DAR members continue family contributions of service

Tied to American history

Leading the Pledge of Allegiance at the Daughters of the American Revolution meeting is Marti Crawford.

Leading the Pledge of Allegiance at the Daughters of the American Revolution meeting is Marti Crawford.

After inheriting family Bibles and pictures dating back to the 1820s from several ancestral lines, Marti Crawford found a love and passion for American history.

Further research of Crawford’s genealogy allowed her to gain membership into the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) for her mother before she passed away.

Crawford currently is the regent of the Jane Randolph Jefferson chapter of the DAR.

Many of the members similarly have happened into family history that intrigues them to do the research required to join the organization. The DAR is limited to those who can document their lineage back to a male or female ancestor “who materially aided in the cause of American independence through military, civil or patriotic service.”

The local chapter has more than 100 members, an increase of more than 20 percent in the last decade. More than a dozen members have been involved for longer than 40 years.

Members range in age from 18 to “golden oldies” and their backgrounds include professionals, stay-at-home moms and retirees. Their political affiliations differ, too.

“It brings together a diverse group of people,” said Eva Yeager, public relations chairman. “We love the history of our country; we should always remember where we came from.”

At its February meeting, the local chapter recognized local high school students who competed in the annual Good Citizenship Essay contest.

The local chapter supports a room at the Governor’s Mansion, where most of the furniture has been donated by DAR members. They are caretakers of a historical marker at the river overlook park at the intersection of Madison and State streets.

To promote education, they sponsor Constitution Week each September.

The local chapter presents American flags to new citizens and attends naturalization ceremonies.

The DAR will partner with the Sons of the American Revolution for some projects.

And, the local chapter is particularly fond of supporting the Central Missouri Honor Flight program.

Many of today’s patriotic organizations require affiliation with a contemporary veteran, Yeager noted. The DAR creates an avenue for those without that connection to express their fervor.

“The research could be daunting, but we have a network of people to help research,” Yeager said.

Although online genealogy website may raise interest in family history, official documentation is required to prove direct lineage from a present-day person back to the patriot.

The chapter is eager to help people in the process of proof and data collection.

As chapter registrar, Donna Medley is available to help complete the paperwork.

“It’s a wonderful thing to do,” Medley said.

Not all qualifying patriots were soldiers, however, Yeager noted.

Her ancestor was a clergy held in the Sugar House Prison for aiding the fight against Britain, she said.

What is necessary is documentation explaining how the patriot supported the cause.

“It was a painstaking decision to separate from their home country and preserve what they had,” Yeager said. “They loved and believed deeply in what they were doing.”

The genealogy research also opens family conversations for oral history, that can be “really fun,” said Katie Winkler, chapter librarian, Constitution Week chairman and state flag chairman.

Namesake Jane Randolph Jefferson was the mother of President Thomas Jefferson.

The DAR was established nationally in 1890 and locally in 1897.

Every DAR meeting begins with recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance, the Constitution’s Preamble and the American’s Creed by William Tyler Page. And the gavel used was a gift from Florence Ewing Towles, the first regent.

Other DAR chapters in Mid-Missouri include Camdenton, Columbia, Eldon and Fulton.

“We do great things to give back to the community and educate about history,” Winkler said. “It’s really important not to lose sight of where you’ve come from.”

For more information, send an e-mail to jane.r.jefferson@gmail.com.




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