Yellowstone Genealogy Forum
Daughters of American Revolution
(Shining Mountain Chapter)
Revised Wednesday, March 23, 2005
This Yellowstone County chapter created the basic foundation of historic preservation and better education that exists throughout the area. Founded on February 22, 1918, with 25 founding members. It received its name from the snow-capped peaks of the region seen on January 1, 1743 by de la Verendrye brothers who were seeking a passageway to the Pacific by King Louis XIV of France. Mrs R C Dillavou (44 Clark Ave), a descendant of Governor William Bradford of the Plymouth Colony, was state regent for the society.
During the first years of operation, the chapter supported ten French war orphans, and experienced rapid membership growth. They distributed copies of the American’s Creed and Constitution to schools in three counties. They took over an “Americanization school” for education of foreign-born persons from the Women’s Club in 1923. The best school student received a $10 gold piece for outstanding effort. Later it became a $50 citizenship award, with the program extended to West High School in 1960.
October 7, 1925 a bronze tablet, commemorating the Lewis & Clark Expedition down the Yellowstone River to a point where they passed near Billings on July 24, 1806, on their return trip from the Pacific Coast. The bronze tablet was dedicated by the chapter and moved to the fairgrounds in Billings. This tablet was destroyed by a fire, then later replaced with an identical reproduction. It is attached to a large boulder. A rededication ceremony was performed on October 8, 1979.
In 1927 a second chapter was organized in Billings.
May 19, 1927 a bronze tablet, embedded in granite, dedicated the planting of 53 Chinese Elms located at the entrance to Memorial Drive on the east side of Billings Senior High School. Each tree honors the 52 soldiers and nurse from Yellowstone County who sacrificed their lives in World War I. At the base of each tree is a small bronze marker identifying the name of the person who died in that battle. The inscription located at the entrance reads: “MEMORIAL TREES - Dedicated with grateful Reverence to the Heroes of Yellowstone County who gave their lives in the World War. Erected under the auspices of Shining Mountain Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, 1927.”
May 24, 1928, a copper tablet honoring his discovery of the huge rock formation, known as “Pompey’s Pillar” by Captain William Clark, during his return from the Pacific Coast. He named the rock after his son, Pomp. This tablet is located at the site.
According to Clark’s diary notes he said: “It is nearly 200 paces in circumference, 200 feet high and accessible only from the northeast, the other sided consisting of perpendicular cliffs of a light colored gritty stone. The soil on the summit is five or six feet deep, of good quality, and covered with short grass. The Indians have carved the figures of animals and other objects on the sides of the rock, and on top are raised two pillars of stones.” Aniother place in his journal he wrote: “I marked my name and the day of the month and year.”
When the NPR was being constructed to Billings in 1882, Col. J. P. Clough, engineer of the NPR Yellowstone Division, saw that Clark’s name was being rapidly effaced by vandals, he constructed a protective cover, with President Henry Villard’s instructions. The cover was made of double iron screen, 30-1/2 by 24 inches in size, and held in place by lead anchors firmly embedded into the rock face. The vandals had carved various names about his signature and date, and even over some of the letters and between the lines.
May 24, 1928 re-tracing and creating a deeper impression restored the signature of Captain Clark, located on Pompey’s Pillar rock face. The inscription was re-carved first by a stonecutter in Col. Forsythe’s command on June 3, 1875, after finding that it was severely deteriorated. This is the only inscription carved by any members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition over their entire route. Later, in 1882, when the Northern Pacific Railroad helped to attach a protective enclosure. They had another stonecutter re-trace the signature before installing the grid. There have been other reports of re-tracing to help preserve the signature, and tests conducted to determine the “rate of deterioration.”
September 21, 1930 members of the Shining Mountain Chapter, and the Lion’s & Commercial Club in Hardin, Montana dedicated a bronze tablet to Fort Custer. This marker was placed on a well-traveled road at the edge of the old fort. Fences now enclose it and the ranch owners and persons living therein restrict access.
In 1934, (the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s birthday) Virginia Evergreens, representing the 13 original colonies were planted by the DAR in Pioneer Park.
June 17, 1934 a bronze marker commemorating the soldiers who sacrificed their lives at the Battle of the Rosebud on June 17, 1876. In this battle, General Crook engaged the Sioux, Cheyenne and Allied Indian Tribes under the command of Crazy Horse.
The monument is constructed of concrete and cinder stones gathered from the field. Among the ceremony were a number of Cheyenne Indians, including four who participated in the battle.
June 14, 1947 a bronze tablet was placed on the grave of Orpha Zilpha Parke Bovee, the only truly identified daughter of the American Revolution believed to be buried within the Montana borders. She died at her daughter’s home near Cedar, Montana on January 6, 1913, aged 101 years, 8 months and two days. She was born May 14, 1811. The marker, placed above the gravestone, was accomplished by Shining Mountain Chapter, several years before the Yellowstone River Chapter DAR, who provided the details about this event was organized.
Projects for the society have ranged from preserving Montana books in the Library of Congress, activities at Custer Battlefield, participation in national holiday observances, flood relief, assistance to Native American Indians, and support to DAR schools. They have provided a strong influence into better humanity understanding for the region.