Happy 60th anniversary to the local chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution!
Lucedale’s Declaration of Independence Chapter was formed in 1963. Its members have verified and documented their heritage to a revolutionary patriot or person who assisted in the effort for the American Colonies to declare freedom from Great Britain during the American Revolutionary War.
The late Carol Nelson Murphy organized the chapter and became its first Regent from 1963-1967. Murphy served as Mississippi’s State Regent from 1980-1983 and on the national level as Vice-President General from 1983-1986.
Other organizing members of the local chapter were: Doris McCaskey Bounds, Marie Sanders Cochran, Mary Johnson Dorsett, Carolyn Russell Evans, Mary Evelyn Dorsett Evans, Maxine Howard Goff, Mary Elsa Murphy Hocker, Beale McLeod Howard, Maud Durrett Johnson, Elizabeth Claredy Johnson, Stella Stephens Morgan, Fannie McLeod Pittman, Bernice Morgan Sellers, and Vera Louise Sellers Underwood. Of those founding members, three are still living including Mary Evelyn Evans who has remained an active, faithful member and chapter officer throughout the chapter’s history.
The public is invited to share in the chapter’s celebration on Friday, September 15, at the George County courthouse. A breakfast reception will begin at 8:30 a.m. followed by a brief program. The September 15 date was selected as a preliminary event to the observance of Constitution Week which begins Sunday, September 17, and runs through September 23. September 17 is the date the United States Constitution was drafted by the Constitutional Convention in 1787.
The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution is more commonly called the DAR. It dates back to October 11, 1890, during a time marked by a revival in patriotism and intense interest in the country’s beginnings. A group of pioneering women in the nation’s capital formed an organization to support this interest. The purpose of that original organization remains steadfast today. The three main objectives are historical preservation, education, and patriotism. Today the organization has more than 3,000 chapters across the United States as well as in foreign countries.
Some of the projects in which DAR members participate to preserve cultural heritage include restoring and maintaining historical sites, locating and marking gravesites of American Revolution patriots, and preserving genealogical records, artifacts and historical documents. For example, the preservation of the historic George County courthouse in the 1970s was spearheaded by the local DAR. Mrs. Murphy and another dedicated DAR member, the late Lane Taylor, successfully promoted that project along with help from other chapter members. In the area of education, some of the projects in which members participate include supporting schools and providing scholarships and awards to outstanding students. Two awards given annually to George County students are the DAR Good Citizen Award and the Junior ROTC Award. For the patriotism objective, members volunteer for veterans’ projects, recognize the Constitution during Constitution Week, and participate in naturalization ceremonies. Locally, the Declaration of Independence Chapter sponsors Wreaths Across America in the Magnolia Cemetery. Tombstones of veterans are marked with live green wreaths tied with red bows in December. The chapter started that project last year and intends to make it an annual event.
To learn more about the DAR visit the national website at www.dar.org or better yet, join the local celebration on the morning of September 15!