Niagara Falls Chapter, NSDAR

Promoting Patriotism, Education, and Historic Preservation in Niagara County, since 1922

Chapter History

The chapter took its historical name from the mighty Falls and was organized April 4, 1922, the 147th in the state.  Charter #1536 was presented November 5, 1932.

The first Bylaws listed the initiation fee at $5.00.  Annual dues $2.00; $1.00 for National and $1.00 for the chapter.  $100.00 bought a lifetime membership and no further dues were to be paid.

Historical preservation was of first importance in 1922 with concerns about repairs to the Castle at Old Fort Niagara.  It ranked second to Quebec in historic value on the continent, Regent Etta Dudley said.  Castle restoration took several years.  Chapter help in Old Fort Niagara restoration has never ceased.

State Regent, Mrs. Charles W. Nash, spoke at the chapter's second meeting, encouraging mapping of old trails and historical routes and the copying of cemetery and Bible records.  Organizing Regent, Mrs. Frank A. Dudley, was the chapter's first state officer in 1923 as a State Director.

From the beginning, Tamassee School received contributions and, later on, Kate Duncan Smith School.  National's early Manual for Immigrants, in eight languages, was given to the city's International Institute for study by the foreign born.

The Niagara Society, C.A.R. was organized and chartered November 17, 1925.  Interest waned in 1964 and it was 1986 before it was re-organized by Ex-Regent Mrs. Richard James.  In 1998, the society disbanded once again due to lack of membership.  In 2008, Mrs. Jack E. Johnpier began efforts to re-organize the society again, but was not sucessful.

In 1928, Mrs. Dudley paid for three chairs for Constitution Hall in the chapter's name.  Each chair cost $150.  In 1929, the chapter, along with Abigail Fillmore (Buffalo) Chapter were hostesses at Hotel Niagara for the 34th State Conference.  Four hundred delegates attended.

Members established the first and only library in an American Indian School in 1929 on the Tuscarora Reservation and were instrumental in placing nine roadside historical markers.

Mrs. William B. Leach was the chapter's first Continental Congress Page in 1932.  Her report listed "59 miles of Constitution Hall walking..."  Mrs. Leroy Nightingale was our second page in 1934.  She continued paging through 1956 including being personal page to the President General in 1951.  Still a member, Mrs. Nightingale has 76 years of membership.

The unique chapter pin, showing water flowing over the Falls, was designed in 1933.

The first Revolutionary Soldier grave marking in June 1941, honors George Fols/Foltz who died in 1840. Our 1976 Bicentennial project located and marked 12 graves,  including that of Jesse Ware, a Minuteman.  Since then 15 graves have been located and marked.

Another Bicentennial project earned a national certificate for Mildred Middleton for hand-copying Niagara County deeds prior to 1850.  The 740 pages of deed indices,  along with wills and Bible Records, totaled 1,100 pages.

Over the years, national DAR projects were accomplished: among them the presentation of sterling silver medals to American History essay winners; U.S. flags to schools, libraries, and youth groups; gold ROTC medals to cadets at Niagara University (first given in 1969); American History Month displays; book donations; hours and hours copying statistical records.

In 1950, the chapter was the first in Western New York to achieve honor roll for donations to the National Administration Building Fund.  In 1968 Ex-Regent Constance M. Whitacre, State Genealogical Records Chairman, was honored at Continental Congress for setting a national record with 19,500 pages of state records bound into 103 volumes.  In 1972, another award was received for compiling a master Index of more than 600 volumes of records.

Jessie McConnell Brown's talk and demonstration, "Pageant of Flags" on the evolution of the U.S. Flag, reached thousands of school children and adults and she was nominated to receive a Freedom Foundations award.

In 1971, Registrar Grace Reakes won state awards for the chapter with the most new members, tied for first place with six new Junior members, won for the most new members in chapters under 100 and also for the greatest percentage increase.  Chapter members then included five sets of two sisters, two sets of three sisters, six mother/daughter sets and one grandmother with two granddaughters.

Membership reached 100 in 1972.  Mrs. Reakes was honored by the state for bringing chapter membership from 50-99 in a five year period.  The chapter again received first prize for admitting the most new members (20) for the second consecutive year.

Membership reached 122 in 1977 and a state second place award for membership gain was received.  The high was reached in 1979 with 128 members and a state first place membership award.

The chapter's own American Indian Scholarship was presented in 1972 for the first time.  It was named for Nicholas Cusick in honor of the Tuscarora Indian who was an aide to General Washington.

In 1995, Chapter Regent, Mrs. Philo J. Brooks, was the first chapter regent to win the New York State Outstanding Chapter Regent Competition.  Mrs. Brooks served two terms as chapter regent.  1991-1995.

In 1997, chapter Volunteer Information Specialists Chairman, Jan Johnpier, created the Niagara Falls Chapter website which was the first chapter website in New York State to be approved and linked to the National DAR website.  The website has since won the New York State website competition in 1999, voted "Best" NY Chapter Website by a DAR web mistress, by the NY Daughters On-Line.  The Niagara Falls Chapter website also won the NSDAR "Web Page of the Month" Award for June 2004.  This award is given by the National Volunteer Information Specialists Committee and is a terrific honor. The award is given on a monthly basis to the chapter or state that the Web Page Review Committee voted most outstanding, based on the criteria posted on the VIS site.

Honored Chapter Daughter Isabel Hobba, was the first chapter daughter to serve as State Regent of New York. (1998-2001). In addition, she was appointed by the Executive Committee as the chapter's first honorary chapter regent.  Mrs. James Ibaugh served as Mrs. Hobba's personal page and was the chapter's first junior member to serve as a personal page to a state regent.

On October 2, 2004, Mrs. Jack E. Johnpier became the first junior member to be voted as the chapter's outstanding junior and enter into the New York State Outstanding Junior Competition.  February of  2005,  Mrs. Johnpier was notified by the state junior membership chairman that she had won the state competition, naming her the 2005 New York State Outstanding Junior.  

In 2006, chapter daughter Melody Burow was voted as the chapter's first outstanding VA volunteer. This vote enabled Melody to enter into the New York State Outstanding DAR Service for Veterans Award Contest, which she won.  This winning entered Melody into the divisional portion of the contest which she also won, naming Melody the 2006 Northeastern Divisional Winner of the Outstanding DAR Service for Veterans Award.

Niagara Society, Children of the American Revolution (C.A.R.) 1992.

New York State Organization's 1995 Outstanding Chapter Regent

Jeanette Sanger Brooks (Mrs. Philo J. Brooks)

New York State Regent, 1998-2001

Isabel Korman Hobba (Mrs. William L.)

New York State Organization's 2005 Outstanding Junior

Jan Brooks Johnpier (Mrs Jack E.)

North Eastern Divison Outstanding DAR Service for Veterans Award

2006 winner, Melody Learned Burow (Mrs. Ralph Jr.)

In 2008, Niagara Falls Chapter received a very special American flag.  The flag was a gift from Lieutenant Colonel Roger L. Burch, son of past Regent Olive Burch, who served in the Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix VII, 106th Regiment/ TAG, at Camp Alamo, Afghanistan.  The flag was flown in the face of the enemy over the American Compound, Camp Alamo, Afghanistan, by the Officers, NCOs, and Soldiers of the TAG VII during “Operation Enduring Freedom.”  The chapter was honored to receive such a special flag.  

Special stitching down the side of the flag reads: "FOR NIAGARA CHAPTER DAR, FLOWN AT CAMP ALAMO AFGHANISTAN."

The chapter has since purchased a flag pole and stand for the flag, so that chapter members may recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, to that flag, at future chapter meetings.  Every time we salute this flag, we will always be reminded of Olive's son and all the other men and women who serve our great nation.

In 2010, the chapter was officially relocated from the City of Niagara Falls to Lockport, NY.  Since the chapter meets all over Niagara County, (not just Niagara Falls), and since Lockport is the county seat for Niagara County, it was a logical choice and one that depicts a more accurate representation of today’s chapter. 

With 81 members today, chapter members include three sets of two sisters, one set of four sisters, five mother/daughter sets, and two grandmother/granddaughter sets.

April 4, 2012, marked 90 years of service.  On April 14, 2012, the chapter celebrated with a guided tour of Old Fort Niagara, followed by a special luncheon which was held at the Lockport Town & Country Cub, Lockport, NY.  Members and guests from several DAR chapters attended and special guest of honor was NY State Regent, Denise Doring VanBuren.  The chapter was also pleased to have Niagara County Historian, Catherine Emerson in attendance.  One of the highlights of the luncehon, was special recognition of Priscilla Addoms, a native of Niagara Falls, NY, and a 73 year DAR member.  The chapter was thrilled that she was able to attend.

Chapter members are as committed today, as they were in 1922, and continue to promote the National Society objectives of historic preservation, education, and patriotism.


Pictures from the chapter's 90th celebration

April 14, 2012

Past Chapter Regents Patricia Rice and Olive Burch displaying 

the American Flag which flew over Camp Alamo in Afghanistan.