Presque Isle DAR Celebrates its 125 Year History
The Presque Isle Chapter of of Daughters of the American Revolution was founded in 1897 by 13 women. Eleven of those women are buried at the Erie Cemetery. Current members of the chapter gathered this week to honor them on the 125 year anniversary.
The ceremony was held at the gravesite of Missouri Bliss Morrison, the chapter's first regent. The gravestones of all the founders were cleaned for the important ceremony and a memorial placard was placed at each site.
"We thought we would create a marker that noted that these 13 women were founders of our chapter,” said Mary Jane Koenig, Past Regent of the Chapter.
The current members have a bond with the founding members. They are lineal descendants of a patriot from the American Revolution. They also honor their history and they serve their community and country. One of the founding members was Sarah Reed...a legendary name in Erie's history. The 'Home for the Friendless', which she helped establish in 1871 as a refuge for women and children who needed care, was renamed in her honor. It's been the Sarah Reed Children’s Center since 1935.
But, what about the other 12 founders?
"What's interesting in researching these women is there's more written about their husbands than there is about them,” says Ann Silverthorn, Chapter Vice Regent.
The current chapter members are compiling biographies of all the founders. The biographies will contain accomplishments of the women themselves, not their male relatives.
"We don't want this to be her husband did this or her son did that,” says Silverthorn. “We're really trying to make this be 'Who is this woman?"
For example, Missouri Bliss Morrison lived at the historic Wood-Morrison house, located on the current campus of the Hagen History Center. Her son was the captain of the USS Michigan, the only Navy ship to have Erie as its home port. However, people may not know Mrs. Morrison served on the committee that established Hamot Hospital.
The current members learned that Susan Brewster Little was the founder of the Erie YWCA.
They now know that Winifred Downing Galbraith's beautiful home is now the Women's Club of Erie.
The biographies will be included in a brochure that would be used on a walking tour of the cemetery. The brochure should be completed in October.