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Scenes from Columbia County

Columbia City Courthouse (1906)

Chapter History

During the terms of Alice Wilson Grove, President General, and Ruth McBride Powers, State Regent, the Mount St. Helens Chapter was organized with 17 members on the 16th of April, 1955, and named for the beautiful Mount St. Helens viewed across the Columbia River from the city of St. Helens, Oregon. Alice Victoria Trow Wood was elected the first Regent with Pearl Ross Becker as Vice Regent, Ethel Nelson Robbins as Chaplain, Dorothy Judd Jewell as Recording Secretary, Mary Mobley Jacobs as Treasurer, Livona Berenice Brownlow as Registrar, Helen Frances Miller Vaughn as Historian and Irene Beatrice Lakin Larson as Librarian. The charter was issued by the National Society on June 19, 1956.

Charter members were: Pearl Ross Becker, Kathleen Berenice Brownlow, Livona Berenice Brownlow, Gladys Smith Carter, Beulah Post Hall, Florence E. Hamilton, Esther Hinshaw, Mary Mobley Jacobs, Dorothy Judd Jewell, Irene Beatrice Lakin Larson, Mildred Smith Patterson, Florence Conant Paulson, Ethel Nelson Robbins, Elizabeth F. Smith Simeral, Olga Conant Fox Thompson, Helen Frances Miller Vaughn, Alice Victoria Trow Wood, Fairy Fern Fisher, Leonla Helen Harrison, Mary Ellen White Hobbs, Rea Mae Johnson Janes, Nora Isabelle Maclay Jordan, Helen Geraldine Pease, Hazel Augusta Waite, Mary Gibson Maclay Whittier.

Once established, Mount St. Helens Chapters – the first Chapter to be organized in Columbia County, Oregon, 35th in Oregon, and the 2012th in the Nation proceeded, and continues, to take an active role in the community.

The Chapter has preserved local history by placing markers at the grave site of Thomas McKay, an Oregon Pioneer, in Scappoose, Oregon (1967); the home of Henry M. Knighton, the founder of St. Helens, Oregon (1970); and the John McVey House, which served as an early store and U.S. Post Office in Columbia City, Oregon (1980). The Thomas McKay grave site was rededicated September, 1997. Other sites pursued for marking were the grave of John McNulty, an early river boat captain, and the Johnson residence, both in St. Helens, Oregon.

In 1969, Mount St. Helens was honored when member Rea Mae Janes was selected as "Outstanding Junior" for the Oregon State Society of Oregon. Greater honor was received when she was selected "Outstanding Junior" for the Northwestern Region, NSDAR. Because of her endeavors, she was also selected to serve as a Page during the National Society’s Continental Congress in Washington, DC, 1969.

In 1997 Mount St. Helens sponsored its first member to be elected to the office of State Regent, OSSDAR. She was Virginia G. Burgh, who served from 1998 to 2000. Her theme was "Sculpturing the Trails to a New Century and a New Millennium" and her state project was the restoration of Oregon State Society's Butteville School Building located on the grounds of the Robert Newell House Museum complex, St. Paul, Oregon. Many other members have, and continue to, serve on the State Executive Board in various offices.

Chapter members sit on the Caples Buildings & Grounds Committee that oversees the maintenance of the Oregon State Society owned and operated museum complex and the Knapp Social Center located in Columbia City, Oregon. The main buildings and lot were a gift from Mount St. Helens Chapter member, Del Caples Houghton (1959). In 1977 Fleet Day was recommended by member Eugenia Dooley and was established as a fund raiser to promote the museum and to allow visitors a close-up view of naval vessels sailing up the Columbia River at the start of the annual Portland, Oregon Rose Festival. The Chapter continues to give full support to this endeavor.

Under the sponsorship of the Chapter and the guidance of Mrs. A. T. Brownlow, the Loo-Wit Society, Children of the American Revolution was organized on September 21, 1957. Although this society was disbanded during the 1970’s, Mount St. Helens Chapter continues to render support to the organization on state and national levels. Members Rea Mae Janes and Virginia G. Burgh have served as Senior State Presidents (1972-1975 and 1992-1994 respectively) thus promoting education and patriotism among the young people of Oregon. Virginia G. Burgh has served as senior national officer of the Western Region for several years. In addition to this, each year the Chapter recognizes the outstanding students of each high school in Columbia County, Oregon, with awards and a tea as part of its educational goals and presents an American flag to a worthy group or place to foster patriotism.




Photograph by Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives.
Page last updated:  02/05/2017