History of Nacogdoches Chapter, NSDAR, Nacogdoches, Texas
1926, by Mrs. George S. Barham
The Nacogdoches Chapter has been
active and conscientious in espousing national DAR ideals in areas of
patriotism, conservation, education, and historical preservation.
Since its organization on April 9, 1926, by Mrs. Mabel Lott Barham,
the chapter has grown from twenty-three charter members to a present
roster of 177. At its founding and subsequently the chapter met in
members’ homes, and programs such as “Texas Folklore” and “Homes in
Colonial Days” were the norm. All Honor requirements were observed,
and the highest standards were pursued in planning programs and other
endeavors, a policy which has continued. When increased membership
required, chapter meetings began to be held as luncheons at The
Fredonia Hotel. Nine monthly general meetings and one business
meeting became the regular schedule.
Support of the DAR State Forest near
Jasper was a local project in 1928, and in that year a DAR library was
also begun. Because of road construction, repositioning the TSDAR red
granite markers on a section of El Camino Real became a necessity and
was a chapter project of 1936. On October 16, 1936, the chapter
also assisted in a dedication of the historic Old Stone Fort, an
authentic replica having been relocated on the Stephen F. Austin
Programs during the years from 1938 to
1940 included studies of TSDAR, current events, Ellis Island, and
national shrines. Annual presentation of awards to DAR Good Citizens
was initiated in 1940. Since then hundreds of graduating seniors in
this area have received this honor. That year also marked the
beginning of annual contributions to DAR approved schools.
During World War II, programs included
the Red Cross, USO, U.S. flag, and events of the times. A history of
Old North Church was recorded and placed in the Stephen F. Austin
College Library in 1942.
A real highlight in chapter history
occurred in March, 1946, when the Nacogdoches Chapter hosted the TSDAR
State Conference on the Stephen F. Austin State Teachers College
campus. This was the occasion for the dedication of the DAR Old
Documents Room in the college library, this gift being the state
project during the regency of Mrs. Frederick B. Ingram. Mrs. Vadna
Osborne Smith deserved much credit for this notable acquisition. In
addition to more than 7, 000 original documents, the collection
includes a microfilm of U. S. census records of Texas counties and
issues of The Dallas Morning News.
In 1948, membership had reached
thirty-six, the format used in the present yearbook was established,
and the tradition of an annual George Washington birthday luncheon for
members and guests was begun. In 1951, the preservation of the
historic oak tree at Old North Church was a project. 1952 saw the
first annual awards in American History essay contests. In the
1950s, also, the Junior American Citizens Clubs were established and continue to be a
justifiable source of chapter pride.
On November 4, 1955, Nacogdoches was
host for a meeting of Divisions III, IV, and V. Attention was
directed to the Alabama-Coushatta Indians at Livingston that year and
the chapter’s concern for them has not diminished. The local by-laws
were revised that year also.
1956 was momentous with a tea on April
7 in the home of Mrs. Elizabeth Wright honoring the fiftieth
anniversary of DAR Membership of the chapter’s Organizing Regent, Mrs.
Barham. This was indeed a special occasion. By 1957, interest in
National Defense had accelerated and textbooks became an awakened
In searching for graves of
Revolutionary patriots in 1958, a record was made of tombstones in
abandoned Nacogdoches County cemeteries. Mrs. Joel Barham Burk began
cataloguing many county cemeteries, placing the card files in the DAR
room of the library, a valuable service which is still continued.
Included are complete records of Oak Grove Cemetery, the burial place
of many illustrious Texans.
In the sixties, additional records
were placed in the library, and preservation of historic trees and one
remaining Indian mound had DAR support. In 1961, the chapter was
again privileged to entertain a Division meeting. In 1965, a hedge
was planted outlining the gravesite of Thomas J. Rusk, distinguished
in Texas history as Secretary of War for the Republic of Texas and U.
S. Senator, 1846-57.
Three DAR Medals of Honor and three
Americanism Medals have been presented to distinguished local
citizens. The award of Medal of Achievement to an outstanding senior
ROTC cadet at what is now Stephen F. Austin State University has been
an annual event since 1969. In March, 1972, the DAR Magazine
carried a full page dedicated to this university, a tribute sponsored
by the chapter with great pride.
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