Colonel George Moffett Chapter

National Society Daughters of the American Revolution

Beaumont, Texas | Organized February 1906

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History of Our Chapter

The organizational meeting of the Colonel George Moffett Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution was held in Beaumont, Texas, February 8, 1906, in the home of Mrs. Benjamin Rush Norvell. Its organization

was recognized by the National Society on March 15, 1906, as Chapter number 700.

There were fifteen charter members with Mrs. H. M. Whitaker serving as the leader; however, she suggested Mrs. B. Rush Norvell serve as the first regent. Mrs. Whitaker had not lived in Beaumont very long and felt it would be more appropriate for one connected with a native family to begin such a society as DAR.

Mrs. Norvell had been Miss Aurelia McCue of Stoventon, Virginia, and had come to Beaumont as the bride of Benjamin Rush Norvell, whose family had been prominent in Beaumont for two generations. Mrs. Norvell was well read in American history and was familiar with the aims of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. It was thought appropriate by the Beaumont group to honor her by naming the new chapter for her Revolutionary ancestor, Colonel George Moffett, although it is of record that the first name chosen for the new chapter was that of Thomas Jefferson, which however, had already been selected by another chapter.

Colonel George Moffett, for whom the Beaumont chapter was named, was born in Virginia in 1735 and died in 1811 in his home “Mount Pleasant,” Augusta County, Virginia. This home was built by him as an Indian fort.

He was a captain in the Indian wars and was a colonel in the Revolutionary War, fighting in the battles of The Cowpine, Kings Mountain, and Guilford Court House.

In civil life, he was a Justice of the Peace and a member of the military court.

He was a firm believer in religious freedom, and in higher education as is evidenced by his being one of the founders of Washington College – now Washington and Lee University..

The organizational beginning of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, of which Colonel George Moffett Chapter became a part, was similar to the beginning of this chapter in Beaumont.

A few dedicated women gathered together, and from modest beginnings on October 11, 1890, it grew and spread like a living tree. It began with a membership of eighteen, one of which was the wife of the President of the United States, Mrs. Benjamin Harrison, who ultimately became the first President General.

The aims of the society were: To perpetuate the memory and spirit of the men and women who achieved American Independence, by the acquisition and protection of historical spots, and the erection of monuments, by the encouragement of historical research in relation to the Revolution and the publication of the results, by the preservation of documents and relics, and the records of individual services of the revolutionary soldiers and patriots, and by the promotion of celebrations of all patriotic anniversaries.

To carry out the injunction of Washington in his farewell address to the American people to promote, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge, this developing an enlightened public opinion, and affording to, young and old, such advantages as shall develop in them the largest capacity for performing the duties of American citizens.

To cherish, maintain and extend the institutions of American freedom, to foster true patriotism and love of country, and to aid in securing for all mankind all the blessings of liberty.

It has also been said that DAR was organized as an effort to draw together a nation sorely divided by a devastating war, to emphasize the common heritage of the American Revolution, and to forget the division of the War Between the States.

The Colonel George Moffett chapter began its career with the following chapter members: Regent, Mrs. B. R. Norvell, Vice-Regent, Mrs. H. M. Whitaker, Recording Secretary, Miss Florence Stratton, Registrar, Mrs. Z. T. Fuller, Treasurer, Mrs. J.B. Goodhue, Historian, Mrs. L. J. Davis, Librarian, Mrs. James A. Harrison, Chaplain, Mrs. F. E. Robbins. The members were: Mrs. A. M. Britton, Mrs. Sophronia Edwards, Mrs. M. L. Hinchie, Mrs. E. L. Otto, Mrs. F. L. Smith, and Mrs. Percy H. Wiess.

By 1909, three years after the initial organization, an early yearbook documents that the chapter had grown to thirty-three members. Records show that the chapter functioned under a proper constitution and by-laws, which were adopted in 1920. In the intervening years the chapter led and participated in many patriotic and cultural activities in the area.

During World War I, it is of record that the Beaumont Red Cross was formed by Mrs. F. J. Duff, one of the chapter’s early members. Mrs. W. P. H. McFaddin was an instructor in surgical dressings and acted in general inspection. Mrs. H. M. Whitaker had charge of workrooms and the packing and shipping of Red Cross supplies, while Mrs. Rush Norvell received a Red Cross service medal for untiring service rendered. Mrs. W. G. Lovell was chairman of French Orphans, appointed by Mrs. Lipscomb Norvell, who was State Regent at the time and a member of the Colonel George Moffett Chapter.

The chapter has furnished the state organization with two State Regents, Mrs. W. P. H. McFaddin and Mrs. Lipscomb Norvell, and other state officers, as well as chairman of state and national committees.

It was fortunate in having a Real Daughter amongst the membership at one time, at whose death, the Colonel George Moffett Chapter under the regency of Mrs. J. D. Mouton, placed a Real Daughter marker at her graveside. A Real Daughter, as some persons today may not know, was the living daughter of a Revolutionary War soldier. The Colonel George Moffett Real Daughter was Mrs. Chloe Marie Theresa Robbins, who was the mother of the Presbyterian Minister in Beaumont in those days. This was the first Real Daughter marker in the state of Texas.

Mrs. W. P. H. McFaddin brought honor to the chapter when she became a National Vice-President General, besides having held the officer of State Regent. She also gave several hundred acres of East Texas piney woodland for a conservation park to the state of Texas in the name of DAR.

One of the aims of the National Society from its beginning has been to stimulate good citizenship and education, and the Colonel George Moffett Chapter has always awarded medals and prizes in Beaumont schools for the writing of noteworthy research essays in early American history. Since the establishment of Lamar College in 1923, many scholarships have been awarded students at Lamar. The chapter has also been generous in its donations to the National DAR schools: Tamassee, Kate Duncan Smith, and Crossnore.

A tangible sign of DAR work in Beaumont is a charming little chapel in one of the city parks, called “Temple to the Brave,” which honors all the soldiers who have fought in order that freedom might not vanish from the earth.

It was built during the Regency of Mrs. L. B. Pipkin, but practically everyone in Beaumont had a part in its materialization. Businesses, as well as individuals, contributed donations, and collections were taken up in the schools. Mr. Frank Yount, who had been responsible for extending the Spindletop Oil Field in 1925, contributed the beautiful stone, of which it is built, from his quarry in Colorado, and the stained glass windows are very fine specimens. A hand-illuminated book with the name of each donor and each school that contributed is preserved in the chapel.

The Colonel George Moffett Chapter was always especially interested in the work of the National Society of DAR for the immigrants at Ellis Island, New York, until the government changed its system. Handigrafts and literature were sent to the Island so that the incoming prospective citizens might be learning about their new country while they waited the period time preceding their admittance.

It has always been the custom of the Colonel George Moffett Chapter to have a committee of members present when citizenship is conferred at the U.S. District court in order to bid the recipients welcome and to give each new citizen a small American flag.

There is no evidence from the early yearbooks that there were any National DAR committees functioning in the Colonel George Moffett Chapter before 1920, but at that time there were seven chapter committees as follows: Yearbook, Americanization, Patriotic Education, Music, Prevention of the Desecration of Our Flag, Magazine, and Entertainment

Now, in 1971 [sic], the yearbook lists a membership of 298, twenty-eight national committees, the most important of which was the committee on National Defense. Ten minutes at each meeting was set aside for a talk on the current dangers wrought by foreign philosophies to the American way of liberty, justice, and equality for the individual.

Over the period of years, from 1906 to 1971, it can be said of the Colonel George Moffett Chapter, “You’ve come a long way…”

In November 2013, the above information was uncovered in the records and archives of the Colonel George Moffett Chapter at the Historical Tyrrell Library by Regent Carolyn Modica, and Second Vice Regent Teresa Orr. The original article (transcribed by Regent Modica) appears to have been researched and written in 1971 by an unknown person.

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Last updated on August 27, 2017