The following is excerpted from an address given by
Ayesha Laidlaw, Organizing Regent
of the
Abi Evans Chapter
on the occasion of their 25th Anniversary,
February 8, 1952

 

"...I have been asked to tell the story of our organization and to summarize the twenty-five years. To relate the story of our beginnings, I must be a little personal, and for that I hope that you will forgive me.

In the Spring of 1925, I became a member of the Ypsilanti Chapter and it was also that year that we decided to return to Tecumseh. At the meeting when I was introduced as a new member, and the chapter was told that we were moving to Tecumseh, Mrs. Everett Collins from Britton ... was present. After the meeting she said 'Now perhaps the two of us can get a chapter organized. Tecumseh has many prospective members.' All our Ypsilanti friends urged us to do something about it. Since I was having a baby in the fall, Mrs. Collins said that she would take the initiative in getting started. In the following Summer, 1926, Mrs. Collins called with a letter from Mrs. Holland, the State Regent. The first step was to become members at large, and one of us be appointed as Organizing Regent. Mrs. Collins said she would be willing to do more than her share of the work if I would be appointed - I was in town; papers wouldn't be held up for signatures, etc. On October 20, 1926, I was appointed an Organizing Regent by the National Board of Management. Mrs. Holland wrote me several letters of instruction but I was more or less waiting for Mrs. Collins to get started when word came tome that her son was critically ill with appendicitis, and I believe he died; and her husband died shortly after. Mrs. Collins, of necessity, left the farm and move to Saline. Right then and there I realized I had a job to do. Both my boys had the whooping cough, but between whoops I found a few eligible persons who were interested, and that Mrs. J. H. Smith was a member at large. Mrs. Holland said she could come to Tecumseh December 10th, if I would get a group of interested persons together. A notice was put in the Tecumseh Herald for a luncheon at St. Peters (price 60 cents) and twenty-eight ladies responded. Many of them took home application papers - then began to call for help in filling them out. The only copies I had seen were my own.

Mrs. Holland was in Adrian January 20, 1927, so she asked me to bring over all completed papers. She was amazed when I had nine and promised others in a matter of days. With Mrs. Smith and myself we were assured a chapter (12 were necessary). She sent them to Washington immediately and all were accepted at a Special Board Meeting January 29th. Seven more papers were sent to Mrs. Holland to take to Washington for February 9th Board Meeting. From Washington Mrs. Holland wrote that she could come February 22nd to organize our chapter. Since then I have known of chapters spending a year or two in organizing. We did it in two months and twelve days. In true Tecumseh style, a pot luck luncheon was planned at the home of the Misses Grace and Jennie Gillespie..."

Mrs. Laidlaw continued to list highlights of the chapter history. A selection of the listed highlights follows:

"There have been three state officers from Abi Evans. Yours Truly served as State Librarian one year under Mrs. McDonald, and three years under Mrs. Schermerhorn. Mrs. Eugene Rosacrans served as Chaplain under Mrs. Gagely; and Mrs. Arthur Brown as Director under Mrs. Miller."

"...The portion of the cemetery on the south side of Evans Creek was an eye sore. The cemetery board plowed and seeded it and members donated shrubs, peonies, iris, and the committee, with their husbands, planted them."

Other highlights included marking graves, planting trees, sponsoring "Brownie Scouts", supporting the DAR schools and placing bronze plaques at historic locations.

"During World War II, eight members received Presidential Citations for driving ambulance, teaching Nutrition Canteen Classes, Nurses Aides, etc."

"Things have not always been rosy. The Lilly State Bank closed, the first in Michigan, with all our money. About two thirds of the members had paid their dues. The outstanding dues were not enough to pay our State and National obligations, but we were not down long. Mrs. Williamson loaned the money and Ethel Garlinghouse opened her home for a big card party and everyone was happy again."

For information on Membership - ddushane@aol.com
For general information - bettc@eecs.umich.edu

 


 

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