Recognized members Founding and charter members included: Esther Biggers Nanetta Key Burkholder Becker Margaret Blair Coryne Choate Lucy Colvin Barbara Frizzell Sara Harp Marie Harvey Mary Hill Valois Holder Janet Jackson Ellis Verna Lester Barbara McAlexander Mildred McCafferty Mable Tarrant McCool Cornelia McKee Elaine Roebuck Elvira Schaff Kathleen Sechrest (voted the first regent) Joy Senturia Lelia Slonek Carr Maxelle Singletary Helen Wright Martha Wright


Even a group focused on recognizing history sometimes has to take an opportunity to recognize its own founding.

The Daughters of the American Revolution Fort Velasco Chapter celebrated its 40th anniversary Saturday in the art gallery at the Center for the Arts and Sciences in Clute, where members past and present gathered to celebrate the organization.

The Fort Velasco Chapter was created in 1979 after a group of women gathered to discuss forming a chapter in Lake Jackson. A vote was taken to name the new chapter after the garrison once located in Velasco — present-day Surfside Beach — along the mouth of the Brazos River during the Texas Revolution.

Organizing members and past regents were honored with roses at the event. Any woman who can prove lineal, bloodline descent from an ancestor who aided in achieving American independence is eligible to join.

“We’re just here to celebrate and enjoy the company of the other DAR members,” regent Janice Jacob said at the event.

District director Gaby Hadyka, who oversees 12 chapters in Texas, shared the history of the group with members at the event.

DAR members share a bond with members across the country thanks to their ancestors who helped contribute to the fight for American independence, she said.

“Daughters are vibrant, active women who are passionate about community service, preserving history, educating children, as well as honoring and supporting those who serve our nation,” Hadyka said.

DAR was founded on Oct. 11, 1890, and welcomed its one-millionth daughter in October, she said.

“I think the DAR is wonderful,” founding member Janet Ellis said. “It promotes so much with our Constitution, and these ladies are so dedicated. Some of the most wonderful people I have ever met have been in DAR.”

Ellis became the veterans chairman shortly after joining and has held onto the position for 40 years.

“It’s been the most wonderful years of my life,” she said.

Ellis was the only founding member at the event, Jacob said.

“There are still some others alive but they don’t live near here anymore, and since the chapter’s been in existence for 40 years, some of them are quite elderly and weren’t able to attend,” Jacob said.

Jane Power, who said she decided to attend the event at the last minute, was surprised when she was inducted during the anniversary celebration.

“I’d been so busy; I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to make it,” Power said. “Then I just said, ‘OK, I’m coming,’ and they said, ‘By the way, we’re inducting you.’ This was a real exciting event.”

Power, a first and second-grade teacher at Foundation Preparatory Academy, attends the genealogy club at the Lake Jackson Library. After learning other members had joined DAR, she decided she needed to tie that bit of history into her genealogy, she said.

She looks forward to learning more about history through the group, and being able to inspire students by sharing more history with them, Power said.

Founding and charter members included Esther Biggers, Nanetta Key Burkholder Becker, Margaret Blair, Coryne Choate, Lucy Colvin, Barbara Frizzell, Sara Harp, Marie Harvey, Mary Hill, Valois Holder, Janet Jackson Ellis, Verna Lester, Barbara McAlexander, Mildred McCafferty, Mable Tarrant McCool, Cornelia McKee, Elaine Roebuck, Elvira Schaff, Kathleen Sechrest, who was voted the first regent, Joy Senturia, Lelia Slonek Carr, Maxelle Singletary, Helen Wright and Martha Wright.

The Fort Velasco Chapter will host a free genealogical workshop Nov. 9 at the Angleton Library. Registration for the event is required before Nov. 2. For information, email or call Andrea at 979-415-5557.

Corinna Richardson is the features writer for The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0150.

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