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Daughters of the American Revolution

by Lee Plummer Templeton, 2006

See also: American Revolution

The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) is comprised of women who have traced their families back at least to the time of the American Revolution and have found a forefather or foremother who served the revolutionary cause. The North Carolina chapter of the DAR, like its parent organization, is committed to the group's historical, educational, and patriotic ideals.

During the late 1800s, when a patriotic fervor swept the country, the national DAR was formed. In 1898 Mrs. E. D. Latta from Charlotte agreed to become state regent, or president, for the North Carolina Daughters of the American Revolution (NCDAR), organizing the Mecklenburg Chapter. Mrs. Stonewall Jackson, widow of the famed Civil War general, was regent of that chapter for its first two years. By July 1901, when the first state conference was held in Waynesville, Latta had started five chapters in the Piedmont and Mountain regions of the state. Since then, the NCDAR has formed 109 chapters with over 6,000 members. The different chapters are usually named for native sons and daughters who were patriots during the Revolutionary War. Two examples are the Elizabeth Maxwell Steele Chapter, named for a Salisbury woman who gave two bags of gold to Gen. Nathanael Greene as he and his hungry troops passed through her town in 1781; and the David Williams Chapter in Goldsboro, named for the man who helped capture Maj. John Andre in 1780 just after he had finished planning the betrayal of West Point with Benedict Arnold.

Throughout its existence, the NCDAR has undertaken projects of historical or cultural importance to North Carolina. Many monuments and markers have been placed throughout the state to identify sites and remind citizens of the rich historical bounty available to explore. These include monuments at Chief Junaluska's grave site in Cherokee County and at Andrew Jackson's birthplace in Waxhaw; a granite seat on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a memorial to Gen. William Richardson Davie, one of the school's founders; and markers at the graves of the three North Carolina signers of the Declaration of Independence, William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, and John Penn. The graves of many Revolutionary War soldiers have also been identified and marked.

During both World War I and World War II, the ladies of the NCDAR bought and sold wartime bonds; provided plasma and whole blood to the Red Cross; provided a bus, a mobile unit, money, surgical dressings, garments, socks, and garment bags to the Red Cross; worked with the USO; and organized home front wartime activities. In addition to these and other statewide projects, the NCDAR has also done its share to rebuild Memorial Continental Hall, the headquarters of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) in Washington, D.C. It has raised money for various projects in the hall and furnished the North Carolina room as a colonial dining room. The organization continues to contribute to the upkeep of Memorial Continental Hall. Several pamphlets, books, and a video also have been published to aid in genealogical research, to record the history of the NCDAR, and to note some of the history of North Carolina.

In years past several organizations for children were formed by both the NCDAR and the NSDAR. In 1938 the North Carolina State Society of Children of the American Revolution was organized. The Junior Group was designed to reach young women over 18 years old. Clubs of Sons and Daughters of the Republic were also sponsored by the NCDAR. The organization still sponsors an essay contest each February for high school seniors, with the local winner competing against other students in the state. The state winner receives recognition, money for tuition to the postsecondary school he or she wishes to attend, and a plaque. Every year, each chapter also gives an award to a high school ROTC student who best exemplifies the patriotic criteria of the contest.

References:

Ann Arnold Hunter, A Century of Service: The Story of the DAR (1991).

Lou Rogers, "The North Carolina Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution," We the People of North Carolina (March 1946).

Additional Resources:

North Carolina DAR: http://www.ncdar.org/ncdar/

National DAR: www.dar.org/

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Copyright notice

This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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