AMERICA’S BICENTENNIAL YEARS
SEVENTIES & EIGHTIES
Preparations were underway by our National Society as early as 1974 for the DAR celebration of the Bicentennial of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence. Our member, Mrs. Faith Kohl Urdall was appointed State Vice Chairman of the committee for this celebration and working with members and our Regent, Caroline Hidgon Wagstaff Giles (Mrs. R. Clark), 1973-1975; a very special event for which we received a National Award, was held by our Chapter on April 27th 1974 to commemorate this Bicentennial.
With the rolling drums of the Mount Vernon Fife and Drum Corps, State Regent Mrs. Louis H. Renfrow; Honorary Presidents General Mrs. Donald Spicer and Mrs. Robert W.H. Duncan, who where members of the Washington Family, were escorted to the churchyard at Pohick Church, Virginia near Gunston Hall, home of George Mason, along with other DAR members of our chapter and guests. A ceremony was held there honoring John Augustine Washington, a brother of George Washington, our first President and great grandson of our chapter’s namesake Colonel John Washington. This brother was born at Mount Vernon and was a revolutionary soldier reaching the rank of Colonel whose gravestone no longer existed nor was there a marker of any kind to show where he was buried. Hence our chapter decided to honor him with a marker at Pohick Church where he attended services. Many members of the Washington family were present with Master John Augustine Washington IV and his sister Lucy participating. Augustine Washington spoke of the family then and now following the Reverend Albert Jones’ commentary on the history of the church. The Mount Vernon Guard presented a pageant of war concluding with a volley of cannon fire. Then came the victory minuet as danced at Yorktown. A reception and tea followed at nearby historic Gunston Hall. Our chapter presented colored slides of this event to the National Society. Two fund raising bazaars preceded chapter meetings and luncheon in the homes of the Regent, Mrs. Caroline Giles and Mrs. Anne Marland to help finance the event.
Another interesting program during Caroline Giles term of office was a program by Edward Chappelee of the Historic Landmarks Commission at Kingsmill Plantation near Jamestown, who discussed the excavations there. The property had belonged to Mrs. Giles’ ancestor, Colonel William Pettus, a Burgess of the Assembly.
The work of our chapter continued with Ruby Renelle Crain Oddone (Mrs. Alfred J.), serving as Regent during the term of 1976-1977. We were praised by the State Board of Management for exceptional historical displays placed in the Hermitage Retirement Home lobby in Alexandria, public libraries, stores, banks, and the wide distribution of patriotic literature, all of which commemorated the celebration of Constitution Day.
Our much useful Chatterton Fund was established with $100 by Miss Elizabeth Chatterton in honor of her mother, Mrs. Effie Smith Chatterton, a member since 1925, who died February 11, 1975. $1.00 from the dues of each paying member is deposited in this trust each year for the purpose of remitting National and State dues of members so honored by a vote of chapter members. Edna Mae Williams Leu (Mrs. Walter); Lyda Bell Jones; Kathryn Irwin; Mona Lewis North (Mrs. Roy M.); and Alma Street Carr (Mrs. Roy N.) are currently being so honored.
Death took our beloved matriarch, Letta Brock Stone (Mrs. Edward Cyrus), Past Regent and our outstanding genealogical researcher for 49 years. An original survey of all Smith families in Delaware County, New York was given to the NSDAR Library in her memory by Faith Kohl Urdall (Mrs.), as was a chart to the DC DAR Library of “Fairchild Family in Connecticut” by Timothy Fairchild, N.D. Further a bronze marker was dedicated to her on September 27, 1975 in Oak Hill Cemetery where she is buried. We were pleased to dedicate at the same time, another marker to our founding member, Miss Fanny Washington Hunter Weeks who died October 16, 1928 and is buried in the Weeks family plot there. There is also a large concrete tribute marker installed by the Daughters of the American Revolution at the burial site of William Tyler Page, author of our American’s Creed, in Oak Hill Cemetery.
Following a luncheon meeting in the home of Rosalind Barton, a bronze marker was dedicated in National Memorial Park to Miss Helen Corselius, who died September 27, 1976, a member for 44 years and aunt of sister members Rosie Barton, Bee Franklin, and now new member Patricia Ann Middelthon (Mrs. John).
Our members continued to sponsor bingo parties and luncheons for our Veterans at the VA Hospital Out-Patient Clinic; planted many trees; fed birds; and wrote their Congressmen to preserve and protect the Potomac River. State officers were entertained with a luncheon in the Williamsburg Inn in Woodward & Lothrop Department Store at Tyson’s Corner, Virginia.
Our membership as of March 1, 1977 was 46.
Harwood English McCoy (Mrs.), Regent 1977-1979, received approval of her Bicentennial project of making Honorary members for life of Mary Macatee Calvert (Mrs. Charles B.), a member since 1919 and Miss Frances Washington Weeks, a charter member and niece of our Founding Member, Miss Fanny Washington Hunter Weeks. Their dues will be remitted from the Chatterton Fund. We were proud of our junior member Fayette E. Marsh Engstrom (Mrs. Robert), niece of member Malowe Ausen, as she addressed state conference thanking them for their sponsorship for the DAR Medical Scholarship to George Washington University and what it meant to her.
Our dedicated Librarian, Faith Urdall, died on March 17, 1977. A DAR marker was placed on her grave at Rock Creek Cemetery on May 7, 1981. She is remembered for the many books and research papers contributed to the NSDAR Library, usually in memory of one of our members, and her untiring work, along with the Regent of arranging for the Bicentennial Service April 27, 1974 at Pohick Church, Virginia.
Our beloved member, Miss Kathryn Irwin, former President of the Church of Two Worlds in Georgetown, survived a horrible fire in which she was seriously burned. Yet she presented a program entitled “What it Means to Have Freedom of Religion”. She had toured all the many churches on Massachusetts Avenue in Washington and was familiar with their holy items, art, architecture and the famous people who attended them.
Charlotte J. Vaught (Mrs. Leonard D.) was recognized for her in-depth National Defense Reports each month and members were informed about the program of DAR School Scholarships at a tea in the home of Rosie Barton, Chapter Treasurer.
Our Chapter received two Gold Honor Roll Certificates during this term. Highlighted were excellent programs, tours and several luncheons in members’ homes including a lecture on bonsai gardening at the National Arboretum.
Outstanding field trips during Charlotte J. Vaught’s (Mrs. Leonard D.), 1979-1981 term as Regent included a trip to Oatlands, near Leesburg, Virginia, home of George Carter, a great grandson of Robert (King) Carter of Virginia and a tour of Carlyle House in Alexandria build in 1752 by John Carlyle for his bride, Sara Fairfax. Royal Governors met and set the course of American history in this lovely mansion.
A beautiful tapestry of service was woven with members’ generosity to our DAR Schools, Seimes Microfilm Committee and more. Guest Speakers captured our imagination with topics such as “Our Musical Heritage at the Time of the American Revolution”, “Our Heritage InThe New National Portrait Gallery”, and “National Defense”.
Past regent Dr. Ruth Kniep’s son, William, was awarded the DAR American History Scholarship to George Washington University and how pleased we were when he was presented at state conference. Chapter dues are now $20. Ruby Oddone was elected to the State Office of State Assistant Treasurer and Charlotte Vaught, regent, was commended by members for her research on the Weeks family.
An early Jamestown program was presented pointing out the alliance between the spiritual life and well being of the colony, Sir Walter Raleigh’s contributions to the colony’s growth, and the marriage of Sir Jon Rolfe and Pocahontas and her becoming a Christian.
Two books were presented to the National Library in memory of deceased members, “Cemetery Records of Reno County, Kansas” in memory of Emma Peck Kennedy, (Mrs. John G.) who died during 1980, and “S.C. Families and Local History”, a bibliography in memory of Miss Mary Frances Dark, deceased on December 23, 1980.
On March 22, 1980, our chapter dedicated a bronze marker on the grave of our last departed charter member, Miss Frances Washington Hunter Weeks. She is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown in the Weeks’ family plot. Another marker was dedicated to Mrs. Effie Smith Chatterton at Congressional Cemetery who died February 11, 1975.
“An Affair to Remember”, celebrating our chapter’s 65th birthday was held on March 13th, 1982 at the Chapter House during the second term of Regent, Malowe Case Ausen (Mrs. Julius J.) (1981-1983). Members participated at a Champagne party to entertain state officers, state chairmen, chapter regents and other guests at tea with a beautiful tiered cake and lively music. Vera Poe Archer (Mrs. Glenn L.) Chairman of Junior Membership and Junior American Citizens had her delightful son, Glenn as the official photographer for this special occasion and we were besieged with request for reprints.
America’s Yorktown Bicentennial celebration was saluted by the chapter with an address by Dr. Bernice Pearson, a professor at Montgomery County College and a patroness of the Yorktown celebration. Further, three members were recipients of Certificates of Participation in the Yorktown celebration.
The State Motto: “strength United is Stronger” was exemplified by members with generous support of State committees. Malowe Ausen, our Regent, is a life member of Seimes Microfilm Committee. Harwood McCoy not only earned her DAR Docent pin but chaired the State Constitution Week celebration. Eight American flags were presented to schools, 1,000 flag book markers and 50 flag codes were distributed.
Members enjoyed the beautiful voices of the Chevy Chase Madrigal Singers at a meeting and a lovely subscription luncheon in the home of the regent with five state officers in attendance.
Our chapter owns the Regent’s Insignia Pin which is passed to each new regent for her use during her term. She also was instrumental in opening the National DAR Library on Sunday afternoons from 1 to 5 p.m. with volunteers augmented with the Library staff.
In keeping with the enthusiasm generated by America’ Bicentennial fever during Ruby Oddone’s second term as Regent (1983-1985), members supported 100% the President General’s Bicentennial Project of air conditioning DAR National Headquarters. They further contributed generously to the U.S. Centennial Celebration project for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty in which our National Society played an outstanding role.
Our pride reigned supreme when our new junior member, Ellen Wicker Cummings (Mrs. Edwin), entertained at meetings with her beautiful voice and while our dedicated member Malowe Ausen was serving as State Librarian. We honored Eleanor Jones Bledsoe (Mrs. Edwin P.), with a 50-Year Certificate of Appreciation of DAR Service.
DAR sponsored schools; Kate Duncan Smith, Tamassee, and St. Mary’s Indian School were bequeathed in excess of $50,000 each by the will of our devoted member, Miss Emily Tiner, a member since 1932 who died February 3, 1983. Our National DAR Library was presented with the book “Western Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia Militia in Defense of Maryland” by Thomas V. Huntsberry in her memory. Also presented to the National DAR Library during Ruby Oddone’s term was “Abstracts of Wills of Montgomery City, Maryland 1776-1825” in memory of Edith Raymond DeZerne (Mrs. Hubert C.) who died Mary 13, 1976.
Ur of Ladew Gardens was enjoyed as well as watching our Treasurer, Rosie Barton, model a costume of Molly Brown of Colorado during a First Ladies of our States Fashion Show benefiting the D.C. Room at DAR National Headquarters.
Patriotic service continued by our members to our Veteran Patients at the VA Hospital in D.C. with gifts for their bingo games and money for their luncheons. We learned about life of American Indians on reservations and their adjustments when entering mainstream American life with an address by Mrs. Lorenzo Simmons, and American Indian, and were pleased to see a beautiful necklace that had been in the possession of President Johnson’s wife, and now the proud possession of a member.
Our membership on March 1, 1985 was 35.
The three year term of Beatrice Bishop Franklin (Mrs. Charles H.), as Regent (1985-1988) was the era of the Bicentennial of the Signing of the Constitution with many events centering around the State Regent, Mrs. May Day F. Taylor and her attention to Abraham Baldwin, the only signer of the constitution buried in the District of Columbia. Members participated in the celebration at the State sponsored rededication ceremonies of his grave at Rock Creek Cemetery and the tea that followed which was televised on Channel 7 News. They attended Constitution Day ceremonies in his honor at Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church and further enjoyed tea at the unveiling of his portrait in the D.C. Room at National and the ceremonies there when the portrait was prepared to be returned to the University of Georgia. Many members purchased his biography book, publication of which was arranged by the State Regent.
The placing in cement of the bronze marker purchased for John Augustine Washington, favorite brother of George Washington and a Colonel in the Revolutionary Army, was accomplished on a lovely Sunday in Mary 1986 at Pohick Church in Virginia. Most all State Officers and Chapter members plus our guests and members of the church were in attendance. A guided tour of the church by a church docent was followed by tea in the Fellowship Hall sponsored by members of the congregation.