Chapter History

The Colonel John Washington Chapter, District of Columbia, Daughters of the American Revolution, was organized April 3, 1917, and was named for the great-grandfather of George Washington, our nation’s first President. John Washington, a Burgess who settled in Westmoreland County, Virginia, in 1657, was also the ancestor of Miss Fannie Washington Hunter Weeks (1848-1928), the founder of our chapter. Miss Weeks, through her Washington lineage, was related to one of the four women who founded our National Society, Eugenia Washington.

Led by 33 dedicated and enthusiastic regents and their officers over the past 79 years, our chapter has consistently met the NSDAR honor roll requirements. Outstanding members all, Colonel John’s Daughters celebrated landmark chapter birthdays with state and national officers in attendance. Included in the various commemorations were the many historical DAR markers placed on members’ graves, a bronze plaque placed at the DC Boundary Stone SW3, Alexandria, Virginia, and a marker placed at Pohick Church, Pohick, Virginia, to honor George Washington’s brother, John Augustine Washington, another great-grandson of Colonel John Washington. Our members have held offices and chairmanships with honor for both State and National. Mrs. James H. Stansfield (1873-1964) was National Registrar, 1923-1926, who signed 75,000 applications for membership in our society. ColonelJohn’s Daughters have served the DCDAR as Librarian, Chaplain, in Seimes Microfilm, Americanism, American History Essay, DAR Magazine, Columbus Quincentennial Committee Chairman and much more. Many hours have been given by our members as Docents for the DAR Museum. Special emphasis by chapter members has been given to DAR Schools, Veterans Affairs, Americanism, and the 50th Anniversary of World War II. Because of the work and generous contributions of members to programs and chapter expenses, Colonel John Washington Chapter DC 2-013 DC enjoys the reputation of being a most outstanding DC chapter that prides itself for the active participation of our young adults as well as expertise on long- standing members.

Two of our most outstanding accomplishments are:

  1. This chapter became the first chapter in the NSDAR to be designated by the Department of Defense as an official 50th Anniversary of World War II Commemorative Community.
  2.  This chapter sponsored the Colonel John Washington Homesite Wayside Marker at George Washington’s Birthplace, Virginia. Members raised $3,000 to cover the cost of the marker and officiated at the Dedication ceremony April 29, 1995, to an audience of 175 persons. Through our efforts a like marker was installed at the Colonel John Washington birthplace at Sulgrave Manor, England, and in the DCDAR Chapter House.

NOW PAST ITS 80TH YEAR, the chapter continues to be active in a variety of programs, including Naturalization Court, 3 Constitution Week, American History Awards, Literacy Challenge, and the Tamassee School, to name a few.  The chapter has also undertaken new initiatives such as supporting the visit of the Rochambeau DAR Chapter of France and purchasing a chair for the District of Columbia box at Constitution Hall in honor or long-time member and former Regent, Charlotte Vaught.

The Katherine Montgomery Chapter was founded by Mary Desha, one of the four founders of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, and named it in honor of her great-grandmother. Katherine was born about 1749 in Augusta County, Virginia, a place considered at that time to be the extreme frontier.

It was said that Katherine Montgomery was a woman of superior character and attainments, who bore the vicissitudes and dangers incident to a frontier life with bravery and fortitude. During the Revolutionary War, she was a dispatch bearer, carrying secret messages coiled in her long dark brown hair.  According to family history, on one occasion she carried her baby with her, concealing the dispatches in the baby’s diaper. Another time, while riding along on her fine thoroughbred horse, carrying extremely secret information from Washington’s Headquarters through the British lines to the Continental Army, she met a British Officer riding a tired, jaded horse.  As she was suspected of carrying dispatches, the officer stopped her to engage in conversation in an attempt to find out where she was going.

He complimented her on her beautiful horse, so she challenged him to a race. Knowing the speed her horse was capable of, she quickly outdistanced him to such an extent that she was able to deliver her dispatches in safely. In about 1772, Katherine Montgomery married Isaac Bledsoe, who commanded a company through the war. He was a captain in Christian’s Campaign and was killed by the Indians in Sumner County, Tennessee, April 9, 1795. Katherine Montgomery Bledsoe died in Sumner County, Tennessee in 1800, leaving eight children, all married.

The chapter was formed by the National Society on January 16, 1902. Mary Desha was the Organizing Regent and was re-elected continuously until her death on December 1, 1911. The chapter was 100 years old on January 16, 2002. Earlier it had been discovered that the chapter had never applied for a charter, so to celebrate the 100 years of our chapter, we applied for a charter in early September 2001 in preparation for our birthday party in 2002. Due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, the chapter recently received its charter at the end of the 112th Continental Congress, July 2003. Katherine Montgomery chapter enfolded the members of Dorothy Hancock chapter on December 5, 1996.

The Colonel John Washington and Katherine Montgomery Chapters were merged into one chapter on June 20, 2002.

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Last Updated: April 2, 2013

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