History of Nacogdoches Chapter, NSDAR, Nacogdoches, Texas

Organized April, 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 College campus. 

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 concern. 

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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Last update July 26, 2013