CHESTER — The Return Jonathan Meigs chapter, NSDAR, met recently at the Chester Academy for their first fall meeting of the year, which also served as an open meeting with information to the public on the topic “Why DAR?”
After opening rituals which included the Star-Spangled Banner, the Pledge of Allegiance and the American’s Creed, Chapter Regent Gina Tillis gave an informative program entitled “Why DAR?”
Daughters of the American Revolution is a women’s service organization dedicated to promoting historic preservation, education, and patriotism as well as honoring the patriots of the Revolutionary War.
Regent Tillis shared, “So what was my personal journey to DAR? Several years back, I decided to look around in my family tree to find those people and stories who contributed to who I am today. The patriot that I decided to use for my DAR application was George Roush, originally from Shenandoah, Virginia. George was one of nine brothers who all served in the Revolutionary War. He was in the battle of Yorktown with General Washington and served as a private in the company of his brother Captain John Roush, a Shenandoah company. George and several of his brothers fought in the Battle of Point Pleasant in 1774, where they first came to see and fall in love with this area along the Ohio River.”
After the war, several of the brothers chose land grants along the Ohio River where they settled in what would later come to be Mason County, West Virginia, as well as Meigs and Gallia counties in Ohio. It was here that the young patriots brought their families to carve out homes in the wilderness. In 1798, George planted his family in what would become Mason County. In 1807, he took his family and crossed the Ohio River into what would later become Meigs County, establishing himself as one of the first residents of the area and is listed as one of the first jurists in early documents. He is buried in Weldon Cemetery in Racine.
“Why bring up my own personal history? It is just to point out that we all have deep roots. We are children of many generations of experiences that have influenced our lives, traditions, and sometimes choices. My family was planted in this area. My traditions and culture have been framed by it. Even when I didn’t know my history, the choices that my ancestors made carved a path for me to be here and experience the freedoms and responsibilities of an American citizen,” explained Regent Tillis.
We are a women’s service organization, committed to promoting historic preservation, education, and patriotism as well as honoring the patriots of the Revolutionary War. Just as those who came before us, we believe it is a privilege and responsibility to remember the past, educate the present, and serve the future.
What does our local group do?
We invest in our local community and beyond through service and education projects, work on restoration and beautification of local historic sites, and we conduct monthly programs on women’s issues, conservation, education, local and national history, veterans and patriotic service. Also, we provide opportunity for local women to meet together for a common good.
Any woman 18 years old or older may join the DAR by documenting her lineage to an ancestor who aided the cause of American independence. DAR volunteers can provide guidance and assistance with the application. State and local genealogy volunteers can help prospective members research their family history. Those interested in DAR can contact Gina Tillis at firstname.lastname@example.org or Opal Grueser, registrar, at email@example.com.
New member Debra McDaniel was also given the oath of membership at the meeting and welcomed into the chapter.
Also presenting at the meeting was James Smith, past president of Lt. George Ewing Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution. The Ewing chapter was chartered to serve Meigs, Athens, and Vinton counties. Smith gave information on the local SAR chapter, the brother chapter equivalent to the DAR. The Ewing chapter is also involved in promotion of patriotism as well acts of service. He spoke to the Meigs DAR group about the possibility of doing a joint project. Group discussion led to an invitation to the Ewing chapter to participate in the Return Jonathan Meigs Wreaths Across America project beginning this December. Over a series of three years, it is the goal of the local DAR group to place wreaths on graves of patriots of the American Revolution in Meigs county.
In the conservation committee report, member Lynne Brinker brought in her chrysalis/butterfly garden and spoke of her work with monarch butterflies. During the meeting, those present were actually able to witness a butterfly that had emerged from pupal stage. The new butterfly was named DARla for her timely emergence at the chapter meeting.
Member Lynne Brinker reported on her work in creating and registering a Monarch Waystation. Dedicated to create, conserve, and protect monarch habitats, the waystations are charged with providing habitats that supply enough milkweed and nectar sources for breeding areas in the spring and summer to produce the generations of monarchs that will migrate each fall.
Members discussed plans for commemorating the 250th anniversary of George Washington’s voyage on the Ohio River and overnight stay in what would become Meigs County. In the year 1770, 250 years ago, George Washington explored the Ohio River area for possible land grant development and settlement. His October expedition by canoe was to identify suitable land along the Ohio River from Pittsburgh to the Kanawha River. His party included Pennsylvania surveyor William Crawford, fellow French and Indian War veteran Dr. James Craik, as well as several servants and Indian guides. Washington kept a detailed journal and made a map of his journey.
Because of his journal, we know of his experiences in the wild western territory, including his landing at the location of current Long Bottom in Meigs County. It was at this overnight stay that Washington ran into the hunting party of Seneca Chief Kiashuta of the Iroquois nation. Kiashuta had become acquainted with the young 21-year-old George Washington back in 1753 when Washington had volunteered on a militia mission deep into the Ohio wilderness. Seventeen years later, they enjoyed an evening of reminiscing around a campfire as they happened to camp on the same stretch along the Ohio River.
In 1932, our local Return Jonathan Meigs chapter, NSDAR, participated in the state bicentennial celebration commemorating the 200th anniversary of the birth of George Washington by erecting a state DAR historical marker at the campsite and dramatizing a pageant of Washington’s landing on Ohio and Meigs county soil. State DAR officials were present to present the marker, and the Return Jonathan Meigs chapter was designated as its caretaker.
For the past 88 years, the Return Jonathan Meigs chapter has cleaned the area around the marker each year and preserved the site.
This year marks the 250th anniversary of George Washington’s visit to Meigs County and overnight stay. The chapter plans a short commemoration of the event on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, at the DAR Historical Marker site in Long Bottom, Ohio, at 3 p.m. More details will be released soon.
Submitted by Gina Tillis