Address given by the Chapter Regent,
Mrs. Louise Barnum Robbins,
at the first meeting of the
Daughters of the American Revolution
in Adrian, Michigan,
19 April 1909.

Dear Sisters,

In deciding upon a date for the formation of our Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, it seemed eminently proper to convene you upon "Lexington Day", the anniversary of that famous day when the first blood of the Revolution was shed.  It seemed fitting to celebrate the institution of this Chapter by honoring the birth place of American liberty, the little town of Lexington, and those patriots of whom Webster said "They poured out their generous blood like water, never thinking whither it would fertilize the land of freedom or bondage."

In the performance of our patriotic work today, we pay reverent homage to the men and women who loved freedom better than riches and ease and power, and who bequeathed to us the priceless heritage of a free and munificent government.  In this work we are about to assume, may we gain renewed inspiration in love of Country, and may we rejoice to go forward in a line of work that shall be a tribute to the patriots who achieved American independence.
 

 "O spirit of that early day,
  So pure and strong and true,
  Be with us in the narrow way
  Our faithful fathers knew."


It gives me rare pleasure to welcome you to this initial meeting called for perfecting the organization of a chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

It has been my privilege and prerogative to aid you to become members of this society.  I am more than repaid for the care and responsibility that has been mine, to have secured so fine a body of women, representatives as you are of the old and esteemed families of Lenawee County.  I have been cheered and strengthened by your enthusiasm and interest, and honored by your cooperation, and I bespeak for you a united influence and labor in whatever patriotic effort you may assume.

Authorized and empowered by the National Board of Management, it is now my high honor and valued privilege to extend to you in the name of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution a formal and cordial welcome to its membership of seventy thousand women, and to wish you God speed in its patriotic mission, which is to preserve the spirit of liberty which animated the men and women of the Revolution: who with marvelous courage and unyielding determination founded this Republic.

I trust that we all believe that it is a sacred duty to be a Daughter of the American Revolution.  There are many patriotic societies, each with its exalted and noble aim.  There is room and work for them - all of them.

The Daughters of the American Revolution believe it is the duty of all patriots to aid in perpetuating the memory of that sublime war which added this new republic to the family of nations.

Macaulay said: "A people which has no pride in the achievements of remote ancestry will never achieve anything worthy to be remembered by remote descendants."

Hence it is well to preserve the traditions of our beloved country and the spirit of its founders with their lofty ideals of justice, liberty and humanity.

And who were they, our fathers?  In their veins ran the best blood of England's gentlemen.  Her bravest in the strife on battle plains.  Her wisest in the strife of voice and pen.

The history of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution is one of fascinating interest, founded as it is upon sentiments of gratitude, reverence and patriotism.  It was organized in Washington D. C., October 11th, 1890.  At that meeting eighteen names were enrolled for membership, eleven of whom paid their dues, and the society started out with only thirty three dollars in it treasury, but rich in its women of intense patriotism and high hope and courage.

Mrs. Benjamin Harrison from the White House gave the prestige of her name and influence as the first President General of this new and then weak society.  It was determined at this meeting that the society should not only be national in scope, but that its headquarters should be at Washington, and that the President General should be a woman of national repute.   Before the meeting closed those eighteen women with an unbounded loyal spirit "resolved - (I quote) - to use their minds, their hearts, their means to perpetuate the memory of the men and women who achieved American Independence; to encourage patriotism, and engender the spirit of Americanism; to teach patriotism by erecting monuments and protecting historical spots; by observing historical anniversaries; by promoting education, especially the study of history; by the preservation of documents and relics and the records of the individual services of the revolutionary soldiers and patriots."

What a great and new and noble work for women to undertake!

The press of the country spread the story of the organization of the new society, so unique in its plans and aims.  In the city and hamlet the women of the country were aroused.  Applications began to pour in, and soon the life of the young society was assured, strong in its devotion to our country, and with a vital interest in its preservation and progress, and a loyal allegiance to its institutions.

The society of the D.A.R. is not an aristocracy, as some who do not understand have said.  It was organized to honor the men who carried the musket, as well as the leaders and officers, to honor the privates, the drummers boys and fifers and the brave hearted women who served their country in their homes, who spun the flax and wove the cloth, while the men fought the battle of freedom.

It was organized that the names of those men and women should be inscribed on the pages of history, beside those of the officers and statesmen, all of whom were factors in making the nation.  Early in its history it was found that several women who had entered were daughters of men who served in the revolution.

It was thought that some mark of distinction should be bestowed upon these members, and a resolution was adopted in one of the early national meetings that a gold souvenir spoon should be given to every woman who proved to be a daughter of a revolutionary soldier.  It was thought at that time that not over one hundred  such women would be found, but the names of several hundred have been gladly enrolled and are held in high honor.  All have received the spoon, and those who have needed material aid have received it from the society and thus the hearts of those aged women have been tenderly gladdened and their lives honored.

This chapter about to be instituted is to have the signal honor and great privilege of welcoming, as a charter member, a "Real Daughter", one of Adrian's beloved and highly esteemed women, Mrs. Emeline Palmer, who brings her transfer from another chapter that she may be associated with us and with her daughter, who is also one of us in honoring our ancestors in the organization of this chapter.

  O Real Daughter!
 "A hero's blood in your veins doth run,
 Daughter of one in Liberty's strife,
 This is the gift he gave to you,
 A patriots heart and a patriots will,
 A soul to struggle your whole life through
 And to be the conqueror still."


The first chapter of the Daughters organized was Chicago Chapter, March 16, 1891.  From that time the chapters grew rapidly, and now number about nine hundred, scattered the country over.  This work has been the splendid work of the rank and file, and sustains the national society, following its example and helping to develop its patriotic work.  They have marked and restored historic spots, erected monuments and tablets, and thus have enriched our beloved country in preserving these historic shrines.

Thousands of obscure graves of revolutionary soldiers have been rescued from oblivion, and markers placed thereon, that the passer by may know that here rests a soldier of a war that changed the history of the world.  Old archives have been unearthed, rosters and town and county histories published.  Verifying and publishing the service of our revolutionary ancestors is of great value in increasing a personal and vital interest in the American Revolution.

Another great work of the Daughters is the building of Memorial Continental Hall, a massive white marble building as a tribute to the great army of the Revolution: the men of the line, the women of the home, and to all whom the nation delights to honor as patriots of the Revolution.  When completed, it is located in Washington, it will be the headquarters of the society where will be its offices, its relics, its archives, its library and its beautiful auditorium, where today is assembled the eighteenth Continental Congress of the society.  It is a beautiful and wonderful example of the devotion, the untiring efforts and the patriotic zeal of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

As we look back over the century and a quarter since that famous time of heroism and self sacrifice, of stress and tears and suffering and blood, but of determination and devotion, of great leaders and unrivaled statesmen, we realize what strength and loyalty and richness of life and purpose were in the ideals of that time.

We realize that we are a freer people because those patriots contended for human rights and liberty.  We rejoice and are reverently proud to represent their lineage and to unite, in honor of their lofty teachings, their sublime valor and their unselfish labor for their country.

There is not time to tell you more of the work of the society, but let me add that of all the patriotic societies none can show broader efforts to disseminate pure American principles, based upon history, than this unique society of which your are a part.

In honoring the soldiers of the Revolution we do not detract from the glory and heroism of all the brave men who have fought in all the wars of our country.  All deserve and receive highest mead of praise and remembrance from a grateful country.

And now what shall be the special work of this chapter?  Time for conference and opportunity will develop our plans.

So long as there remains one hero or heroine of the revolution to commemorate; so long as equal justice for the weak and the mighty is not enforced, there is work to be done by a patriotic people.  To this high mission I call you: to this study of valor, of matchless statesmanship of exalted patriotism, I welcome you.

The Daughters of the American Revolution owe grateful recognition to those who planned that marvelous revolution, fought its battles, conquered its enemies and drafted those wonderful rules of government which are the marvel of the world.

We today enjoy the fruits of their labors and foresight in founding the Republic and it is indeed a sublime privilege the Daughters of the American Revolution have in representing their lineage and in uniting to help preserve the principles of that patriotism which animated the men and women of the Revolution.

Let us strive to emulate the splendid work of our revered ancestors and to aid in preserving intact our heritage of free homes and a free country.  As we organize this chapter today, let it be with the hope that when we too have served our day and generation, it may be said of us that we lived up to the privileges and possibilities of daughters of the Republic:
 

 "That we cared not to be great
 But as we saved or served the State."
For information on Membership - ddushane@aol.com
For general information - bettc@eecs.umich.edu

 


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