The Vidette-Messenger Centennial EditionThe 1936 special edition celebrating Porter County's centennial year . . . .

The following article has been transcribed from the August 18, 1936, issue of The Vidette-Messenger, published in Valparaiso, Indiana. This particular special edition focuses on Porter County's centennial celebration and contains a 94-page compendium of Porter County history up to that time.

Return to the index of articles from The Vidette-Messenger's Porter County Centennial special edition.

Source: The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; August 18, 1936; Volume 10, Section 4, Page 14.


Formation of Valparaiso D. A. R. Unit Resulted From Efforts of Margaret Beer


Intense patriotic interest on the part of Mrs. Margaret Cameron Beer accounts for the organization on May 18, 1903, of the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

One summer afternoon in 1901 Miss Beer had read an article in the Chicago Tribune about the Daughters of the American Revolution and its first president general, Caroline Scott Harrison (Mrs. Benjamin Harrison). For the wife of the president of the United States to serve as president general gave dignity and importance to the organization. Miss Beer was much impressed and wished that she might belong to such an organization. After some time she learned that she had the right to ask for membership. She wrote to National Headquarters at Washington, D. C., and asked for information as to how to proceed. The inquiry was forwarded to Mrs. James M. Fowler, state regent for Indiana, who advised Miss Beer to fill out her papers as a member-at-large and return them to her, and, when they were accepted, Mrs. Fowler would empower Miss Beer to organize a chapter in Valparaiso. This was done, and her papers were accepted by the national society. Her appointment as Chapter Regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution in the city of Valparaiso bears the date of November 4, 1902, and is signed by Cornelia Cole Fairbanks (Mrs. Charles M.), President General. The seal of the national society is attached and carries the date 1890 and the motto of the National Society, "Home and Country". The national society had been organized but twelve years when Miss Beer received her appointment as chapter regent.

Members of the local chapter will never cease to pay homage to Miss Beer for her splendid leadership. She was a woman with a vision, and her great determination and perseverance won for Valparaiso an organization of which everyone is justly proud to be a member.

Miss Beer began by putting a notice in the paper in the fall of 1902 stating that she wished to organize a chapter and asked that those who were interested and thought they were eligible to communicate with her. It was not an easy task to locate twelve women who were willing to give time, effort and expense to prove lineal descent from a Revolutionary ancestor, a requisite for membership in the organization. It was necessary that the papers be in Washington before the first of January. Miss Beer has recorded that many amusing experiences attended the proper execution of these papers and that it was with a feeling of both price and relief that she mailed them just before Christmas. It took some time for the verification of the papers and on May 18, 1903, Miss Beer called an organization meeting at her home. Officers were named and these twelve women became a part of the largest patriotic organization in the world. The chapter was one of sixteen in Indiana. It was voted by the society to call the chapter the George Rogers Clark chapter. Very soon, however, it was learned that there was a chapter by this name and the choice was made of William Henry Harrison, hero of the Tippecanoe, first Governor of the Territory of Indiana and the ninth president of the United States. The chapter has always been proud of its name. The charter was granted on July 13, 1903, the number being 618. Each Daughter is directly affiliated with the national society and has her own national number.

Through authority vested in her as Organizing Regent Miss Beer appointed a board of management: Mrs. Charlotte Lucan Crumpacker (Mrs. E. D.), Mrs. Jessie Smith Letherman (Mrs. W. C.) and Miss Pearl Estelle Miller; Registrar, Miss Lily Ball; Treasurer, Miss Etta Mullins; Secretary, Miss Daisy Dickover (Mrs. E. A. Mitzner). Others of the twelve charter members were Elizabeth Noel Bowser (Mrs. Louis), Mary Thomas Collins (Mrs. A. L.), Nellie Mullins Loomis (Mrs. E. L.), Finette Morrison Pinney (Mrs. Wm. E.), and Mary R. Mitchell Beer. Too much can not be said in tribute to the loyalty of these charter members. Mrs. Beer once wrote to the present membership of her appreciation. With Mrs. Fowler, state regent, Mrs. Crumpacker had stood as sponsor for Miss Beer, and she never once failed her. Mention was made of Mrs. Bowser's dignified bearing, unswerving patriotism, and Christian character; Mrs. Collins' faithfulness in performance of duty; Daisy Dickover as prompt, capable, and efficient; Mrs. Letherman as patient, capable and 'on, so good natured'; Mrs. Loomis as capable, cheerful, and ready to do whatever came her way; Pearl Miller, always interested and patriotic; and Etta Mullins' marvelous tact as the chapter's first treasurer. Mrs. Pinney ever gracious and kind, was the first one who spoke to Miss Beer about becoming a member, and she was the first to leave. Miss Lily Ball resigned in the fall of 1903 and Mary R. Mitchell Beer was transferred to Chippewa Chapter of Iron Mountain, Mich.

The roster for 1905-06 contains the names of Annie Barr, Jessie Drago Bausher (Mrs. Frank), Cemanthia Berringer (Mrs. C. T.), Geneva Axe Brown (Mrs. H. B.), Freelove White Elam (Mrs. John W.), Ruby Miller, Nellie Clare Parks (Mrs. John Sherman Rhodes) and Myra Finette Pinney (Mrs. Ainsworth Clark). During the year Mattie Conley Harris (Mrs. Wm. E.) became a member of the chapter.

Accurate reports, year books, and newspaper clippings were kept of these early years, and the present membership as well as the general public recalls many public receptions given by the chapter. The first one was held in the parlors of the Presbyterian church in the fall of 1903. Miss Beer gave a history of the organization, Mrs. Bowser gave a sketch of her Revolutionary ancestor, Captain Paulin who was with Lafayette. Mrs. Edith Arnold-Hogan gave readings, Jeanette Barnes and Louise Roessler same a groups of songs, Joseph Bartholomew sang "My Own United States," Wm. E. Pinney spoke on "The Women of the United States," and Mrs. E. D. Crumpacker on "The Continental Congress". Prof. A. A. Hughart talked of the benefits of patriotism. Others who had a part in the program were Capt. J. W. Elam, B. F. Williams, and Miss Mantie Baldwin. As time passed, the homes of Miss Beer, Mrs. E. D. Crumpacker, Mrs. Wm. E. Pinney, Mrs. E. L. Loomis, Mrs. W. C. Letherman, Mrs. H. B. Brown, Mrs. John W. Elam, Mrs. M. A. Gregory, Mrs. T. K. Whitlock and others became the settings for many happy gathering of friends of the chapter and the organization is held in high esteem by all who know of its objects and its accomplishments. The first sale of Red Cross seals in Valparaiso was sponsored by the chapter, the work being done by Miss Etta Mullins. Meetings with study programs were held regularly and a flag was purchased. Each year the chapter elected a delegate to the state conference.

Miss Beer served as Regent for twelve years during which time the foundation was laid for a great work. She gave forty-two years to the teaching profession in Valparaiso and influenced lives of many for good. Her interest in the chapter never abated, even after her removal to Washington, D. C., where she lived until her death two years ago. She yearly gave a flag as a Citizenship award in the Junior high school. As a mark of respect to her memory the chapter continues this custom.

In 1915 when Miss Beer wished not to continue as chapter regent, the mantle of leadership fell upon Mrs. E. D. Crumpacker, whose time in Washington for sixteen years as the wife of a congressman brought a wealth of experience to the chapter. Her regency was marked by an added respect for heirlooms, and costume parties were popular. In 1916 the chapter bought and placed a tablet marking the Old Sac Trail, and gave a program jointly with the Historical Society during Indiana Centennial Week (Sept. 27, 1916). The Porter County Historical Society placed a tablet on the site of the first school house in Valparaiso.

Mrs. E. L. Loomis became the third regent of William Henry Harrison chapter in 1924. Because of home responsibilities Mrs. Loomis could not continue, but her year marked progress in the adoption of the budget plan and use of the ritual. Lineage books were presented to the chapter by Mrs. George F. Chester. Forestry leaflets were distributed to the school and more than one hundred tulip trees were planted.

Mrs. J. D. Stoner, ever an active member, served as treasurer of Indiana D. A. R. from 1924 to 1927. Mrs. George Chester was chairman of Historic Spots. Each rendered valued service and brought credit to the local chapter.

Mrs. M. E. Packman became regent in 1925 and there was increased interest in state and national work. Each member prepared her genealogical line for permanent record. The chapter secured the Charlotte Lucas Crumpacker chair at $150 in Constitution Hall, the funds being contributed by her sons, Fred Maurice and Owen. Reprints of the ship, "Constitution" were sold to create funds for its re-building, and Americanization manuals were furnished to new citizens. The local chapter was hostess to eleven chapters at the regional conference.

Mrs. F. B. Chester became regent in 1928 and served for two years, which change had been provided by the by-laws the previous year. The work of the society continued to grow as the twenty or more chapter committees were similar to that of the national society. June 23, 1929, was designated as Patriot's Day, and the churches and all patriotic orders joined this chapter in memorial services following which a pilgrimage was made and bronze markers placed upon the graves of Porter county's two known Revolutionary soldiers, Henry Battan and Joseph Jones. In October, 1929, the chapter became sponsor of the Porter County Historical Society and the museum which is housed in the Valparaiso public library. This museum contains much of general interest, and the chapter has done a worthwhile work in its preservation.

In June, 1930, Mrs. George D. Chester became regent and the chapter profited by the visits from the treasurer general, Mrs. Rigdon; the state regents, Mrs. Crankshaw and Mrs. O'Byrne; the state vice-regent, Mrs. McFadden; and the northern director, Mrs. Alspach. Fifteen early records were placed by the chapter upon the library shelves and reports and records were donated by the regent. Through the interest of the chapter the library board added four volumes of the Compendium of First Families in America.

Mrs. Alfred R. Putnam became regent in 1932. During her regime the chapter was honored by visits from state regents, Mrs.O'Byran and Miss Farwell. Committee work was continued, a chapter student loan fund was established, a medal was awarded the best history student in junior high school, and liberal gifts were made to Constitution Hall. The chapter purchased a large silk flag and staff. On November 9, 1932, the society sponsored a George Washington Bi-Centennial tree-planting at the high school. The regent was appointed county chairman of Indiana's Bi-Centennial Commission. An elaborate dinner meeting at the home of Mrs. J. W. Davis marked the observance of the chapter's thirtieth anniversary in May, 1933. Mrs. Putnam, Mrs. Morehouse, Mrs. Chester, and Mrs. Stoner served as official hostesses at D. A. R. headquarters at the Century of Progress.

The next regent was Mrs. Harry Arnold. During her term, the chapter made its final gift to Constitution Hall. Flag codes in color were purchased and framed and one was placed in each commissioned high school in the county, one in each grade school of the city and one in the children's room at the Valparaiso public library. A good citizenship medal was presented to each successful contestant in the eight high schools which entered the State Good Citizenship Pilgrimage contest. The state chaplain, Mrs. Schlosser, was a guest on Flag Day when Porter county chapters were hostess to chapters from Lake and LaPorte counties, and a visit was made to the studio of Frank J. Dudley, Dunes artist.

At the final meeting on Flag Day of this year the present officers assumed their duties: Regent, Mrs. Leslie Lembke; Vice-Regent, Mrs. Howard Clark; Chaplain, Mrs. J. D. Stoner; Recording Secretary, Mrs. Andreson; Corresponding Secretary, Mrs. Fred Bartz; Treasurer, Mrs. J. J. McGarvey; Registrar, Mrs. Lea Ella Foxworthy; Historian, Mrs. C. E. Barrett; and Librarian, Mrs. R. B. Julian.

The chapter was signally honored at the dedication of the George Rogers Clark Memorial at Vincennes by President Roosevelt on June 14 when Mrs. Lembke, as regent, was invited to be seated on the platform with State D. A. R. officers and regents. The D. A. R. officiated at the dedication of the statue of Francis Vigo on this same occasion.

William Henry Harrison chapter meets on the third Monday, observing Constitution Day and Flag Day, and maintains an interesting study program. Its official organ, the D. A. R. magazine, is on file in the library. Each year gifts are made to one or more of the seventeen approved schools of the society, to mountain schools, and to Ellis Island. Historic spots have been marked and history preserved. The organization stands for national defense though patriotic education. Its support has ever been recognized by our government.

The chapter now numbering about fifty members will continue its good record, ever keeping in mind that for which it was organized, "To cherish, maintain, and extend the institutions of American freedom and to foster true patriotism and love of country."

(We have told of some of the work of the organization. To tell of its programs and its many delightful social affairs would require more space than this article permits.)

Article transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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