John Quincy Adams. Her brother also was named John Quincy Adams and was father to Capt. Francis Adams.)
Flora was educated at Lancaster and Sanbornton academies. In later life, she married Edward Irving Darling on March 12, 1860, in New York City, a man 22 years her senior and only son of G. Irving and Marie Dumas La Fitte Darling, of Louisiana. They had an only son, Edward Irving Darling, Jr., born October 9, 1862.
The couple removed to Louisiana where her husband joined the Confederate Army, and is said to have attained the rank of brigadier-general, and died on December 2, 1863, from wounds received on November 29 at the Battle of Franklin, Williamson County, Tennessee. (Note: although these claims have been written in some early publications, historians have not been able to obtain documentation to substantiate these claims.) Shortly after, Mrs. Darling, on board a vessel bearing a flag or truce, attempted to reach her New England home, parents and infant son, but was captured as a prisoner of war and for a time, held as such. Released several days later, she found that her trunk had been robbed of cash, jewels, and Confederate bonds. After her return north, she started the "celebrated case" known as the Darling Claim and called on President Lincoln. President Lincoln had placed the stamp of his approval upon her claim, assuring her that her wrongs would ultimately be righted. (~Granite Monthly: A New Hampshire Magazine, Volumes 41-42.) Litigation was prevented due to the untimely death of the President, in 1865, and for the next thirty years she sought compensation from Congress for her loss, an effort which, despite approval by the Court of Claims in 1887, was not successful until 1903, when she was awarded $5,683.
Despite growing increasingly deaf following the war, Flora became a prolific writer who was published in magazines and journals, and wrote a number of novels and short stories including Mrs. Darling's Letters, or Memories of the Civil War (1883), A Social Diplomat and A Winning, Wayward Woman: Chapters in the Heart-History of Amellie Warden (both in 1889), The Senator's Daughter (1907) and 1607-1907- Memories of Virginia: A Souvenir of Founding Days (1923). Many of her short stories appeared in magazines in the late 1880's and early 1890's, all strongly autobiographical in content, sensational in plot, and romantic in tone. In 1886, based on the merits of her writing, she was granted an honorary A.M. from Western Maryland College. She was also awarded an honorary degree from the Kentucky Military Institute.
Flora lived in Washington, D.C. for forty years, where she was socially active and developed an interest in founding patriotic societies. On January 8, 1892, Flora founded the National Society, United States Daughters of 1812.
On January 6, 1910, while on a visit to her brother in New York City, and just as she was about to return to her home, in Washington, D.C., Mrs. Darling suddenly passed away. Cause of death was apoplexy, a term formerly used to refer to what is known today, as a stroke. In the Nation's capital, Mrs. Darling was one of its most distinguished women, well known and beloved for her singularly refined virtues and her inspiring work in many fields of charitable and patriotic endeavors. Flora Adams Darling, is buried at Congressional Cemetery, in Washington, D.C.
Tribute was paid to Mrs. Flora Adams Darling by the Society's Association of State Presidents and Charter Members, on April 22, 1934:
"On behalf of the Association of State Presidents and Charter Members of the National Society
of the United States Daughters of 1812, I have the honor to present this Memorial, consecrated
and dedicated to the service of God and to the Memory of the Founder and first President National
of the United States Daughters of 1812, Mrs. Flora Adams Darling."
~Mrs. Frank D. Callan, Pres.
State Presidents' Association and Charter Members, N.S.U.S.D. of 1812
April 22, 1934.