PROFILES of DAR CHAPTERS, Part 2
HERKIMER & MONTGOMERY COUNTIES, N. Y.
Astenrogen Chapter, Little Falls, N.Y.
General Nicholas Herkimer Statue, Herkimer, N.Y.
Source: History of New York State Conference Daughters of the American Revolution, Its Officers and Chapters with National Officers from New York and Roster of Real Daughters. Compiled by (Mrs. Frederick) Florence Skidmore Brown Menges, State Historian, and Mrs. Charles White Nash, State Regent. 1923.
The Daughters of the American Revolution is a society of women who can document their lineage back to an ancestor who contributed to the creation of the United States as a nation. Chapters across the U.S. work on projects that preserve and maintain historical locations, buildings, and other cultural resources, and keep the memories alive of events before and since the Revolution. Many local cemeteries and documents have been transcribed by members of area DAR chapters. Some of them no longer exist except for DAR documentation. The marking of historical places throughout the region is just one of many success stories of the Mohawk Valley chapters.
ASTENROGEN - Little Falls
Organized 1895 Membership 64
"Astenrogen," the Mohawk Indian name for that part of river, and whose meaning is given variously as "Rocks of Thunder," "Swift Water," and "Place of Rocks," all of which are appropriate to this portion of the beautiful historic valley of the Mohawk.
Duly appointed to form a Chapter in Little Falls, and the required number obtained, Miss Clara Louise Hale Rawdon, called a meeting at her home and on the afternoon of December 31st, 1895 this Chapter was organized with 16 Charter Members - the chapter flower, the red carnation - Miss Rawdon appointed officers for the first year.
Regent - Miss Clara Louise Hale Rawdon.
June 5th, 1896, a memorable gathering was held with Miss Rawdon, in honor of the State Regent, Miss Mary Isabella Forsyth, who presented Astenrogen Chapter with its Charter. On June 4th, the first State conference was held in Utica by the Oneida Chapter, at which the Regent and one delegate from surrounding Chapters were present. Mrs. Baldwin and Miss Rawdon representing Astenrogen Chapter; the conference was honored by the presence of the State Regent.
The first public function given by this Chapter was a memorable one in connection with the dedicatory services of the Herkimer monument, that long delayed tribute to the hero of Oriskany.
The Commemorative services were held in the evening at the Opera House, Justice George A. Hardin being chairman of the occasion.
The Chairman introduced the Regent, who read the resolution which she had been asked to draw for the chapter, copies of which printed in Red, White, and Blue were presented in behalf of Mrs. P. B. Baldwin to Col. Cole, representing the Governor and the State Legislature - Col. John W. Vrooman for the Commissioners of the Herkimer Monument and Mrs. Willis Ford, niece of Horatio Seymour, for the Oneida County Historical Society, these being the societies which were instrumental in securing the monument.
The Regent in behalf of the Chapter extended an invitation to the reception in the Rifle Corps' rooms, which was a notable event. Miss Rawdon gave a short address and presented guests with a picture of the Monument and Herkimer Home. A noteworthy event was the service in Emmanuel church on Washington's Birthday, 1897. The display of flags, the TeDeum, "Onward Christian Soldiers" and "America, " sung by the vested choir, each wearing a tiny flag and the "Star Spangled Banner," rendered by Professor Bullock on the organ made a soul-stirring and memorable service, the first ever held in the city on that day.
It was the Astenrogen Chapter who first brought to public attention the propriety and desirability of making the Old Home of General Herkimer state property. In February 1897, Miss Rawdon appointed as a committee Miss Petrie, Mrs. Baldwin and Mrs. R. H. Smith, to draw resolution to this effect, which were sent to various Chapters and individuals. After much legislation and delay, the Home became state property and is now in charge of the Herkimer Home Commission and the General Nicholas Herkimer Home Association. The rooms and halls are furnished by different Chapters, the sixth of August, the anniversary of the battle of Oriskany, there is generally a pilgrimage to the honored spot. Be it as it may, to Astenrogen Chapter, Little Falls, New York, belongs the credit of calling public notice to an object which has finally reached splendid consummation.
Flag day, chosen as Chapter Day, was first observed on June 14, 1897 in the Relief Corps rooms, a patriotic program given and the Regent presented by Reverend Charles D. Richardson, in behalf of Mrs. Baldwin, with a gavel of wood from Fraunces Tavern, beautifully bound in silver, suitably inscribed; the Regent then presented it to the Chapter in perpetuity.
Another memorable feature of this gathering was the presentation of a large flag to the Chapter through the Regent, from Honorable George A. Hardin, and a congratulatory letter from him was read.
On July 4th, 1898, the first church service ever held in its commemoration was at the Regent's request and under the Chapter's auspices, Rev. Charles E. S. Rasay giving a splendid address and the vested choir patriotic music. During the Spanish American War this chapter did its share faithfully and well, responding promptly to the call for money, clothing, books and other needed articles. Letters from the Hospital Corps in Washington - from Headquarters in Havana and two letters from General FitzHugh Lee gratefully acknowledged the good work done by this Chapter. In addition the Regent was given money by patriotic citizens to be used as was considered best.
On June 22nd, 1900, a reception was held at the High School for Mrs. Samuel Verplank, State Regent and the presentation to the school of a reading shelf to be supplied with suitable books by the Chapter. The Spirit of '76 and the American Monthly Magazine, the D. A. R. official organ had for several years been furnished to the public library.
The Oriskany pilgrimage, planned by Mrs. Lamb, culminated August 6th, 1902, Mrs. Donald McLean being the principal speaker at this largely attended meeting.
In 1904 Flag day falling on Sunday, a service was held in Emmanuel Church, Rev. C. E. S. Rasay preaching from the text, "Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth." All of the patriotic societies attended the service.
September 28th, 1906, the chapter unveiled a bronze tablet, placed on the Fort Herkimer Church, to mark the site of the old fort. There was a large representative gathering and impressive ceremonies, the Regent making an address.
A long cherished wish of the chapter was gratified when on September 16th, at Shells Bush, in the presence of a large and distinguished gathering from all parts of the valley, the granite marker with bronze tablet erected by the chapter, was unveiled with impressive ceremonies. Mrs. William Cumming Story, State Regent, was Miss Rawdon's guest and delivered an eloquent address. Addresses were given by Max Reid, well known historical authority of Amsterdam, Mayor Walrath, Ex-Mayor Douglas of Little Falls, Mr. E. LaGrange Smith, a prominent lawyer of the Valley and Mr. William Witherstine, president of the County capital. The monument was erected in memory of John Christian Shell, who with his brave wife and sons defended the block house from Indian attack August 6th, 1781; the day was notable in point of numbers and enthusiasm.
A series of lectures was arranged in the Autumn of 1910 to be held at the homes of Mrs. A. O. Douglass, Mrs. S. J. Waters and Miss Rawdon. The first on the "Romance of Heraldry," by Charles Somerville Watson of London; the second on "The Flag," by Rev. C. E. S. Rasay, and the third, "The Battle of Yorktown,' by F. Becker, a lawyer and historian of Boston.
An object which Mrs. Lamb had brought to the attention of the chapter was marking the site of the old Octagon Church. This church was built in 1794 and used by different denominations until 1842, when it was torn down, and is now the site of the Church Street school. The Regent raised the splendid sum of $200 from patriotic friends for a bronze tablet on which is a replica of the church, beneath which is the inscription, "Erected by Astenrogen Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, with the aid of patriotic citizens of this city to commemorate the site of the old Octagon Church, erected in 1794, the first place of worship in Little Falls." "This marker was dedicated September 11, 1911." Not only in money but in every way was the interest of the citizens shown in this splendid work.
As Old Home Week was celebrated that month, the chapter was asked to make its ceremonies part of the week's festivities, and a most notable event it proved to be. State Officers and many Regents were present and a splendid program carried out. The State Regent, Mrs. Joseph S. Wood, read telegrams of congratulations and regret from the President General and Ex-Presidents General and from men high in official life. The history of the church was given by Hon. Thomas D. Ferguson, the presentation to the city was made by the Regent and accepted graciously by Mayor Timothy Dasey. O'Rourke and Hurley, leading druggists of Little Falls, had souvenir plates with a picture of the church and the inscription on tablet. The largest undertaking of the Valley Chapters was the marking with granite boulders and bronze tablets suitably inscribed of the General Herkimer route to Oriskany which reached splendid consummation on Flag Day, 1912. The fourth marker at Fort Herkimer was placed by Astenrogen Chapters with ceremonies most interesting, including an address by Gen. W. F. Lansing. This Chapter which had as its special guest Lieutenant Governor Conway, was the only one honored by an address from him, save the one made at the closing scene of this notable day, and on the field of Oriskany where the fourteenth marker was placed and exercises held under auspices of the Oriskany Chapter.
Miss Rawdon had always desired that the chapter should give a flag to the Herkimer Home, but a large one was donated by a resident of Utica. Miss Rawdon then asked Hon. Homer P. Snyder to give the staff for Little Falls. With customary generosity he acceded and through the efforts of his son-in-law, Col. Teal and the Regent the splendid steel staff was procured and an inscribed bronze marker and from which now waves on special occasions the glorious Stars and Stripes.
Through their efforts the Little Falls Band accompanied the cortege of flag bedecked cars to Fort Herkimer, amid the music with singing of the school children, there awaiting, rendered the scene most inspiring.
The Chapter interested in Red Cross work gave on the evening of October 14th, 1914, a delightful concert. The ready response received from the artists and public resulted in the sum of $108.25 which was forwarded to Washington for the Red Cross fund. A long cherished wish of the Regent was gratified when over 200 children of all the city schools assembled on the platform, sang with inspiring effect the National airs, closing with the Star Spangled Banner.
On April 6th, 1916, Mrs. William Cumming Story, then President General, appointed Miss Rawdon chairman, and the Mayor of Little Falls issued a proclamation that April 8th be made a tag day for the benefit of Belgian orphans, that day being King Albert's birthday. Through the chapter's efforts $65.00 was forwarded for this worthy object.
In July, 1916, Little Falls celebrated the opening of the Barge Canal and Lift Lock, the highest in the world. Astenrogen Chapter had its place in the historical pageant and parade. The members represented the scene of Governor Clinton's presence in Little Falls at the opening of the Erie Canal in October, 1825. The great-uncle of the Regent had on that occasion the honor of delivering the oration and her great aunt, Mrs. G. F. Feeter, that of presiding at the banquet given for the Governor. In 1916, the Chapter adopted a fatherless child of LePoujol, France. This care was maintained until 1920, proving most interesting, a correspondence with the mother, the Widow Amelie Morgo and little Marie is still maintained by Miss Rawdon. Madam Morgo's admiration for the American soldiers and her appreciation of the Chapter's aid was evident in her interesting letters.
On September 16th, 1916, the Regent gave a reception to the State Regent, Mrs. Benjamin F. Spraker, attended by local and out-of-town guests, among whom were Regents from various chapters. Col. John W. Vrooman, the speaker of the afternoon, brought with him interesting relics, among which was the German Bible from which General Herkimer read shortly before his death, also his epaulets and spurs.
On October 4th, 1918, there was a brilliant reception in the Opera House in honor of Miss Stella F. Broadhead, State Regent, which was attended by Regents officers and guests from many cities and town. Hon. H. P. Snyder, the State Regent and Mrs. Edsall made short addresses; a musical program by local talent delighted everyone.
The business meetings are held in the Chapter room in the Public Library. When this building was given by Hon. Rollin H. Smith for this purpose, Miss Rawdon asked the trustees for the use of a room for the chapter. This request was granted with permission to furnish it, and many valuable and interesting relics have been given the chapter, including two chairs which belonged to General Herkimer.
Unusually brilliant observance of Flag Day, June 14th, 1918, was held in the City of Little Falls, terminating in an evening parade and celebration in Western Park. The Chamber of Commerce presented a beautiful service flag in memory of those who were in the World War. Astenrogen Chapter presented a large Stars and Stripes to the city to float from the tall staff of the newly completed City Hall, which was surmounted by a brass Eagle presented by the Grand Army of the Republic. Homer P. Snyder presided at the meeting and introduced the speaker of the evening. Mr. William Ross Lee, District Attorney of Oneida Count. Justice Evans read the record of the flag and James S. Somers of Utica, the Elks beautiful tribute to the Stars and Stripes. Mr. W. Van Alstyne presented flag for the Chamber of Commerce, Mrs. Edsall, Regent presented the gift of Astenrogen Chapter. Both were accepted graciously by the Mayor, Abram Zoller.
Miss Rawdon gave an address on the flag; the exercise closed with prayer and benediction by Rev. H. M. Cary, followed by the "Star Spangled Banner," played by the Little Falls Military Band, the audience joining in the singing.
With imposing ceremonies the flag was raised on the morning of July 4th, the Italian band furnishing inspiring music. The regent presented the flag to the city, which was accepted by Mayor Zoller. A salute by all the school children was given with a flag drill. The pastor of the Lutheran Church gave the benediction which closed this notable event.
In February, 1916, these same generous citizens responded to the Regent's request and enabled her to present to the Jefferson Street school, attended largely by foreign born children a beautiful silk American flag. A patriotic program was arranged by the teachers, the regent addressed the children and spirited rendering of the "Star Spangled Banner" closed the exercises.
Fulfilling one of the primary objects of the society, Astenrogen Chapter from its inception yearly offered prizes of five and two-fifty gold pieces in the city schools, for historical essays on historical subjects selected by a committee of professional and editorial men.
Astenrogen Chapter had the honor of being the first to mark the grave of a Revolutionary soldier in the Valley, which was that of Col. William Feeter in Manheim. Many other graves have since been marked and on Decoration Day committees have always placed flags and flowers on graves of Revolutionary soldiers in this vicinity and those of departed members, also on the grave of General Herkimer.
In 1919, Mrs. Edsall, Regent, invested in Liberty Bonds. In September two High School girls, daughters of members, sewed Stars on the flag which was being carried through the State.
In September, 1919, an effort was made to preserve the old lock, the last relic of the Inland Navigation Company. Years before when Miss Rawdon had appeared before the President and Common Council, asking that Astenrogen Chapter be given the privilege of placing a tablet thereon and emphasizing the importance of prompt action in preserving the only relic of its kind in the Empire State. Commercial interests have prevented the consummation of this effort on the part of a society, one of whose chief objects is the preservation of historic spots.
The year 1919, marked by profitable meetings - Flag Day with Miss Rawdon. The 25th birthday, 1920, also celebrated in the Young Womens Christian Association rooms by a large gathering in honor of Mrs. Charles White Nash, State Regent, of Albany.
Addresses made by the Regent, Mrs. Edsall, Mrs. Nash, Mrs. Lamb, ex-Regent and Miss Rawdon, the two latter referring to the Chapter History. A charming musical program followed.
The chapter presented the High School with a fine picture of "Washington Crossing the Delaware" and Miss Rawdon that of "Betsy Ross Making the Flag," framed in red cedar, given by Gen. W. F. Lansing and part of the ship New Orleans, which was in process of building at Sacketts Harbor for the war of 1812, and which was never completed, as Peace was declared.
In 1920, $25.00 was given the Young Womans Christian Association, and $10.00 to the Plymouth Fountain Fund; to the Immigrant Guide Fund the Chapter contributed $10.00 and $3.00 to the Red Cross Fund for Christmas baskets.
On its birthday, 1920, it was voted to send $3.25 to the Guernsey Scholarship and $3.25 to the War Exhibit Picture in Paris and $2.00 to the Indian School in Tennessee; $25.00 already had been given to the Berry School in Georgia.
To the various National, State and Chapter requests for money for various purposes Astenrogen Chapter has ever given its share as well as books to the National Daughters of the American Revolution Library.
The 26th anniversary of the chapter was held in the Young Women's Christian Association rooms and a program of merit delighted the guests.
This chapter has been particularly honored in the membership of two real daughters. The oldest, Mrs. Samantha Stanton Nellis, was born January 5th, 1810, in New York State and died August 12, 1919. The chapter is proud to possess a large framed picture, taken on her 100th birthday, bearing her signature with date----also various specimens of her handiwork----and it was for many years the Chapter's special privilege to send her birthday and Easter remembrances, to which the chapter received her own response.
Mrs. Mary Adler Davis was born in New York State, January 27, 1809, and lived to a very advanced age. To her also the Chapter sent yearly remembrances. A valued possession is the charter which hangs upon the chapter room wall and which, with Miss Rawdon's certificate of appointment as regent to form a chapter in Little Falls, is framed in wood presented by Mrs. Stewart Lansing from a Locust tree on the General Herkimer farm. This certificate bears the names of Letitia Green Stevenson, President General, and Agnes Marten Burnett, Recording Secretary General. An invaluable possession is the Chapter Year Book, a large volume beautifully bound in red leather and bearing on its surface in gold letters, "Astenrogen Chapter D. A. R., Little Falls, N. Y., December 31, 1895." Fortunately the Regent has kept every published item since its organization and the Treasurer had many such. It was at her (Mrs. John T. Randall's) suggestion that such a book be procured and it is Miss Rawdon's happy privilege to have arranged chronologically all the large and minor events of Chapter work.
CLARA LOUISE HALE RAWDON
|The profile above was contributed by Asst. County Coordinator Lisa Slaski and typed by volunteer Dick Nabinger. A copy of the book it appears in is available for viewing at the main branch of the Orange County Library System, Orlando, FL. All punctuation, spelling and sentence structure are as appear in the original.|
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