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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




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Site last updated 5 September 2011.