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Oran M. Roberts

Oran M. Roberts

Chapter 440

United Daughters of the Confederacy®


Houston, Harris County, Texas


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Judah P. Benjamin Award


Charlie Gardes

Charles Anthony Gardes, Jr.
Presented - 13 June 2009 - National Recipient Number 268


Biographical Narrative


Charles Anthony Gardes, Jr. was born on 6 August 1955 in New Orleans, LA and is the son of the late Charles Anthony Gardes of West Falls Church, VA and Mignonne Cambon Gardes of New Orleans. He is married to Catherine Rehnee Wickersham of Salina, KS and they have two nieces, Jennifer Michelle Robinson and Lauren Emily Robinson and a nephew, Justin Philip Wicker.

He attended St. John's School and the University of Houston, both located in Houston, Harris Co., TX.

He began his livelihood in construction in 1979 and continued throughout his professional career in a variety of consulting roles and project types. in addition to the Clayton House renovation, notable Houston projects he participated in include the new Ben Taub Hospital, the entire Compaq Computer complex on Highway 290, the renovation of the historic Gulf Building and in Dallas, the new Federal Reserve Bank.

Charlie's outside interests vary as much as the projects he works on professionally. An avid genealogist, golfer and amateur film maker, he puts as much passion into his hobbies as his work.

In 1921, the current Clayton Library, Center for Genealogical Research, was founded as a special collection for genealogical research at Houston Public Library. The collection was originally housed in the Julia Ideson Building in downtown Houston. In 1968, the genealogical collection was relocated to the Clayton Home at 5300 Caroline Street in Houston's historic Museum District and renamed the Clayton Library. The Clayton home is a three story brick Georgian style house built in 1917 and designed by Birdsall P. Briscoe. The house was the home of Houston businessman and statesman William Lockhart Clayton and his wife Susan Ada Vaughn Clayton until 1958, when it was deeded to the City of Houston to be used for library purposes.

The growth in the physical size of the genealogy collection created a need for an expanded location for the Clayton Library. Through the generosity of an anonymous donor the site for a new building was purchased in 1986 next door to the Clayton Home. The new facility was built in 1988 in a style designed to complement the Clayton Home. Furniture and equipment for the new building was funded by a grant from the Houston Endowment Inc. through the Clayton Library Friends.

Today, the Clayton Library is ranked as one of the top five genealogy libraries in the United States and provides top resources for researchers.

Over the past three years, Mr. Gardes volunteered as Project Manager for the restoration of three historical buildings on the campus of the Clayton Library. These buildings include the original three story brick Georgian style Clayton House built in 1917, the Carriage House and the Guest House.

Mr. Gardes donated over 3,000 hours of his personal time to insure the renovations would result in facilities that would benefit library patrons and staff. He provided leadership by coordinating the needs and requirements of the City of Houston, the Clayton Library Friends, the Clayton Family Foundation, the architects and contractors.

The newly renovated buildings have meeting rooms for large groups, instructional rooms, and a formal conference room that offer state of the art audio/visual equipment including video conferencing, wireless internet and multi-media capabilities to users. The expanded library area at the Clayton House will also include a LDS Family History Center where patrons can order microfilm from the LDS Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.



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Judah P. Benjamin Pin

The Judah P. Benjamin Award is presented to honor the Secretary of State of the Confederate States of America. It consists of a certificate awarded to individuals for outstanding endeavors and achievements not necessarily related to the Confederacy in the following fields: civic / community service, conservation, education, the environment, humanitarian efforts and patriotic service.

In 2001, the award was approved at the 108th Annual General Convention held in Columbia, SC. The first award was presented in 2002 at the 109th Annual Convention held in Richmond, VA by President General Mrs. Frank I. Silek to Dr. O. James Lightehizer, President of the Civil War Preservation Trust.

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