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A centennial year: The Bernard Romans DAR chapter celebrates 100 years of patriotism

 

Members of the Bernard Romans chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution gathered May 18 during a Centennial Celebration Tea at The Fort House, the home of Don and Sandra DePriest in Columbus. Pictured in front, from left, are Susan Jones, Historian and Centennial Chairman Jane Smith, Regent Alice Lancaster, Sally Lee and Jackie Brumley. Second row: Susan Mackay, Mary Jo King, Recording Secretary Jo Shumake, Becky Maurer and Chaplain Sandra DePriest. Third row: Marilyn Andrews, Nan Wyckoff, Jennifer Counihan, Lori Moody, Pam Bullock and Carolyn Weathers. Fourth row: Jo Alyce Moore, Mary Ezell, Betty Bryan, Librarian Melody Vydas and Jimmie Barnett. Fifth row: Sammie St. John, Helen Hardy, Debra Holloway, Clare Cofield and Helen Reed. Back row: Registrar Kay Box, Patsy Hughes, Eleanor Ellis, Polly Grimes, Rosalie Teleah Carter, Lynda Rood and Betty West Land.

Members of the Bernard Romans chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution gathered May 18 during a Centennial Celebration Tea at The Fort House, the home of Don and Sandra DePriest in Columbus. Pictured in front, from left, are Susan Jones, Historian and Centennial Chairman Jane Smith, Regent Alice Lancaster, Sally Lee and Jackie Brumley. Second row: Susan Mackay, Mary Jo King, Recording Secretary Jo Shumake, Becky Maurer and Chaplain Sandra DePriest. Third row: Marilyn Andrews, Nan Wyckoff, Jennifer Counihan, Lori Moody, Pam Bullock and Carolyn Weathers. Fourth row: Jo Alyce Moore, Mary Ezell, Betty Bryan, Librarian Melody Vydas and Jimmie Barnett. Fifth row: Sammie St. John, Helen Hardy, Debra Holloway, Clare Cofield and Helen Reed. Back row: Registrar Kay Box, Patsy Hughes, Eleanor Ellis, Polly Grimes, Rosalie Teleah Carter, Lynda Rood and Betty West Land. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

 

State and national DAR officers helped celebrate the centennial milestone May 18 at The Fort House. In front, from left, are Bernard Romans DAR Chapter Regent Alice Stallworth Lancaster; Mississippi State Society DAR Regent Billie Breedlove; and National Society DAR Vice President General Janet Whittington. Behind them, from left, are Honorary Vice President General NSDAR Bettie Johnson; Honorary State Regent MSSDAR Sharon Nettles; Past Vice President General NSDAR Polly Grimes; State Organizing Secretary MSSDAR Hellen Polk; and State Registrar MSSDAR Sheila Fondren.

State and national DAR officers helped celebrate the centennial milestone May 18 at The Fort House. In front, from left, are Bernard Romans DAR Chapter Regent Alice Stallworth Lancaster; Mississippi State Society DAR Regent Billie Breedlove; and National Society DAR Vice President General Janet Whittington. Behind them, from left, are Honorary Vice President General NSDAR Bettie Johnson; Honorary State Regent MSSDAR Sharon Nettles; Past Vice President General NSDAR Polly Grimes; State Organizing Secretary MSSDAR Hellen Polk; and State Registrar MSSDAR Sheila Fondren.
Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

 

Chapter member Pam Bullock serves the first piece of a cake worthy of a 100th anniversary to her cousin, Judith Poteet. Poteet’s mother, Helen Reed, is a chapter member.

Chapter member Pam Bullock serves the first piece of a cake worthy of a 100th anniversary to her cousin, Judith Poteet. Poteet’s mother, Helen Reed, is a chapter member.
Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

 

Warner DePriest, center, presents a flag flown at the nation’s Capitol to Bernard Romans Regent Alice Lancaster May 18. Warner’s mother, Sandra DePriest, is to his right. Warner served on the staff of Congressman Alan Nunnelee of Mississippi; he now is a congressional staffer in the office of U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee.

Warner DePriest, center, presents a flag flown at the nation’s Capitol to Bernard Romans Regent Alice Lancaster May 18. Warner’s mother, Sandra DePriest, is to his right. Warner served on the staff of Congressman Alan Nunnelee of Mississippi; he now is a congressional staffer in the office of U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee.
Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

 

Chapter members Betty West Land, Clare Cofield and Lynda Rood sit a spell during the centennial celebration.

Chapter members Betty West Land, Clare Cofield and Lynda Rood sit a spell during the centennial celebration.
Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

 

Kay Box, left, and Irene Lancaster visit at the tea.

Kay Box, left, and Irene Lancaster visit at the tea.
Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

 

From left, Jackie Brumley, Ann Harris, Louise Bland and Kaye Ward catch up for a few minutes at the tea.

From left, Jackie Brumley, Ann Harris, Louise Bland and Kaye Ward catch up for a few minutes at the tea.
Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

 

The chapter’s charter, pictured, was issued July 8, 1914. The new chapter was named for Bernard Romans, an early surveyor of the area between Columbus and Aberdeen. Romans, a native of Holland hired by the British, was a botanist, engineer, artist, engraver, writer, cartographer, linguist, soldier and seaman. He was a staunch supporter of America during the Revolution and served as captain of the Company of American Artillery in Pennsylvania.

The chapter’s charter, pictured, was issued July 8, 1914. The new chapter was named for Bernard Romans, an early surveyor of the area between Columbus and Aberdeen. Romans, a native of Holland hired by the British, was a botanist, engineer, artist, engraver, writer, cartographer, linguist, soldier and seaman. He was a staunch supporter of America during the Revolution and served as captain of the Company of American Artillery in Pennsylvania.
Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

 

 

Jan Swoope

 

When Alice Stallworth Lancaster of Columbus was a young girl writing reports for school, her mother frequently encouraged her to use a particular family ancestor as her subject. Lancaster didn't envision then how significant that ancestor, Conrad Rahm of Pennsylvania, would become to her later in life. Rahm is Lancaster's patriot. Each of the 63 members of the Bernard Romans chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution has one -- a forefather who contributed to securing the independence of the United States of America. For those members, 2014 marks a rare and historic milestone -- the chapter's 100th anniversary.  

 

The centennial is a year-long celebration honoring the organization's past, present and future. Since the first of the year, members have looked back at the group's origins, its charter members and the many ways this long line of patriotic women has contributed to the community. 

 

A Centennial Celebration Tea May 18 at the home of Don and Sandra DePriest in Columbus brought members and a large number of guests together to commemorate the landmark anniversary.  

 

After months of planning, for Lancaster, the current chapter regent, it was practically a mountaintop moment -- especially since her mother had been a 50-year member. 

 

"It was so meaningful to me when I stood in the receiving line at 2 o'clock on May 18," she said, noting how pleased the chapter was to have DAR officers at the state and national level join the celebration. "To have them come from so far to honor us and stand with us to receive our guests ... that meant so much, to be standing there honoring all our members that have come before us, as well as our current members." 

 

Kay Box, who serves as registrar, assisting members and potential members with genealogical research, said, "It was a beautiful day in every way. And we owe a big thank you to the DePriests. Theirs is one of the most beautiful antebellum homes in Columbus, and it was just shining on that day." The HODARs -- Husbands of DAR members -- even got involved, giving members rides from the parking areas to the home, Box said.  

 

 

 

What is DAR? 

 

DAR is a women's service organization dedicated to promoting historic preservation, education, patriotism and honoring patriots of the Revolutionary War. Members come from all backgrounds and interests. Any woman 18 or older, regardless of race, religion or ethnic background, who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution, is eligible to join. Chapters focus on community service, preserving history, educating children and honoring and supporting those who serve the nation. 

 

"I can't tell you how much I enjoy DAR," said Box. One of her duties as registrar is to help prospective members research their ancestors. "I love it. I love to research my own (lineage), but it's like a big puzzle, and I just enjoy helping others put their puzzle together, too -- that's my favorite." 

 

 

 

Window on the past 

 

The Bernard Romans chapter formed in the fall of 1913 after the existing Shuk-ho-ta Tom-a-ha DAR Chapter in Columbus reached an enrollment of 50 members. (Shuk-ho-ta Tom-a-ha is still active.) Bernard Romans' charter was issued July 8, 1914. There were 29 charter members. One hundred years later, current members are looking back. 

 

Chapter historian Jane Smith and member Pam Bullock invested hours poring through records and archives in order to highlight history. At meetings, the group has heard how former members worked with the Red Cross during World War I, supplying garments and materials for soldiers. They heard how, in 1931, the chapter sent money and items like sewing supplies and leather-working tools to immigrants on Ellis Island, and how members collected aluminum in World War II.  

 

They learned that, in 1948, members worked on a World War I scrapbook, preserving letters from servicemen and newspaper articles. And today's members learned more about a flag made by their predecessors, one with 40 stars -- one for each Lowndes County boy who went off to battle in World War I. It is currently in a centennial display at the entrance of the Billups-Garth Archives in the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library through the end of the month. 

 

The group also heard about markers, plaques and boulder monuments placed by earlier generations of the chapter. They include one at the entrance of Magnolia Bowl and at Mississippi University for Women (perhaps best known as "the kissing rock").  

 

In the past century, there have been an untold number of scholarships, civic events, flag donations and school visits to educate youngsters on proper care for the flag and respect for those who helped make this nation what it is. It's a tradition today's chapter is committed to passing on.  

 

"We're always looking for new members," Box said. "If anybody wants to see if they qualify to join, I would love to help them. We want our chapter to grow." 

 

How does a service organization in a small town survive and thrive for 100 years? 

 

"It's just dedication, dedication of members," said Smith, whose daughter, Susan Mackay, is also a member. "It's relevant to keep the history alive, to let people know what our forefathers did to help provide the freedoms we all enjoy, all the way back to the Revolutionary War." 

 

Editor's note: To learn more about the Bernard Romans chapter, email Regent Alice Lancaster at aslancaster@hotmail.com, or contact Registrar Kay Box at 662-327-1270. 

 

 

 

ON THE WEB: 

 

■ dar.org

 

Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.

 

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