SHERIDAN — You think of the American Revolution as a done deal, it’s over; but really there are people living all around you that have a direct connection to that time period. That is what Daughters of the American Revolution Sheridan chapter registrar Tammy Mansfield says.
Take Maribeth Rose, for example. Rose is the descendent of Benjamin Harrison Sr., former Gov. of Virginia and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Rose is a member of the DAR, celebrating her 50th year of membership this year.
Or Lois Huson Hall, descendent of Jacob Pettengill who was present with his brother at the Battle of Bunker Hill.
“There are ladies whose patriot signed the Constitution and others who gave donkeys and other things of monetary value to the soldiers,” Mansfield said. “My husband has a guy who lost his leg in the Battle of White Plains, New York. My guy was a private who joined the continental line from New Hampshire and walked to Rhode Island and back. They run the gamut, and it all counts the same; they’re all patriots.”
Any woman 18 years or older — regardless of race, religion or ethnic background — who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution, is eligible for membership.
Mansfield said conducting the research to prove your lineage can be easier than you might think, especially with modern advances in technology and the help of current members.
The DAR hosts a free genealogical record system on the national website in which anyone can search for an ancestor. The GRS is a collection of databases that provide access to the many materials amassed by the DAR since its founding.
Mansfield said more people have connections to the war than think they do.
“A lot of people think that if they are newer to the country that means that they don’t have a patriot and that’s not necessarily true,” she said. “The longer time goes by, the more people have Revolutionary patriots in their lineage because of marriage. My mother was an immigrant. She was the first one born here, and English was not her first language. Had my mother not married my father, I would not have a patriot.”
The Wyoming DAR has 473 members over 11 chapters, a membership, Mansfield said, when compared to places like Texas or Virginia where they have thousands of members is still quite small.
According to the national organization’s website, the DAR, founded in 1890 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., is an inclusive nonprofit, non-political volunteer women’s service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history and securing America’s future through better education for children.
DAR members volunteer supporting veterans, schools for underserved children and any other local cause they choose. Locally, the Sheridan DAR has been responsible for installing historical markers including the Crook Monument at Kendrick Park and the monument at Sibley Lake.
Over the years, the organization has grown to host chapters in each of the 50 states as well as some overseas chapters. The DAR is celebrating its 125th anniversary as a society this year, and the Wyoming State Society DAR Conference, coming to Sheridan May 28-30, is in its 100th year.
This year’s theme is “Migration to Wyoming.”
Planning to attend?
What: The 100th Wyoming State Society Daughters of the American Revolution Conference
When: May 28-30 at the Holiday Inn Conference Center
Cost: Public workshops are $10 each
Information: For more details or to register, contact DAR Sheridan chapter regent Marcia Gonda at 672-5719