Early History of the General Lafayette Chapter NSDAR
by: Mrs. Martin V.B. Scull
Read at the Meeting held at the home of Mrs. Floyd C. Simms, Ocean City, New Jersey
October 19, 1935
We are forty years old today. Your Regent has asked me to give you the high-lights of our past. I shall dwell on the earlier years of our existence--the efforts of those who made our chapter one of the outstanding chapters from the very beginning.
The National Society DAR organized at Washington, October 11, 1890, with Mrs. Benjamin Harrison (wife of the President of the United States) as President General.
One of their first patriotic deeds was the erection of a monument over the mother of Washington.
Miss Bing as Atlantic City after becoming a member realized there was splendid material in Atlantic County, as nearly all of the older families had descended from Revolutionary heroes. She discovered that Miss Sarah N. Doughty of Absecon was also a daughter, they held a consultation, the result—on June 16, 1895, the following officers were appointed: Registrar, Mrs. Kay Pitney; Secretary, Miss Emma Bing; Treasurer, Miss Eliza Scott Thompson. Mrs. Stryker had on June 6, 1895, named Miss Doughty Organizing Regent. Eighteen members qualifying.
On September 26, 1895, the officers of General Lafayette Chapter held their first meeting at Miss Bing's on Pennsylvania Avenue, Atlantic City. And on October 19, 1895, Miss Doughty, Regent, entertained the members at Luncheon, after which the organizing meeting was held. Mrs. William Sherrerd of Haddonfield was named Historian. It was decided to hold two meetings a year—spring and fall, Atlantic City to be headquarters. Mrs. Isabel Scott, Miss Eliza S. Thompson and Miss Louise Carmen were the Committee to plan the Spring Meeting. Miss Minnie Moore (Mrs. Tatem) of Haddonfield, Miss Maria Scott, of Philadelphia, and Mrs. Kay Pitney of Absecon, committee to prepare By-laws and Constitution. Mrs. Henry D. Moore of Haddonfield was elected Alternate to the Regent (Miss Doughty) to attend the DAR Congress held in Washington.
Those present beside the officers were: Miss Isabel Scott, Miss Louise Carmen, Miss Minnie Moore, Mrs. Mary Cordery, Miss Edith Nourse, Mrs. George Cramer and as a guest, Miss Elizabeth Massey. Absent members were Mrs. Roberts, Miss Roberts, Mrs. Glenn, Mrs. Sherrerd, and Mrs. Jarman.
It was decided that the admission fee should be three dollars, yearly dues two dollars, with an additional dollar for each meeting.
Miss Doughty's home with its Revolutionary associations was a most fitting place for a meeting of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Here too, on this same site, John Brainerd preached to the Indians.
The name selected for the chapter was at the request of Miss Doughty. Her father had been one of Marquis De Lafayette's escorts on his last visit to this country. The medal presented to him by General Lafayette and the uniform of General Doughty were among Miss Doughty's valued treasures.
On June 27, 1896, the officers met at "The Lenape", Pacific Avenue. Miss Doughty appointed the Board of Management, viz: Mrs. Moore, Mrs. Endicott, Mrs. Aikman, and Mrs. Hamlin, one vacancy to be filled later.
At the fall meeting of 1896, the charter was closed with the following members added to those already mentioned: Mrs. Elizabeth J. Murphy, Miss Louella Ingram, Mrs. Grace Aikman, Mrs. A.B. Endicott, and Mrs. Lola Perks.
April 1, 1896, the chapter held its meeting at the Roman Cafe on St. Charles Place. The State Regent, Mrs. Wright of Newark, was present advising on matters pertaining to the government and our relations with the National Society.
One of the interesting features of the occasion was the presentation of a gold spoon to one of our members, Mrs. Mary Cordery, she being a Real Daughter of the Revolution—to such only is the spoon presented.
The Constitution and By-Laws of the Society were adopted. Luncheon followed with twenty-five covers. The table was decorated with smilax, pansies, violets and daisies, ceiling being draped with festoons of smilax and American Flags--a large bunch of violets at each place, a most beautiful and patriotic scene.
The October meeting was held at Haddon Hall, Mrs. Cramer, Vice Regent, presiding in the absence of the Regent. Mrs. A.B. Endicott, Mrs. Aikman, Miss Ostrander, Committee. Such a Menu! Blue Points, Consommé, broiled Salmon, Sweet Bread patties, Orange Sherbert, Roast Turkey, Lobster Salad, Ice Cream and all the fixings. Am wondering what the cost of such a banquet would be today. Mrs. L.B. Corson and Mrs. James were added to the Board. Mrs. Sherrerd read a paper on Ancestry, and Miss Belle Scott entertained with a piano solo.
The Annual Meeting of 1897 was held at the St. Charles Hotel, Mrs. Shreve was elected Historian. Mrs. Balliett to the Board. Mrs. Depue State Regent was the honored guest. She called attention to the fact that the Daughters of the American Revolution were planning to present to France at the time of the World's Fair in 1900, a statue of Washington, as a token of appreciation of the great service rendered this country by the French during its struggle for Independence. General Lafayette subscribed to one share.
Miss Doughty reported the honor paid the chapter by the National Society in the appointing of two of her members, one as teller for the election of a Present General, the other as a Page. Miss Josephine Gardner gave a reading. You see she was called to service early in the life of the Chapter.
The Annual Meeting of 1898 was held at the Roman. Miss Doughty congratulated the chapter on being the second largest in the state with a membership of 50, so were entitled to another Delegate. Mrs. A.B. Endicott was elected as that delegate. An appropriation of $15.00 was made for the relief of sick soldiers (Spanish-American War) if any Soldiers were brought to Atlantic City.
Spring Meeting of 1899 was held at the Hotel Dennis. Mrs. Lindsay of Kentucky, one of the National Officers, spoke on Continental Hall. Mrs. A.D. Brockett, Ex-First-Vice President General, and a niece of Miss Doughty, urged the necessity of Lineage Books. Mrs. John F. Hall presented another gavel made from the wood taken from the British sloop "Regent" which was sunk at Chestnut Neck in 1777.
At the Annual Meeting in 1899 held at the Hotel Dennis, the chapter offered a prize of $5.00 in gold to any girl in the public school between the age of 12 and 16 years, for the best essay on General Lafayette. The next year the subject was Lieutenant Richard Somers, the Naval Hero of Atlantic County. Mrs. Shreve, Mrs. Hall, and Gertrude Albertson, Committee to make awards. The death of Mrs. Hannah Somers Davis, age 104, was reported. She with her half sister Mrs. Harriet Somers Lake, were Real Daughters of the Revolution, and members of General Lafayette Chapter.
April 28, 1900 was an eventful day. General Lafayette Chapter was hostess to the New Jersey State Society. The Meeting was held at the Windsor Hotel. Miss Doughty welcomed them in her usual cordial manner by announcing: "This is the first General Meeting of the Century. This is the first General Meeting of the year. This is the first General Meeting the Daughters of the American Revolution have held in Atlantic City." Mrs. Daniel Manning was the honored guest, Mrs. E.E. Batcheller of Somerville, State Regent. Other guests were Mrs. Ellen H. Walworth of Saratoga, NY, who was one of the four Founders of the National Society DAR; Mrs. Washington A. Roebling, of Trenton; Mrs. DePue, Ex-State Regent; Mrs. Hillman, Caesar Rodney Chapter of Delaware; and Mrs. Leo Kott of Baltimore Chapter, and first State Regent of Maryland. Besides all Chapter Regents in New Jersey were present. Mrs. Daniel Manning had been elected for a term of two years as President General. Mrs. Manning and Mrs. Peter Palmer were rival candidates for the appointment of Woman Commissioner for the Paris Exposition. Mrs. Palmer won. President McKinley immediately, with Congress approval, appointed Mrs. Manning to represent this country at the dedication of the Lafayette Memorial in Paris, and to unveil the handsome statue of Washington. This meeting was her last public function before sailing.
Mrs. Manning was a stately woman, blond coloring, of fine appearance with a winning personality, beautifully gowned in black net, velvet, and jet.
The dining room was charming. In the center of the room was a large square table seating 28, the honored guests and chapter Regents. The table formed a hollow square filled with handsome palms, plants and ferns. Small tables grouped around for the members of the Chapter. Decorations were violets. Centerpiece composed of Easter Lilies, Fleur-de-lis (France's National flower) and marguerites, around the candlesticks and banked here and there was the delicate pixie, the exquisite product of the Jersey woods. The table lamps and candles were dressed in red shades, and at each guest's place a corsage of violets, forming with the snowy linen the National colors. All violets were furnished by members from Mays Landing, Estellville, and Pomona.
October Meeting was held at the Dennis Hotel. Mrs. Joseph Thompson spoke on Flag Day, on DAR Day at the Buffalo to which she was a delegate from New Jersey.
The Spring Meeting was held at the Gladstone Hotel. Mrs. M.A. Devine, Chairman, Mrs. Althea Bedle, Vice-President General from New Jersey was the important guest. How well I remember her purple velvet gown. Miss Doughty gave her report of the Congress, also reported on Continental Hall, and the laying of the cornerstone, which function she attended while in Washington.
May 1905—another red-letter day for General Lafayette Chapter. It was our 10th Anniversary. Mrs. Donald McLean was the hoped-for guest. She came with all her new honors, having just been elected President General. Mrs. Joseph Thompson gave an able report of the Congress. "Backward Glances" by Mrs. Shreve, Historian. Miss Mecum, State Regent, spoke on educating the foreigners to become citizens. Mrs. McLean's speech was one never to be forgotten. In part she said: "The Revolutionary War began in New England and ended in the South. New Jersey was the pivot, and New Jersey soil has been baptized with the blood of heroes." In glowing words she referred to young Lafayette leaving his young wife and two babies to help the cause of Liberty, of the courage and strength he brought to Washington, who was criticized by Congress, intrigued against by his officers, and condemned by dissatisfied patriots.
A pretty feature of the luncheon was the presentation to Mrs. McLean of a beautiful dish of star-eyed pixie. The President General in her gracious aptness said, "It should be the star-eyed flower of hope for the Daughters of the American Revolution." Violets were plentiful. Our violet luncheons were the talk of the State. Purple was the Chapter color of our chapter. Of course there was a cake with ten candles. Mrs. John F. Hall read an original poem by Dr. James North commemorative of the occasion. Just here let me mention John F. Hall's History of Atlantic County, sent to Continental Hall Library, was the first contribution from New Jersey, and among the first from any Chapter.
October 6, 1911, was another wonderful day—the unveiling and dedication of the Monument at Chestnut Neck, in honor of those who lost their lives October 6, 1778. It was the 133rd Anniversary. Commissioners appointed by the Governor were Miss Sarah N. Doughty, Mrs. John J. Gardner, and Mrs. Joseph Thompson. Aides named by Commission were Mrs. Charlotte A Pitney, Mrs. Emily G. Shinn, Miss Eliza Scott Thompson, Mrs. M.A. Devine, and Mrs. Martin V.B. Scull. Hon. Walter Edge presided. He had presented the bill for the appropriation of $5,000.00 from the State. Jennings Band from Camden furnished the music. Invocation by Rev. Rundall of Atlantic City. Unveiling of Monument by Miss Sarah N. Doughty: Presentation of Monument by Mrs. Joseph Thompson; Acceptance of Monument by the State, General Wilbur F. Sadler, Adjutant General, representing Governor Wilson. Oration, Hon. Franklin Fort; Address Hon. John J. Gardner; Benediction, Rev. Hicks of Port Republic M.E. Church. The members of General Lafayette Chapter were very proud. They felt something worthwhile had been accomplished.
War clouds were gathering. Miss Doughty did all she could—organized her members in knitting and sewing, knitting garments herself. Her eyes were bad but her enthusiasm was great. Mrs. Thomas Scull was appointed as War Relief Committee. Her records are most complete, making our Service Flag possible.
On May 14, 1919, Miss Doughty left us. She had joined the Daughters in 1893 transferring from Boudinot Chapter in 1895. Truly a loyal Daughter of the American Revolution.
As Vice-Regent the duties of her office fell upon me. At the expiration of her term, was elected Regent for three years. During that time a year book was compiled. Building and Loan shares were subscribed, C.A.R. Chapter formed, with Miss Eloise Sweet Organizer, and Senior President. New Jersey Founder's Fund for New Jersey College for Women at New Brunswick, was urged, by Mrs. O.J. Hammell. Miss Mida C. Blake was sent as a page to Congress in Washington. The State Meeting was held in Atlantic City at the Hotel Chelsea with Mrs. Henry D. Fitts as State Regent, and Mrs. George Maynard Minor, President General and Mrs. Buel of Connecticut and Honored Guests.
Mrs. Thomas E. Scull followed as Regent 1923-1926. During her regime our membership reached its peak. Over 200 members giving us two delegates to Congress. Mrs. Charles W. Blake was elected State Historian, and State Chairman of Historical Research and Preservation of Records Committee, 1923-1926. Again the State Meeting came to Atlantic City, meeting in the Chelsea Hotel, Mrs. Charles R. Banks, State Regent, and Mrs. Anthony Wayne Cook, President General.
While Honorary Regent, 1926-1929, Mrs. Scull was elected as State Vice Regent, thus giving our chapter another honor.
Mrs. Stewart H. Shinn was Regent from 1926-1929. During her term of office 6 chairs for Constitution Hall were subscribed. The State Society again came to Atlantic City meeting at the Chelsea Hotel. Mrs. William A. Becker State Regent, and Mrs. Alfred Brosseau President General. Mrs. Becker appointed Mrs. Charles W. Blake to serve as State Chairman from 1926-1929, of Historical and Literary Reciprocity, now known as the Filing and Lending (sic) Bureau. During that period, Mrs. Blake sent to Memorial Continental Hall Library, more papers from New Jersey, than were sent from any other state in the Union. Mrs. Emily G. Shinn held office in General Lafayette Chapter continually from the time she joined until her death, a wonderful record.
Mrs. A.W. Ely followed serving 1929-1932. On October 16-17, 1930, the Eastern Division Meeting of the National Society was held in the Chalfonte Haddon Hall, Mrs. Lowell Fletcher Hobart, President General, presiding, Mrs. C. Edward Murray, State Regent. Four Hundred and four Daughters registered. Mrs. Ely had her troubles, but through her efforts a coast to coast Broadcast over the Columbia system of Mrs. Hobart's address was arranged. Mrs. Ely has always stressed Americanism and Manuals. She was appointed State Vice Chairman for Historic Spots.
Mrs. Samuel Johnson was our leader from 1932-1935. Inquiring what her High Spots were she replied: "Depression." There are always compensations, Miss Tyson responds to the call with the splendid Chorus, lifts us out of the depths and drives dull care away. We shared honors with Cape May Patriots, Kate Aylesford and Sarah Stillwell Chapters as hostess to the State Meeting held at the Chalfonte-Haddon Hall last year, Mrs. William Ward, State Regent. The State has again honored our chapter by electing our Honorary Regent, Mrs. Samuel Johnson, as State Historian.
Remarks on the present administration, Mrs. Charles W. Blake, Regent, will be up to my successor. Though judging from the dedication of Markers at Port Republic, October 5th, things will happen.
Very early our chapter sponsored scholarships for descendants from Revolutionary stock to some school in the Southern Mountains. At first money was raised by Teas and card parties. Later a scholarship has been given each year by Mrs. E. Gray Pendleton in memory of her son Edward who died of influenza at Camp Dix. Mrs. Nur J. Collins gave one in honor of her son John killed in action in France. Miss Elizabeth Eves, a protégé of Miss Doughty's, has sent $10.00 each year in memory of Miss Doughty. This $10.00 has been sent to the International College at Springfield, Mass. Mrs. Warren Somers has most efficiently headed the committee on Approved Schools.
Bible Records, Wills and Marriage Records, Cemetery Records, Genealogical Records of Gloucester and Atlantic Counties and of General Lafayette Chapter, have been compiled and bound, a book sent to Memorial Continental Hall Library, the State Library and one kept for the Chapter Library, in care of the Chapter Historian. All this has been accomplished through the untiring efforts of Miss Harriet I. Frambes, Miss Sarah A. Risley, Mrs. Walton Risley, and Mrs. Charles W. Blake.
I must mention another dearly loved daughter, Mrs. Samuel Barbash, who while with us gave of her talent and time, helping in every way to preserve the history of the County and Chapter. She with Miss Gardner kept us before the public by means of radio and newspapers. Miss Gardner has also served on Naturalization programs, giving the new citizens the glad hand and a welcome.
I wish to make a plea for the Children of the Revolution. Remember they are the hope in this muddle of Communism, Atheism, radicalism and all the other isms. They are the ones who must preserve our ideals and protect our heritage. The Senior President is enthusiastic and will do her best. Remember Charity begins at Home. She needs your help. Give it to her.
Credit must be given Miss Bing for compiling Scrap Book of earlier meetings, and to Mrs. J.G. Shreve for the splendid papers prepared and read before the Chapter.