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.
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
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..
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
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
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 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.
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
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
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
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.