Nanticoke Chapter

Princess Anne, Maryland

 

Dorrie Moon, Nanticoke Regent 2010-2012

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deBry image of Native Americans.

On May 21, 1932, a group of ladies met at the home of Elba Wright Wheatley in the town of Hurlock in Dorchester County, Maryland, to organize a chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. They adopted the name “Nanticoke” for the chapter, naming it after the river that flowed from Sussex County, Delaware, to the Chesapeake Bay which had the same name as one of the tribes of the Native Americans who inhabited the area. The name appealed to the members in that many of their ancestors had made their homes along the shores of the Nanticoke River.  Today, we honor the name of the Native Americans. 

 

 

Male Native American depicted on 17th Century Augustine Hermann map.

 There were nineteen organizing members. First Regent Mrs. Wheatley Vice Regent – Hattie Brown; Chaplain – Bessie Pollitt MacAllen; Recording Secretary – Hester A. Neild; Treasurer – Madeline Murphy; Registrar – Bessie Harper; Historian – Vivian Wheatley; and Color Bearer – Isabel Bratten. The other members were Belle T. Whyte, Helen Bowie Clary, Sidney Tull Jones, Lula Staplefoot Brooks, Cora Camper, Melba B. McAllen, Mary D. Curry, Medora T. Dashiell, Virginia Holland, Katherine Baker, and Nannie Young. In those early days, meetings were held in the homes of the members, most of whom lived in Dorchester, Talbot, or Wicomico County, Maryland, or Sussex County, Delaware.


 

 

Reminiscent of the Fenwick lighthouse, we once had many lighthouses on the Chesapeake Bay.
The Nanticoke Chapter has been active over the years in recording and maintaining a historical record of the area. Members placed the historical marker near the site of the former courthouse at Dividing Creek and marked the graves of Revolutionary War soldiers, Henry Miles and Thomas Seon Sudler.  We have participated in Olde Princess Anne Days, Flag Day ceremonies, and the Bell Ringing Across America on July 4th. Annually we sponsor Constitution Week activities and an American History Essay Contest for Somerset County students in fifth through eighth grade. Twice our essay winners have gone on to win at the state level. We have also sponsored a local history teacher who won the Maryland State DAR competition for History Teacher of the Year. The chapter earned a national award for its project of audio-taping area senior citizens relating their memories of days gone by. The tapes were donated to the Somerset County Library in Princess Anne. We provide “DAR Good Citizen” awards and ROTC awards to a graduating senior from Washington High School and Crisfield High School. We have sponsored several students who have received college scholarships through DAR.

  In 1976 Nanticoke participated in many Bicentennial celebrations. Special church services were held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church near Marion where members dressed in colonial costumes and several State DAR officers attended. A history luncheon and program was held at Trinity Church in Marion. The chapter placed items in the time capsule at Crisfield in the Pyramid at the Housing Authority headquarters, scheduled to be opened in 2076.
The Somerset County Commissioners asked the chapter to sponsor a program to distribute Wye Oak seedlings to historical sites in the County. Although many of these seedlings have since succumbed to weather or lawn mowers, there is one still growing in the St. Paul’s Church yard in Marion Station. Membership in the chapter grew as interest in history grew all over the country.  The chapter placed a historical marker near the site of the former courthouse at Dividing Creek, earned a national award for a taping project of memories of senior citizens, and marked the grave of Revolutionary War soldier Capt. Henry Miles.
 

 

  By the mid-1960s, no chapter had been formed in Somerset County (or Worcester, 1966,Gov. Levin Winder). The Maryland State Regent, Mrs. Wilson King Barnes, wanted a chapter in every county in the state. Since there was another chapter called Dorset based in Cambridge in Dorchester County, at Dorothy (Mrs. Edward H.) Wilson’s first meeting as regent in Snow Hill at the home of her aunt Frances H. (Mrs. Harvey C.) Pusey, on 24 September 1966, the Nanticoke Chapter unanimously voted to move its base to Princess Anne, thus establishing the Nanticoke Chapter’s home in Somerset County. Among those Daughters were: Madora Turpin (Mrs. Arzah T.) Dashiell, Ruth Porter (Mrs. William) Hall, Mrs. Omar Jones, Anna Jones Wilson (Mrs. Lionel) Howland, Mrs. Vivian Harper, Lucy Lang (Mrs. George) Sparrow and her daughter Genevieve (Mrs. Milton) Elliott. In those days, the Nanticoke members were still meeting in homes, so the county designation was not necessarily viewed as a significant change.


  Chapter meetings are rarely held in members’ homes,
now.  Instead, members  usually meet for lunch at a restaurant or a church hall.  Programs are designed to enhance our members’ knowledge of history as well as other topics of interest to women. We have traveled to the Nanticoke Indian Museum in Millsboro, Delaware, to the Mason-Dixon Line marker between Delmar and Mardela, to the home of a Revolutionary War soldier, to the Nabb Research Center at Salisbury University, and to a member’s historical home outside Annapolis. We have had speakers talk about everything from postcards to medicinal plants, from Revolutionary War weapons to women’s health issues.



 

 
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Last updated 23 August 2010