Photo by Kathryn Ross
To recognize the 125th anniversary of the Catherine Schuyler Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, some members dressed in period costumes.
By KATHRYN ROSS
BELMONT — The Catherine Schuyler Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution celebrated its 125th anniversary Thursday with great fanfare.
The event, attended by dozens of members, was held at the Belmont Literary and Historical Society Free Library, which it has supported over the years and where the first meeting of the chapter took place.
On hand for the event were local politicians Gretchen Hanchett, who represents Belmont’s District 2 in the county legislature, Belmont Deputy Mayor Scott Grantier and George Fillgrove, representing state Sen. George Borello.
The guest speaker was Pamela Barrack, New York State Regent for the DAR. She prefaced her remarks saying that she is familiar with the local chapter because she is a former resident of Batavia.
Barrack focused on the future of the DAR and its history, after recognizing the local chapter for its longevity and activities over the years. She pointed out that the Daughters of the American Revolution was founded only a few months after the Sons of the American Revolution rejected the idea of including women in its membership — the DAR was founded in the summer of 1890.
“And has been going strong ever since,” Barrack said.
She noted that in 11 years the nation will celebrate its 250th anniversary and that the DAR is making plans now for the celebration.
During the 1976 Bicentennial, she said, the DAR reached its largest membership, 209,000, adding, “We have the ability to reach that number again and we want to increase it to 250,000 members by 2033.”
Today membership is around 190,000.
Barrack congratulated the Catherine Schuyler Chapter for increasing its membership to 100, a 46-member increase since its 120th anniversary celebration.
“Keep up the good work because the best is yet to come,” she said.
Assemblyman Joe Giglio, R-Gowanda, sent a citation to the chapter recognizing its 125th anniversary, which was read by Honored Regent Meredith Chilson.
Fillgrove, who said he was honored to be at the celebration because his mother was a DAR member, presented the group a resolution which was introduced in the state Senate by Borrello, R-Chautauqua County, commemorating the anniversary of the Catherine Schuyler Chapter and recognizing its contributions to the community.
One of the biggest highlights of the day was the unveiling of the refurbished portrait of Mary Adelia Chamberlain Ward, who was the Organizing Regent of the Catherine Schuyler Chapter from 1897, when it was founded, to 1912.
Barrack helped current Chapter Regent Deborah Snyder unveil the portrait, which will hang somewhere in the library. According to some members, the refurbished oil portrait of Ward makes the founder look less severe and leads them to believe that it will no longer scare children. For many years the portrait hung in the children’s section of the library.
Ward and her husband Hamilton contributed generously to the community during their lifetimes including contributing the land and funding for the Belmont literary and Historical Society Free Library.
The celebration ended with a group portrait.