On Dec. 11, 1909, 16 women met at the Toledo Club to found the Fort Industry Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
One hundred years later, the group is going strong. Yesterday, it held a centennial luncheon at - no surprise - the Toledo Club, with 60 members in attendance.
The ladies recited the Pledge of Allegiance and the American's Creed, enjoyed a chicken piccata and wild rice lunch, and watched the DAR's Ohio regent, or president, give an impersonation of Susan B. Anthony.
Dressed in black, Patsy Johnson Gaines played to the hilt the role of the famous 19th-century suffragist and DAR member. Ms. Gaines told of how Anthony was arrested for voting, and how her Quaker upbringing had taught her "to speak out freely."
The luncheon was two years in the making, according to Beverly St. Clair, a member from Sylva-nia. The observance included the compilation of a centennial yearbook full of old photos and rosters of departed members.
Registrar Ann Summers, who put together the yearbook, told the members how their chapter was named Fort Industry "after a blockhouse stockade erected around 1800 on a high bluff near the mouth of Swan Creek near the Maumee River" - now the northeast corner of Summit and Monroe Streets.
DAR members are intensely aware of history. Indeed, preserving American history, along with promoting patriotism, is an important part of the group's reason for existence. The national organization was founded in 1890 and has its national headquarters in Washington. It has more than 3,000 chapters, including more than a dozen in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, and 165,000 members.
To join, a woman must have documented proof she is a direct descendant of a patriot from the American Revolution.
"They did something that had never been done before," Ms. St. Clair said of the members' ancestors. "We try to honor them and their country."
Ladies at the luncheon all wore name tags identifying them and their patriotic ancestor. Ms. St. Clair's ancestor was John Stees, a Pennsylvanian who joined the militia there.
Another member, Beverly Dennis of Perrysburg, managed to find the grave of her ancestor, Peter Trautman, in a cemetery in southwest Pennsylvania. He also was a militia member there.
The centennial chairman, Paula Miklovic of Maumee, traces her lineage to Jeremiah Rockwell of Massachusetts, a miller who fought at Bunker Hill.
The national DAR is also a social service agency that awards more than $150,000 annually in scholarships.
In 2005, the Fort Industry Chapter restored the historical marker at Fort Meigs Cemetery in Perrysburg for the Rev. Joseph Badger, a Revolutionary War soldier. Last year, it sent a World War II vet to Washington on an Honor Flight to visit that war's memorial. It also gave 10 T-shirts, each representing an amendment from the Bill of Rights, to Perrysburg Junior High School for display.
The chapter has a monthly meeting with a speaker except in January, July, and August.
True to its dedication to history, the DAR is open about the notoriety and criticism it earned in 1939 for barring Marian Anderson from singing in its Constitution Hall in Washington because she was black. The contralto instead famously performed an Easter concert at the Lincoln Memorial at Eleanor Roosevelt's behest.
The group has acknowledged the error of its ways, pointing out it and Anderson reconciled long before her death in 1993. She sang in Constitution Hall at the start of her farewell American tour in 1964, and in 1992, the DAR presented her with its Centennial Medallion for outstanding service to the nation.
In 2005, the Anderson family and the Postal Service invited the DAR to host the dedication ceremony for the Anderson commemorative stamp.
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