Alliance Chapter, NSDAR - Chapter History

Alliance Chapter History and Origin of Chapter Name
Boston Tea Party
Burgoyne's Surrender

Origin of Chapter Name

The name selected for the chapter, Alliance, was adopted from a popular novel of the day by Winston Churchill, "Richard Carvell," in which was recorded Capt. John Paul Jones' loss of his flagship Bonhomme Richard, and his transfer to the U.S.S. Alliance in1799. The name became a symbol of an alliance of the two cities, Urbana and Champaign, and the University of Illinois.

In March 2007, Alliance Chapter was invited to Cape Canaveral, Florida, for the dedication of a monument marking the last naval battle of the American Revolution fought and won by the U.S.S. Alliance. Hosting the event were DAR, SAR and the Cape Canaveral Navy League. Representing the chapter were: Virginia McColl, Carol Castellon, Sandra Santas, and Carol Larson.


Chapter History

Written by Georganne Marty with Alliance Chapter Past Regents and Registrar Evelyn Kesler

In April 1904, eight Urbana women met in the home of Kate Baker Busey to organize a DAR Chapter. Mrs. Busey (1855-1934) was an educator, worked in the women's Suffrage Movement and encoraged the building of better county roads to make education more accessible. The National Society granted Charter Number 642 to Alliance Chapter with its 20 charter members on September 30, 1904, designating June 14, 1904 as organization day. That date later became Flag day giving the chapter a double reason to celebrate.

With the help of Judge J. O. Cunningham, who had traveled the Eighth Judicial Circuit with Abraham Lincoln, Mrs. Busey convinced chapters in the area and eventually the Illinois State Organization to mark the circuit. Marker placement began in the 1920s.

The Alliance Chapter marker still stands in front of the Champaign County Courthouse in Urbana. It was re-dedicted November 10, 1989, after cleaning and refurbishing. Twenty years later after professional restoration, re-mounting, and re-posistioning, it was unveiled August 29, 2009, to coincide with the official dedication of the new clock and bell tower on the old courthouse, now a museum.

Alliance Chapter has had three historic gavels—one made from a block of wood from the Nebraska site of the first homestead in the United States granted under the 1862 Homestead Act. Another was made of wood from Abraham Lincoln's home in Springfield obtained during a period of renovation. The third was made of wood from the famous ship, Old Ironsides. The current gavel was made from wood from the fallen tree in front of the Illinois Cottage at Tamassee DAR School.

In 1920, Shemauga Student chapter, the first DAR chapter to be organized on any college or univeristy campus, was chartered at the University of Illinois. Young women at the U of I who were daughters of DAR members comprised the membership. Unfortunately, the chapter survived only about 15 years and was disbanded.

Since 1928, Alliance Chapter, as its proud sponsor, has provided financial aid and senior leadership for William Penn Society, Children of the American Revolution. The Society holds Charter #22; its name was chosen because a charter member was a direct descendant of William Penn of Pennsylvania. Both boys and girls, from birth to age 22, who can trace their lineage to a patriot who assisted in the American Revolution, are eligible for membership.

A special relationship characterizes Alliance Chapter and Piankeshaw Chapter, SAR. Together they honor the area high school's Good Citizens and share Constitution Week activities. Each society helps the other to obtain members.

On September 14, 1952, the chapter marked the grave of Elizabeth Conger Abbott, the daughter of a Revolutionary War soldier, in a Mahomet, IL, cemetery. In late 2009 two chapter members revisted the gravesite, took photographs and found the marker intact.

Members and guests celebrated the chapter's golden anniversary at a Flag Day luncheon in 1954 at the Champaign Country Club. A prize-winning float, "Birth of Our Nation's Flag," was an anniversary entry in the Champaign County Freedom Celebration Parade on July 4 that year. The chapter has continued to enter units in the July 4 parade having recently formed an "alliance" with the Corvette Club of Illinois.

The 75th anniversary luncheon was held at the Ramada Inn, Champaign, in 1979. Honorary President General and Illinois Honorary State Regent, Jane Farwell Smith, was the speaker. The chapter celebrated 85 years, June 10, 1989, with a luncheon at University Inn. Rosalie Stanton Clary, State Regent, and several other state officers were honored guests. President General Marie Hirst Yochim sent greetings.

The chapter celebrated its 90th birthday in 1994 when a marker was dedicated at the graveside of our founder, Kate Baker Busey, in Woodlawn Cemetery, Urbana, followed by a luncheon at nearby Urbana Country Club which Mrs. Busey had been instrumental in founding. Her daughter, Kathryn Busey Yntema of Springfield, then in her nineties, was a special guest. She died in 2003. The State Regent, Gale Jones Fixmer, and several state officers attended the anniversary event. Present General Wayne Garrison Blair sent greetings.

Members were pleased that the State Regent chose the occasion to honor Bonnie Blair Cruikshank, Champaign native and five-time Olympic Gold Medalist with a framed copy of the resolution enacted by the Ninety-Eighth Illinois State Conference. Bonnie's mother, Eleanor Blair, accepted the gift for her daughter who was living in Wisconsin at the time.

Alliance Chapter presented a Community Service Award to Mr. Fred Manthei, a local contractor, who had repaired several vandalized tombstones in a historic Mahomet cemetery as well as assisted in the repair of some of the Lincoln Markers. His project merited front-page coverage in the local newspaper, The News-Gazette.

Also in 1994, nine trees were planted in Lake of the Woods Park near Mahomet. Each tree represented a decade in the life of Alliance chapter. The area in the park is known as "DAR Grove." Additional donations later allowed the chapter to plant three more trees including a Red Oak to honor Ruth Smith Jones, honorary chapter regent, a long-time supporter of DAR National Defense efforts, who died in 1996. In addition, a wreath was placed in Clements Cemetery to honor the Revolutionary War veterans buried there, as well as another interred nearby on private property.

On Flag Day 2004, Alliance celebrated 100 years of service by dedicating a new marker at the gravesite of our founding regent, Kate Baker Busey, to replace the 1994 one which had "disappeared." This time the insignia marker was engraved upon the stone. The chapter also presented a Flag of the United States of America to the Champaign County Historical Museum. President General Linda Tinker Watkins sent greetngs.

At the 100th anniversary luncheon at Kennedy's Restaurant, a special guest was Kathryn Yntema of Springfield, granddaughter of Mrs. Busey, who recalled memories of her grandmother. Also attending were our speaker, Jane Hayes Hooe, State Regent; Gale Jones Fixmer, Organizing Secretary General; our own Georganne Marty, Vice President General; Pamela Peterson Bork, District III Director, members of the Illinois State Board of Management, several honorary state regents, many state chairmen, chapter members and other guests. Mrs. Marty presented the chapter a reissued charter in honor of the 100th anniversary to replace the original charter which was lost. The News-Gazette ran a full-page article on "DAR in Champaign County" and an interview with Mrs. Marty on the following page.

The first state regent from Alliance Chapter, Georganne Spurling Marty, served 1997-1999. She was elected Vice President General in 2002 and in 2006 was elected Honorary Vice President General for Life, two additional "firsts" for the chapter. Her other chapter, state and national service is listed in her state regent's entry in the new State History book.

Shirley Shields Jackson served the Illinois State Organization as state corresponding secretary (1976-78), state vice regent (1978-80) and state treasurer (1980-82). She also held the position of state parliamentarian for 16 years (1983-1999). She declined a ninth term.

Other members of Alliance Chapter who have served on the Illinois State Board of Management were Mrs. Mary C. Hart Lee (state chaplain - 1920-25). Dr. Annie L. Swan Zorger (state corresponding secretary - 1926-28), Janet Overturf Johnson (state corresponding secretary - 1950-52), Ruth P. Pace (state treasurer - 1944-45), Mabel Riddle Carlock (state registrar - 1935-37), May C. Vaughan Filbey (state registrar - 1937-39), Florence Sims Trowbridge (state corresponding secretary - 1972-74), Mary Fern Johnson Richart (state registrar - 1955-57) and Virginia Applegate Bills (state historian - 1969-71). Carol Rapp Castellon is currently serving as state treasurer (2010-12 term).

Janet Johnson moved to Monticello, IL, transferred to Remember Allerton Chapter, and later became state recording secretary, state regent and Chaplain General. When Remember Allerton Chapter disbanded, she returned to Alliance Chapter and remained a member until her death in 2004.

District III Directors from Alliance Chapter, in addition to Mrs. Marty (1989-91), included: Mrs. Filbey (1941-42), Dr. Zorger (1929-30), Effie E. Harris Lake (1931-32), Miss Emma Jutton (1936-37 and 1938-39), Mrs. Johnson (1955-57), Mrs. Pace (1943-44; 1951-53) and Carol Rapp Castellon (2013-15).

Although not a chapter regent or state officer, another member performed distinguished service. Mrs. Samuel T. Busey served on the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. Today her portrait hangs in Busey-Evans Residence Hall on the University campus.

Restorations of the Lincoln Marker on the Piatt-DeWitt County Line and the repair of the Lincoln marker on the Champaign-Piatt County Line were undertaken in the 1990s and completion celebrated at a re-dedication ceremony in 1999 in cooperation with DeWitt-Clinton Chapter. Principal speaker was Judge John Shonkwiler, of the Sixth Judicial District, who read the 1920 marker dedication speech of his grandfather, Eighth Judicial District Judge Francis Shonkwiler.

In 2009, the chapter re-dedicated the 1932 Lincoln Marker near the depot in Tolono where Lincoln delivered his last speech to the people of Illinois as he began his journey to Washington to become President of the United States.

Alliance Chapter has participated, since March 2001, in East Central Illinois Naturalization Ceremonies. Members present Flags of the United States of America and accompanying Flag Codes to each new citizen during the ceremony. Alliance members also provide cookies, punch, balloons and hostesses for the ensuing receptions. With the opening of the Federal Courthouse in Urbana, these ceremonies and receptions honor about 600 new citizens, plus their families and friends, each year.

Alliance Chapter was privileged to place a marker commemorating "The American's Creed" by William Tyler Page on October 22, 2010 in West Side Park, Champaign. The State Regent was a special guest in addition to several state officers, chapter members, the mayor of Champaign and many local dignitaries. The marker was the gift of Chapter Regent Sandra Santas. Honorary Vice President General Georganne Marty was chairman of the marker dedication committee.

Julia Woller continues as Regent for 2015-16. Membership currently stands at 161 as we look forward to another hundred years of service to God, Home and Country striving to achieve the educational, patriotic and historical goals of the National Society.

American Revolutionary War heroines - Lydia Darrah - This anecdote is given in the first number of the American Quarterly Review, and is said to be taken from Lydia's own narration. It is mentioned or alluded to by several other authorities, and in letters written at the time. The story is familiar to many persons in Philadelphia, who heard it from their parents; so that there appears no reason to doubt its authenticity.

On the second day of December, 1777, late in the afternoon, an officer in the British uniform ascended the steps of a house in Second Street, Philadelphia, immediately opposite the quarters occupied by General Howe, who, at that time, had full possession of the city. The house was plain and neat in its exterior, and well known to be tenanted by William and Lydia Darrah, members of the Society of Friends. It was the place chosen by the superior officers of the army for private conference, whenever it was necessary to hold consultations on subjects of importance; and selected, perhaps, on account of the unobtrusive character of its inmates, whose religion inculcated meekness and forbearance, and forbade them to practice the arts of war.

The officer, who seemed quite familiar with the mansion, knocked at the door. It was opened; and in the neatly furnished parlor he met the mistress, who spoke to him, calling him by name. It was the adjutant-general; and he appeared in haste to give an order. This was to desire that the backroom above stairs might be prepared for the reception that evening of himself and his friends, who were to meet there and remain late. "And be sure, Lydia," he concluded, "that your family are all in bed at an early hour. I shall expect you to attend to this request. When our guests are ready to leave the house, I will myself give you notice, that you may let us out, and extinguish the fire and candles."

Having delivered this order with an emphatic manner which showed that he relied much on the prudence and discretion of the person he addressed, the adjutant-general departed. Lydia betook herself to getting all things in readiness. But the words she had heard, especially the injunction to retire early, rang in her ears; and she could not divest herself of the indefinable feeling that something of importance was in agitation. While her hands were busy in duties that devolved upon her, her mind was no less actively at work. The evening closed in, and the officers came to the place of meeting. Lydia had ordered all her family to bed, and herself admitted the guests, after which she retired to her own apartment, and threw herself, without undressing, upon the bed.

But sleep refused to visit her eyelids. Her vague apprehensions gradually assumed more definite shape. She became more and more uneasy, till her nervous restlessness amounted to absolute terror. Unable longer to resist the impulse - not of curiosity, but surely of a far higher feeling - she slid from the bed, and taking off her shoes, passed noiselessly from her chamber and along the entry. Approaching cautiously the apartment in which the officers were assembled, she applied her ear to the key-hole. For a few moments she could distinguish but a word or two amid the murmur of voices; yet what she did hear but stimulated her eager desire to learn the important secret of the conclave.

At length there was profound silence, and a voice was heard reading a paper aloud. It was an order for the troops to quit the city on the night of the fourth, and march out to a secret attack upon the American army, then encamped at White Marsh.

Lydia had heard enough. She retreated softly to her own room, and laid herself quietly on the bed. In the deep stillness that reigned through the house, she could hear the beating of her own heart - the heart no,w throbbing with emotions to which no speech could give utterance. It seemed to her that but a few moments had elapsed, when there was a knocking at her door. She knew well what the signal meant, but took no heed. It was repeated, and more loudly; still she gave no answer. Again, and yet more loudly, the knocks were repeated; and then she rose quickly, and opened the door.

It was the adjutant-general, who came to inform her they were ready to depart. Lydia let them out, fastened the house, and extinguished the lights and fire. Again she returned to her chamber, and to bed; but repose was a stranger for the rest of the night. Her mind was more disquieted than ever. She thought of the danger that threatened the lives of thousands of her countrymen, and of the ruin that impended over the whole land. Something must be done, and that immediately, to avert this wide-spread destruction. Should she awaken her husband and inform him? That would be to place him in special jeopardy, by rendering him a partaker of her secret; and he might, too, be less wary and prudent than herself. No, come what might, she would encounter the risk alone. After a petition for heavenly guidance, her resolution was formed; and she waited with composure, though sleep was impossible, till the dawn of day. Then she waked her husband, and informed him flour was wanted for the use of the household, and that it was necessary she should go to Frankfort to procure it. This was no uncommon occurrence; and her declining the attendance of the maid-servant excited little surprise. Taking the bag with her, she walked through the snow; having stopped first at head-quarters, obtained access to General Howe, and secured his written permission to pass the British lines.

The feelings of a wife and mother - one whose religion was that of love, and whose life was but a quiet round of domestic duties, bound on an enterprise so hazardous, and uncertain whether her life might not be the forfeit, may be better imagined than described. Lydia reached Frankfort, distant four or five miles, and deposited her bag at the mill. Now commenced the dangers of her undertaking; for she pressed forward with all haste towards the outposts of the American army. Her determination was to apprise General Washington of the danger.

She was met on her way by an American officer, who had been selected by General Washington to gain information respecting the movements of the enemy. According to some authorities, this was Lieutenant-Colonel Craig, of the light horse. He immediately recognized her, and inquired whither she was going. In reply, she prayed him to alight and walk with her; which he did, ordering his men to keep in sight. To him she disclosed the secret, after having obtained from him a solemn promise not to betray her individually, since the British might take vengeance on her and her family.

The officer thanked her for her timely warning, and directed her to go to a house near at hand, where she might get something to eat. But Lydia preferred returning at once; and did so, while the officer made all haste to the commander-in-chief. Preparations were immediately made to give the enemy a fitting reception.

With a heart lightened and filled with thankfulness the intrepid woman pursued her way homeward, carrying the bag of flour which had served as the ostensible object of her journey. None suspected the grave, demure Quakeress of having snatched from the English their anticipated victory. Her demeanor was, as usual, quiet, orderly, and subdued, and she attended to the duties of her family with her wonted composure. But her heart beat, as late on the appointed night, she watched from her window the departure of the army - on what secret expedition bound, she knew too well! She listened breathlessly to the sound of their footsteps and the trampling of horses, till it died away in the distance, and silence reigned through the city.

Time never appeared to pass so slowly as during the interval which elapsed between the marching out and the return of the British troops. When at last the distant roll of the drum proclaimed their approach; when the sounds came nearer and nearer, and Lydia, who was watching at the window, saw the troops pass in martial order, the agony of anxiety she felt was too much for her strength, and she retreated from her post, not daring to ask a question, or manifest the least curiosity as to the event.

A sudden and loud knocking at her door was not calculated to lessen her apprehensions. She felt that the safety of her family depended on her self-possession at this critical moment. The visitor was the adjutant-general, who summoned her to his apartment. With a pale cheek, but composed, for she placed her trust in a higher Power, Lydia obeyed the summons.

The officer's face was clouded, and his expression stern. He locked the door with an air of mystery when Lydia entered, and motioned her to a seat. After a moment of silence, he said -

"Were any of your family up, Lydia, on the night when I received company in this house?"

"No," was the unhesitating reply. "They all retired at eight o'clock."

"It is very strange" - said the officer, and mused a few minutes. "You, I know, Lydia, were asleep; for I knocked at your door three times before you heard me - yet it is certain that we were betrayed. I am altogether at a loss to conceive who could have given the information of our intended attack to General Washington! On arriving near his encampment we found his cannon mounted, his troops under arms, and so prepared at every point to receive us, that we have been compelled to march back without injuring our enemy, like a parcel of fools."

It is not known whether the officer ever discovered to whom he was indebted for the disappointment.

But the pious Quakeress blessed God for her preservation, and rejoiced that it was not necessary for her to utter an untruth in her own defence. And all who admire examples of courage and patriotism, especially those who enjoy the fruits of them, must honor the name of Lydia Darrah.

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