History of Lt. Thomas Barlow Chapter
Our chapter enjoys the unique position of
being the first chapter established south of San Antonio. Located at the "Tip
of Texas" in San Benito, the chapter was named for an ancestor of Organizing
Regent Lelia Barlow Ammerman.
Patriot ancestor Thomas Barlow was born in
Caroline County, Virginia, in 1760. He enlisted in Caroline County, Virginia,
at the age of 17 as a private. According to legend, Barlow went on to serve as
a lieutenant under General Lafayette at the battle of Yorktown. After the war,
he moved to Kentucky where he died in 1825.
Accepted by National Congress on April 20,
1914, the new Lt. Thomas Barlow Chapter held its initial meeting Monday, August
3, 1914, when officers were appointed. The first business meeting took place on
October 21 of that year.
The early days of the chapter were difficult
ones. Its membership was scattered throughout the Rio Grande Valley region
which was sparsely settled in those day -- with no paved highways. After rains,
the roads were often impassable. There was border trouble locally and early
meeting minutes reflect many gatherings were cancelled because of low
attendance. But this little pioneer group labored faithfully, rendering aid to
the World War through Red Cross work, preparing an historical paper for each
meeting, contributing to the various projects of national DAR origin, and doing
the Americanization work in the schools by use of flag codes, gold medals, and
prizes for history work.
As the years passed, chapter members found
time for civic park improvement and Valley historical research. Chapter members
were instrumental in the construction of three roads so visitors could
reach the Resaca de la Palma battlegrounds.
Perhaps the most outstanding piece of early
work by this chapter was the marking of three spots associated with the
conflict between the United States and Mexico. A stone marks the battleground
of the engagement of May 9, 1846, of Resaca de la Palma. Three cannon were
mounted; one near the stone on the battleground of the Resaca de la Palma, one
on the military road marking the spot of the first blood shed (known as the
“Thornton Skirmish,” which led to declarations of war by the two
nations), and the third on the Palo Alto battlefield.
Today, our members continue to be vitally
interested in Valley history. We work to promote DAR values in local schools
and communities and to support our troops at home and abroad.