THE SCHENECTADA CHAPTER
DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
SCHENECTADA, a Native American Indian name meaning "BEYOND THE PINE PLAINS"
The Chapter was formally organized October 19th, 1911 at the home, 1418 Union Street, of the first Regent, Mrs. Harriet Leonard Colburn, with the New York State Regent, Mrs. Joseph Wood, and the New York State Vice Regent, Mrs. Joseph King, present. The list of the founding Charter members is fuzzy. National has 39 on their list for the charter, however, from a news article published in 1911 there are an additional 18 names, then there was an additional 2nd Vice Regent from the minutes. The Chapter history written in 1914 states 51 members and that it was the largest forming chapter in the history of NY State. So, we come up with an actual total of 58 founding Charter members in 2022.
A U.S. flag was presented to the Chapter on this occasion, in memory of Nicholas G. Veeder. He was the last Revolutionary War soldier to die in New York State at age 100 in Glenville, NY. He was honored by the Chapter in June 1912.
Nicholas at his “Fort” on the corner of Vley and Halcyon Streets
On December 14, 1911, Charter No. 995 was presented to the Chapter. It was signed by President General Julia Scott. The total number of organizing members and in attendance was 51. The largest of any organized in NY State. A resolution was passed thanking Mrs. Bert Webb and Mrs. Frank Roberts for the work done by them in founding the Chapter. In 1912 Regent Colburn attended the convention of New York Women’s Clubs, where she was presented with a gavel by Mrs. William Story. The gavel is made of wood from the Egyption cypress trees cut down on the grounds of the Jumel Mansion in NY City. The trees were presented to Napoleon by Khedive of Egypt and given to Jumel by emperor Napoeon. The mansion was Washington’s headquarters for a time and was cared for by the DAR.
In 1913 the chapter grew so large where meetings were held at 13 Union Street, the home of the Schenectady County Historical Society, where they had use of a kitchen, purchased DAR emblem china, spoons, and a tablecloth. A $200 donation was given to furnish a room at Ellis Hospital named in honor of the Chapter. There was Welfare and Red Cross work done by a number of chapter members. The chapter donated $10 to Schoharie Chapter toward the Peter Vrooman monument.
Member Katherine V. Steers wrote a song about the people of Schenectady used at meetings. It was printed in the Knickerbocker Press December 6, 1914.
In 1916 we participated in a reception for the liberty bell passing through on the way home from the Panama Pacific Exposition. Plans were being made for creating a local chapter of C.A.R. Our Chapter members also became the “first” to hold a reception in the court house and give small gifts at the naturalization and Americanization ceremony when immigrants became citizens. The chapter held a luncheon to celebrate the 5th anniversary of their founding at the Mohawk Hotel.
WORLD WAR I
SPANISH FLU PANDEMIC
In June 1917 the Chapter voted to place a marker on the Herkimer Trail.
For WWI efforts, 1917-18, the Chapter members did sewing and knitting of socks for the Red Cross and purchased war bonds. A chapter embossed memory book called “Honor Roll” was established containing the war records of soldier relatives of the chapter members.
During the time of the Spanish Flu pandemic, at a chapter meeting, Dr. Palmer Bowdish of the NY State department of Health gave a talk.
Mrs. Emma van Vranken Gibbes, Regent for 3 two-year terms, 1920-1924 and 1928-1930, was the first Member of the Chapter to hold State and National offices, Chair of Tammasse committee 7 years, becoming New York State Librarian in 1925, Regent in 1931, and nationally on Constitution Hall and House Committees, and finally Vice President General in 1935. She personally donated $100 to the founding of Tamassee School in the name of the Chapter. 1922-4 reported that membership had risen to 142 members!
Regent Emma Gibbes Valley Forge Plaque Historian Katherine Steers
In 1921 the chapter celebrated their 10th anniversary with a luncheon.
In 1922 the chapter and Patriotic committee became charter members of the Mohawk Valley Historical Association. They also sponsored the first local C.A.R. chapter, named Mohawk with 60 members.
In 1923 the chapter established the Chapter House Committee with $100 which grew to $7,340 by 1932. They used some money toward purchasing supplies, utensils etc and hoping to acquire their own house.
On June 15, 1926 in conjunction with the National Sesquicentennial and the city of Schenectady’s Great Western Gateway Celebration, the Schenectada Chapter placed 2 bronze plaques at the Mabee House, the oldest home in the Mohawk valley, in Rotterdam Junction, New York. The first was embedded into the side of the old stone house, and the second was placed hanging near the driveway. Another large plaque was placed at the west entrance to the new Western Gateway Bridge for the posterity of the Mohawk Turnpike. Many local and state dignitaries attended a dinner at the Van Curler Hotel and appropriate ceremonies were conducted by Regent Emma Gibbes and Chapter Historian Katherine van der Poel Steers. In the fall the Chapter held a 15th anniversary celebration at the Mohawk Golf Club for themselves; 95 members attended.
Mabee Farm Historic Site Western Gateway Bridge- replaced
In 1929 the Beukendaal Chapter commemorated the battle of Beukendaal on Sacandaga Road with a stone and bronze marker. The state Education department also placed a roadside marker soon after as part of the historic marker program, to acknowledge the Sesquicentennial of the American Revolution. In 1959 the nearby Beukendaal Chapter disbanded and many of the members transferred to the Schenectada Chapter.
The chapter had an all-time high of 192 members in 1929.
It was an exciting time in that October 1931 the New York Conference was held in Schenectady. Meetings were held at the Van Curler Hotel and First Reformed Church. Beukendaal and Schenectada Chapters hosted and Schenectada Regent Emma van Vranken Gibbes was nominated for State Regent. At the end of the Conference, daughters went to the Saratoga Battlefield to help unveil the Monument to the Soldiers of the Battles of Saratoga along with the Saratoga Chapter. It was given by the NY State organization in honor of the Unknown soldiers who died on the field. The chapter celebrated their 20th anniversary in October when it was attended by Emma Gibbes, the state Regent Elect.
In 1933 the NY State DAR contributed $10,000 for the Eagle and carving of the pediment over the main entrance of Continental Hall in honor of its state Regent, Emma Gibbes.
In 1935 the chapter donated $50 to Fort Crailo towards the purchase of historic appropriate furnishings for the now State Museum in honor of Emma Gibbes. The NY State daughters were assigned a room.
In 1937 the Schenectada Chapter committee of Social Adjustment and Crime formed a new organization called the Schenectady Girls’ Club. Its aim was to give the girls a chance who did not belong either to the YWCA, Girl Scouts or Jewish Community Center. In 1938 it was determined that it became expedient to organize an association independent of the Committee. Henceforth, it is even today, the Schenectady Girls Club. The chapter stayed involved for a time with small aspects of the girls endeavors such as homemaking skills.
In 1940 the National DAR organization held a Golden Jubilee in celebration of the 50 years of its founding and existence.
In 1941 the Chapter marked its 30th anniversary with a meeting and installation of new leaders.
In 1942 the chapter purchased $3,000 Defense bonds to help many projects, among them the Red Cross, with the causes during WWII.
On November 21st, 1946 the Schenectada daughters noted their 35th Anniversary with speaker Arthur Cornelius Jr. from the FBI. Many guests and chapter Regents from the Capitol District attended.
At its annual Americanism Day February 1947, the members voted to honor the memory of the late Emma D. van Vranken Gibbes, with a plaque at the Valley Forge, Pa. Bell Tower on the Honor Roll of National Officers. In July, chapter member Mrs, John Glen Sanders was appointed state chairman of Radio. She was then named National Vice Chair of membership for the northern district.
In 1948 the chapter helped the City of Schenectady (Charter-1798-1948) to celebrate its Sesquicentennial with lots of support of organizations and donations.
The early Chapter meetings were held at member’s homes and the Historical Society at 13 Union Street, then moved around the corner to 56/32 Washington Ave to the Schenectady Women’s Club until 1977. However, the women’s club became the Historical Society in 1958. Then they moved to the Second Reformed Church from 1977 to 1984. For 2 years the chapter was meeting in member homes again. About 1987 to 2019 Chapter meetings were held at the Edison Club restaurant in Rexford, New York.
1953 saw the National DAR erect a Bell Tower at Valley Forge National Park and our chapter raised funds for a memorial plaque on it to honor Emma VV Gibbes.
“This Tower is dedicated by the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, to those patriots of the Revolutionary War whose faith and courage won and established American Freedom, and to those heroes of World Wars I and II who defended and preserved that blessed heritage.”
Silver Anniversary Golden Anniversary
WORLD WAR II
The chapter marked their 45th anniversary in October 1956 with a meeting at the Women’s club recognizing the 2 remaining charter members.
The Golden Anniversary Celebration was held at the Lake Hill House of the first Reformed Church of Scotia on September 21, 1961. Speaker was state Regent Mrs. Frank Cuff. Thirteen past regents were recognized. A silver candelabra was presented by the Chapter House Committee to commemorate this anniversary. The last surviving Charter Member, Mrs. Maude Stauring, was presented with her 50-year pin.
At the annual Flag Day luncheon at the Hotel van Curler in 1965 the chapter honored past Regent Mrs. John Glen Sanders (1954-56) for her many years of service as State Chaplain, Custodian, Chair of Radio and Television, Chair of State Conference, Resolutions Committee, Chair of the NY state room at Ten Broeck house, State vice chair of Constitution week, and National vice Chair of Registration Line, Chair of Constitution Week and National House Committee.
In 1966 the Schenectady Union Star received the Continental Congress award in public relations as the newspaper placing 2nd nationally, for the best news story on the NSDAR Diamond Jubilee from 1965.
Revolutionary War Soldier Arent Simon Vedder’s grave was marked June 15, 1967 during the Flag Day luncheon at the Niskayuna Reformed Church. Patriot Vedder is buried in their cemetery. Many of his descendants attended the event and participated in the service.
The last surviving Revolutionary War soldier in Scotia Glenville, Schenectady County and NY State, Nicholas Gerrit Veeder, had his grave stone rededicated, with a plaque on June 17th 1971 at the Dutch Reformed Church Cemetery on Saratoga Road, Scotia, New York. His descendants were invited to attend and a number of them did.
Helen Blaise, Regent Dorthea Swits, Mrs Edgar Snell and Scotia Mayor John Ryan
In July 1971 the Chapter reported that they had planted over 1,000 seedlings on behalf of Conservation. The chapter participated in the 200th anniversary of raising the Liberty Flag and pole in Schenectady on the corner of Church and Union Streets.
Then on October 25, 1971 Native American Philip Tarbell, of the St. Regis Reservation gave a talk to the chapter. The chapter also marked their 6oth anniversary.
In 1975 the chapter received a National Award for the Yearbook.
The Bicentennial of 1976, the Chapter participated in the community events with a booth at Freedom Park for 2 days, with members dressed in colonial costume, and had a display of antiques and quilts. There was a barge that stopped on the Mohawk River the week of July 18-24 sponsored by NY State. They contributed to the Knox Trail markers and recognition that was part of the Bicentennial. They also marked the graves of Revolutionary War Soldiers at Vale Cemetery and helped with in depth research for 6 patriots buried there.
The Chapter had two evening groups, one the Junior Membership, from about 1950 until one was disbanded in the 1980’s and the other became the Liberty Group which ceased monthly meetings in 1994. They even had separate speakers and events.
On October 18th, 1986 the chapter celebrated their 75th anniversary at the Willows Country Club. NY State Regent Jan Rohrs was the main speaker. However, since the drop in membership, they discontinued the card parties, guest day, bazaars, bake and rummage sales.
It was noted that a number of past regents served at both the state and national level. Mrs. McBride, Anna Bristol, Helen Blasé, were state Chairs, Mrs. Horstman, Mrs. Swits, Janet Plourde, and Mrs. Patierne served on various national and state committees. Anna Bristol and Mrs. McBride were honored with plaques in the DAR Museum, through contributions to the Friends of the museum on their passing.
On June 4th 1995, the Chapter won an award from National for their outstanding education project during Constitution week. Mary Francis Case, chairwoman of American History Month accepted the award. The chapter also began participating in parades, the first being the Armistice Parade in Albany.
On October 16, 1997, an informal meeting was held by our chapter at the Schenectady County Library regarding the Mohawk Valley Heritage Commission. A State Assemblyman from our area, the Director of the Commission, and an interpretive program speaker from Johnson Hall, Johnstown, New York were the speakers.
In 1998 the chapter held a ceremony and rededicated the repaired markers placed at the Mabee Farm Historical Site and House.
The chapter became a Commemoration Partner for the 50th Anniversary of the Korean War commemoration committee of the Department of Defense. We held numerous events to honor the Korean Veterans and family members in order to recognize their contributions and sacrifices.
The CENTENNIAL Anniversary of the Chapter was celebrated on November 5, 2011 at the Terrace of Water’s Edge Restaurant in Glenville, NY with 82 in attendance. The main speaker was Dr. Richard Rose, with the NY Dept of Health, and adjunct history professor with SCCC on the education beginnings of early Schenectady. Our New York State Regent, Denise Doring VanBuren was also an honored guest and speaker. A gift for the New York State Regent’s Project was presented to her at that time.
In 2015 our chapter became a partner with the national Commemorative 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War. We honored many veterans with certificates and lapel pins at events over several years. We held public ceremonies on the day of March 29th at Vale Cemetery veteran’s plot.
On May 11, 2017, a Community Service Award was given to Rosemarie Davidson of Emma Willard High School for her work with training dogs for veterans.
Emma Willard staff, Rosemarie Davidson, Jane Alesandrini, Regent Susan Jackson, Marion Clas
On April 19, 2018 Dr. Richard Rose received the highest award given by NSDAR, the DAR Medal of Honor.
NY State Regent Nancy Zwetsch, Dr. Rose, NY State Assemblyman James Tedesco, Regent Susan Jackson
On June 21st 2019 our chapter, partnering with the city of Schenectady, honored founding Regent Harriet Leonard Colburn, with a blue and gold New York State marker in front of what was her home at 1418 Union Street Schenectady. An unveiling ceremony was conducted by Chapter Regent Judith Peck, and Chaplain Barbara Buckley. It was organized by Historian Kim Mabee and main speaker Darlene Lee. The day’s ceremony was attended by New York state Regent Nancy Zwetsch, Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy, and about 20 members of the chapter and public. Afterward, a pot luck luncheon was held at the home of Kim and Gary Mabee in Glenville.
Author Darlene Lee, NY State Regent Nancy Zwetsch, Schenectady City Mayor Gary McCarthy, Schenectada Chapter Regent Judith Peck, past Regent Susan Jackson, Historian Kim Mabee
In 2019 our Chapter nominee, Michael Companion, for NSDAR Outstanding Teacher of American History, was the New York State winner. He is a teacher at Shenendehowa West in Clifton Park. He was given his award at the September State Conference. His photo even made the front page of the Daily Gazette!
Regent Judith Peck, Mike, NY, State Historian Beth C. Keyser
March 5th 2020 Regent Judith Peck and Historian Kim Mabee attended the inaugural event for the 250th Anniversary, the Boston Massacre, held in conjunction with DAR and the America 250 celebration committee.
President General DDVB at Granary Grave site Kim Mabee and Judith Peck
Then the Covid 19 pandemic hit our planet. We learned new technical ways to communicate and hold meetings with social distancing. We held more than an entire years’ worth of meetings via Zoom. We were fortunate to have scientists make a vaccine in record time, so we could all be together again by mid-2021 for outdoor events.
On May 18th 2021 our Schenectada Chapter held a dual Patriot Plaque Unveiling Ceremony at the Mabee Farm Historic Site Cemetery to honor Cornelius and John Mabee. It was a 3-way partnership with the Schenectady County Historical Society the Maybee Society and our Chapter. It was scheduled to happen at the Maybee Society 5-year Reunion on July 12, 2020 (the dates on the plaques). However, the Covid 19 pandemic interfered. The ceremony was held on May 18th 2021 as a lead up to the USA’s and DAR Semi-quincentennial and the New York State “Make a Splash” events as we honored these Schenectady Patriots. Dignitaries in attendance were Chapter Regent Judith Peck, Chaplain Barbara Buckley, President General Denise Doring VanBuren, New York State Regent Patrice Powley Birner, District IV Director Heather Mabee, State Senator Michelle Hinchey, State Assemblyman Angelo Santa Barbara, America 250 Historian Christopher Leonard, County Historian William Buell, Rotterdam Supervisor Stephen Tommasone, Schenectady County Historical Society Executive Director Mary Zawacki, Maybee Society President/Schenectada Chapter Historian/America 250 Chair, Kim A. Mabee. President General DDVB also wrote about the event in her May 28, 2021 blog post.
On June 19th 2021, there was a gravestone plaque unveiled for our most decorated Regent, Emma van Vranken Gibbes. It was organized and prepared by Committee Chair Marion Clas and members Susan Jackson and Jane Alessandrini. The event was conducted by Regent Judith Peck, and Chaplain Barbara Buckley. In attendance were Vale Cemetery directors Bernard and Barbara McEvoy, NY State Regent Patrice Powley Birner, state officers Kathy Keenan Baldwin, Beth Keyser, District Director Heather Mabee, State Representative Angelo Santa Barbara, and a number of Chapter members.
After passing our 110th Anniversary on October 11th 2021, we celebrated on April 7th, 2022 at the Empire Aero Space community room with a gift to ourselves of a new copy of our Chapter Charter. It appears that our old charter was lost.
The Chapter had hopes of acquiring a chapter house of their own, and to that end, purchased silver, DAR dishes, etc. and were given donations of cupboards, tablecloths, punch bowls and glassware. They paid insurance on the silver for many years. They donated many books and family histories to the Historical Society at the beginnings of the Grems-Dolittle archive library. They raised and saved money from a committee formed in 1923 until 1976 and then it appears they realized it was not going to happen. They marked the graves of member daughters buried locally for their entire history.
The Schenectada Chapter continues today with a web site, a Facebook page, and meetings throughout the year. Every December they give the Good Citizenship award to deserving high school seniors. They also give annually to deserving nonprofit groups, through the Catherine Drabik Award and other donations. The Chapter holds many ceremonies to honor and commemorate Wars, Veterans and events.
Today, the Schenectada Chapter is actively involved with many community projects. We support our schools through presenting the American History Award to out-standing students, honoring outstanding History teachers, choosing a winner of the NY State Flag Essay Contest, the Good Citizens’ Award to students exemplifying honesty, patriotism and community service to an outstanding degree, celebrating and promoting Constitution Week.
We have supported our community through participating in Veterans’ Day celebrations in Glenville, Memorial Day observances and parades in Scotia and Burnt Hills, the 9/11 Ceremony in Glenville, donations to the Stratton Veteran’s Hospital, the partnering with the Defense Department for 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. We hold local Genealogy Workshops in conjunction with other Chapters, the Sons of the American Revolution, and the Mayflower Society. We also commemorate the Battles of Saratoga, Revolutionary War at the National Park every September, in conjunction with the NSDAR Saratoga Chapter, SAR and CAR. In the month of May, we also hold a memorial service to honor our deceased member daughters. We are also very proud to celebrate outstanding, local members of the community through Awards in Community Service and Conservation.
The Schenectada Chapter also supports historical preservation through active participation and financial support of the Mabee House and the Van Schaick Mansion.
The Schenectada Chapter has received awards recently for Leadership and American Heritage.
We are 110 Years young in 2021!
We are young because we believe in our DAR mission and in our activities to support this mission.
We believe we must keep the DAR programs before the community through our words and activities.
We are aware of the current world climate.
We actively support our military in the VA hospital and in the field.
We look for ways to support the military and their families.
We are aware of our responsibility to our community and our country.
We are aware of the privileges of being citizens of the United States and members of the Schenectada Chapter NSDAR.
We will continue to grow and honor God, home and country.
Notable Dates in Schenectady
Located in eastern New York State near the joining of the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers, Schenectady New York is deep-rooted in history and culture dating back to the 1600s.
1661: First settled by the Dutch Colony
1690: The Schenectady Massacre occurred when France and their Indian allies attacked and burned the town and killing all but 60 inhabitants
1795: Union College was founded
1809: Schenectady County was formed
1887: Edison Machine Works was moved to Schenectady by Thomas Edison
1892: GE made its headquarters in Schenectady, NY
1911: Schenectada Chapter, NSDAR organized and our DAR National Charter was presented to chapter
1940: The first television broadcast was relayed to WRGB in Schenectady, NY, establishing the first television network
2011: Schenectada Chapter, NSDAR celebrates 100-year anniversary