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Bernard Romans Chapter


It was during the State Regency of Mrs. A. F. Fox of West Point, Mississippi that the Shuk-ho-ta Tom-a-ha Chapter of Columbus reached an enrollment of fifty members, and it was realized that there was ample material for another Chapter in Columbus. Under the enthusiastic guidance of Mrs. Fox and Mrs. John M. Morgan (Wildie Billups) of Columbus, a new Chapter was organized in the home of Mrs. Morgan on October 20, 1913. The original Charter shows that there were 29 Charter Members.

Seeking a name for the Chapter, an appeal was made to Dr. Dunbar Rowland, Director of Mississippi Archives and History Department, who suggested the name of Bernard Romans. A native of Holland, he was one of the first white men to visit this area in 1771, when he and William Burtram, as surveyors, explored the area along the Tombigbee River between the present sites of Aberdeen and Columbus, then a vast forest, camping eight days at the point where the Luxapalila flows into the Tombigbee River.

Bernard Romans was called a universal genius. He was a botanist, engineer, mathematician, artist, surveyor, engraver, writer, cartographer, linguist, soldier, seaman and he possessed many other talents, any one of which would have given him distinction. He painted a beautiful miniature of his wife which is still preserved in the family.

Although he was employed to survey by the British, during the Revolutionary War he was a staunch and loyal American and was made Captain of the Company of American Artillery in Pennsylvania. He was sent to South Carolina where he was captured by the British. Although of foreign birth, in action and in speech, he showed patriotism of the highest degree at a time when our Country needed all the help it could get.

Because of all that he was and all that he stood for, the new Chapter was named for the noted surveyor, Bernard Romans, receiving its Charter July 8, 1914 and National Number 1158.

In 1914, the Bernard Romans Chapter gave a scholarship to a Columbus girl at the Industrial Institute and College (I. I. & C.) and named it The Pauline V. Orr Scholarship for the beloved Chapter Historian, who for many years was head of the English Department at I. I. & C.

The first Chapter Regent was Nannie Oliver King (Mrs. Howard); the second was Fay Naughton Simms (Mrs. F. R.). During Mrs. Simms' term in office (1914-1917), the Bernard Romans Chapter received a deed to a plot of land forty feet square on the exact site, between Macon and Shuqualak in Noxubee County, where the Dancing Rabbit Creek Treaty was signed. The Treaty ceded to the United States by the Choctaw Indians all their land in Alabama and Mississippi and provided for the removal of all Indians to Oklahoma, then known as Indian Territory.

While Mrs. Allison Hardy was Regent (1924-1926), we were co-hostesses with Shuk-ho-ta Tom-a-ha for the State Conference in 1926. During this administration, markers were place on the graves of Samuel Edmonson and John Murphy, Revolutionary War Soldiers.

During Mrs. Mayfield's administration (1927-1928), a marble marker was erected on the site of the signing of the Dancing Rabbit Creek Treaty.

In 1932, while Mrs. S. T. Pilkinton, Sr. was Regent, the John Foster Society of the Children of the American Revolution (CAR) was organized under the leadership of Mrs. Etta S. Palmer. The Society was named for Mrs. Palmer's Revolutionary War Ancestor, Lieutenant and Ensign John Foster, 1739-1800, of South Carolina.

1932-1936 while Mrs. S. L. Hollingsworth was Regent, Bernard Romans Chapter and the American Legion Auxiliary erected a Memorial Gateway at the entrance of Magnolia Bowl Football Field. The structure contains the names of all Lowndes County Soldiers who made the Supreme Sacrifice during World War I. Also, during this time a boulder was placed on the Campus of Mississippi State College for Women (MSCW) during the celebration of the College's Fiftieth Anniversary, showing it to be the first State supported college for Women in America.

During 1944-1948 while Mrs. M. D. Gilchrist was Regent, we again entertained the State DAR Conference.

Through the years members of the Bernard Romans Chapter DAR have distinguished themselves by serving as State Chairmen, State Officers and Officers on the National Level.

Material for this History was collected by Mrs. S. L. Hollingsworth, Mrs. H.C. Farrow, Mrs. Nannie King and Mrs. J. W. Slaughter, Sr., for Mrs. Hollingsworth who wrote the History. Rewritten in 1980 by Sarah Cox Husband.

The History Updates After 1980

On October 11, 1980 Bernard Romans met with the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) and unveiled a plaque honoring three Revolutionary War participants who were buried in Mississippi - Nathaniel Lawrence, William Cocke, and John Murphy.  The plaque was presented to the Lowndes County Courthouse.

In 1985, the Chapter sponsored a DAR Traveling Genealogical Library in Columbus for 1 month. 

In 1996, Bernard Romans contributed to the Mississippi DAR book on its 100th Anniversary.  The published book, History of the Mississippi Society Daughters of the American Revolution, was presented to the local library.

November 12, 1997, the Chapter presented a handmade flag to the Public Library.  The flag was made in 1918 to honor World War I veterans.  There are 40 stars with each one representing a man from Lowndes County who served in the War.  There are two gold stars for the men killed in battle.

In the years between 2004-2007, Bernard Romans joined other state chapters in compiling information on each memberís ancestors and patriots.  This information was published in a book entitled Mississippi Daughters and their Ancestor Patriots, 4th Edition which was donated to the local library.

Excited members on November 24, 2008, assisted in the United States District Court Northern District of Mississippi Naturalization Ceremony.  Approximately 150 people from five different countries took the oath of citizenship at Mississippi University for Women.  The Bernard Roman members presented each new citizen with an American flag lapel pin.

In July 2009, Bernard Romans created its very own website with thanks to Jennifer and Mike Counihan.

In 2010, Bernard Romans held several grave marking ceremonies to honor deceased DAR members.  A metal DAR emblem was placed on tombstones for all to see.  Chaplain Sandra DePriest presided over these moving occasions.

On May 18, 2014, Bernard Romans celebrated its 100th anniversary with a Centennial Tea at the Fort House, the home of Reverend Sandra and Don DePriest. State Regent Billie Breedlove and Vice President General Janet Whittington joined Chapter Regent Alice Stallworth Lancaster in the receiving line. Teleah Carter served as chairman of the tea. On behalf of Mississippi Congressman Alan Nunnelee, Warner DePriest presented the chapter with an American flag flown over the US Capitol.

Centennial Chairman Jane Smith and member, Pam Bullock, prepared a centennial historical power point program that was presented at a chapter meeting and at the Tea. Several scrapbooks of yearly chapter activities, the chapter charter, certificates of two charter members, history of chapter members, information on chapter Regents, the mayorís proclamation, photos of all the chapter sponsored boulders and bronze plaques placed by the chapter, were also at the tea and chapter meeting. Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Bullock created two visual displays of Bernard Romans Chapter memorabilia for the Columbus Lowndes Public Library.

The core activities of Bernard Romans has continued yearly with the support of Education, Military, Historic Preservation, Rosalie, Community, Historic Records and the promotion of DAR.

History Update compiled in 2014 by Jane Garton Smith.

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Site last updated September 15, 2016.