The Red Cross is people helping people in war or peace. Internationally, the Red Cross had its beginning in Geneva, Switzerland on August 22, 1864. Nationally, the work was begun in the United States by an act of Congress in 1905. Clara Barton was an instrumental in the organization of the National Society of the Red Cross and was promptly elected president.
Between 1905 and 1917, disasters in which the Red Cross had assisted included the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire with $246,000; the Chinese Famine with $326,000; New York City's Factory Fire with $70,000; and the Titanic Wreck with $126,000.
The formation of the local Red Cross chapters had not been permitted in communities the size of Clarksville. Carrie Lurton Johnson, a school teacher has been credited with obtaining special permissions for organization of the Clarksville Chapter.
Carrie Johnson was familiar with the services of the American Red Cross. When she saw young Clarksville men, her friends, enlisting for World War I military service in France and other European countries, and realizing that they might soon be lying wounded on some battlefield needing service rendered by the Red Cross, she bacame the force behind the movement to form the Clarksville-Montgomery County Chapter on May 9th, 1917.
Vounteer service in the Red Cross quickly became a patriotic endeaver, and was equated by some with military duty. A slate of officers for the first Board of Directors was Mrs. F. J. Ruynon (Chairman); Mrs. Martin L. Cross (Vice Chairman); Miss Lucy Baily (Secratary); and Charles A. Welch(Treasurer).
Moving forward after the flood, the American Red Cross Clarksville-Montgomery Chapter, which suffered like so many other businesses from the Tennessee Floods, lost their chapter home base at 585 S. Riverside Drive in Clarksville. However, the chapter is still a strong, viable presence in the community and is providing disaster services to the area.