History of the Delaware Society SAR
Even before the national SAR was founded, the man who was to become the Delaware Society's first president was active in honoring the patriots of the American Revolution. On 1886 August 16 Thomas F. Bayard
(of Delaware) gave the dedication address for the statue of Revolutionary War General Johann Kalb, which was being installed in front of the court house in Annapolis, Maryland.
1890: On Janauary 29, 1890, fifteen individuals attend an organizational meeting of the Delaware Society of the Sons of the American Revolution at the Clayton House in Wilmington. At the time, the Clayton House, which stood on the northeast corner of 5th & Market in Wilmington, Delaware, was the premier hotel in the city of Wilmington and the State of Delaware. The first motion passed after organization was to hold an annual formal banquet on December 7th, to honor Delaware's ratification of the U.S. Constitution on December 7, 1787. The Honorable Thomas F. Bayard (DESSAR #1), former U.S. Secretary of State, became the first president of the Delware Society. Ratification Day remains the Delaware Society's premier calendar event, with regular attendance by the President General of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.
1891: On April 8, 1891, the Delaware General Assembly passed "An Act to Incorporate the Delaware Society of the Sons of the American Revolution" (19 Del. Laws, ch. 446).
1891: Compatriots participated in DESSAR's first public event - the 1891 Memorial Day Parade in Wilmington, Delaware - parading with the Grand Army of the Republic. The Society observed Independence Day by attending religious services at St. John’s Church on Sunday, July 5th, 1891. Society Chaplain, the Rev. T.G. Littell D.D., presided over the services.
DESSAR Activities during the 20th Century
1901: Several DESSAR members helped plan and finance the monument at Cooch's Bridge, commemorating the only Revolutionary War battle (a skirmish) fought on Delaware soil. The Brooklyn Navy Yard loaned to the DESSAR the four Navy Parrot rifles that surround the base of this monument. At the same time they loaned us two iron "Napoleons" cast for the Confederate Army. These once stood at the entry to the band stand at Brandywine Park and are now located at Fort DuPont on Pea Patch Island.
1910s: A DESSAR member contributed the alcove known as the Delaware Bay in the Cloister of Colonies in the Washington Memorial Chapel's Bell Tower at Valley Forge. A DESSAR member was Assistant Chief of Staff for the Fifth Army Corps in World War I; where he was awarded the Cross l'Etoile de France.
1911: On May 18, 1911, the Delaware Society officially incorporated as a non-profit corporation under the Delaware General Corporation Law.
1920s: A number of members of the SAR helped purchase (at auction in England) the only Delaware battle flag known to remain from the Revolutionary War. This is now under the care of the Historical Society of Delaware.
1930s: Several SAR members served on the committee that established the original Delaware State Archives.
1940s: A DESSAR member was head of Selective Service (the draft) in Delaware during World War II and was awarded the Legion of Merit in 1943. He had over fifty years of service in the Army.
1970s: The SAR was instrumental in presenting lectures, films, and commemorations during the Bicentennial of our nation's founding. A DESSAR member wrote the definitive history, "The Delaware Continentals 1776-1783" (the Historical Society of Delaware, Wilmington, 1941) and later expanded this into a well-regarded history of the entire Revolution. Another DESSAR member wrote "The Story of Delaware in the Revolution" (Cann Inc., Wilmington DE, 1975) to cover other aspects of Delaware's contributions to liberty.
1990s: A DESSAR member was lead author for transcribing and publishing Delaware 1782 Tax Assessments and Census Lists (Del. Geneal. Soc., Wilmington DE, 1994).
-- In 1996 he gave presentations to several organizations on The Battle at Lexington and Concord MA and The Sacrifice of the Delaware Continentals at the Battle of Camden SC
-- In 1998 The DESSAR encouraged the state of Delaware to place a commemorative marker and arranged for a grand ceremony in Camden SC near the site of the first battle of Camden, where 48 Delaware Continental soldiers died in a disastrous battle.
-- SAR members and their wives generated public support that resulted in the authorization of a multi-million dollar expansion of the Delaware State Archives and in a generous challenge grant that allowed doubling the research area and providing electronic access to past and current government information. A DESSAR member was co-chair of the drive to raise the matching funds. The new facility was opened to the public in late 2000.
DESSAR Activities during the 21st Century
2001 August: The DESSAR organized a bus trip to Brooklyn NY for several organizations to participate in the dedication of a commemorative monument to the Delaware Continentals at the site where the Delaware troops held off British units for four hours during the battle of Long Island. About 31 Delaware soldiers died during this action. The monument was designed and supplied by the state of Delaware.
2002 April: The DESSAR provided lead funding that drew a 4:1 match funds from the state of Delaware for a study of the campsites and interaction with merchants and society as the allied France-US army marched through Delaware in August 1780 and returned in 1781 and 1782 after the siege at Yorktown VA. Lauzun's Legion (250 light cavalry and 300 infantry) returned for a five-month stay in Wilmington during the winter of 1782/83. During this time, about seventy soldiers left the service and remained in the United States. See the Web links above.
2002 May: We dedicated a marker in the Immanual Episcopal Churchyard in New Castle DE. At the request of the pastor the DESSAR had developed a list of patriots buried there and provided a marker with the text shown below:
2002 August: The DESSAR participated in commemorating the 225th anniversary of the battle of Cooch's Bridge, providing the primary speaker (a descendant of Thomas Cooch, who owns the original home next to the bridge).
2002 September: The DESSAR sponsored a bus trip to Germantown PA for several organizations to participate in the dedication of a monument (provided by the state of Delaware) noting the participation of the Delaware Continentals in this battle 225 years ago.
2002 December: The DESSAR organized a bus trip to Princeton, NJ for several organizations to participate in the dedication of a plaque honoring the life of Col John. Haslet, the first Colonel of the Delaware Continentals. The plaque was designed and supplied by the state of Delaware.
2003 February: The DESSAR helped organize events in Philadelphia and Claymont to commemorate the 225th anniversary of (1) the Treaty of Amity and Commerce, in which France recognized the United States as an independent nation and of (2) the Treaty of Military Alliance, in which France pledged significant military assistance to the United States in its fight with England, and the United States promised comparable support for France.
2003 April: The DESSAR is proud to note a significant contribution to preserve Delaware's only Revolutionary War battlefield. See The Gift of Cooch's Bridge.
2003 December: The DESSAR presented the SAR Gold Good Citizenship Medal to Compatriot Edward W. “Ned” Cooch Jr. placing an additional 200 acres and the Cooch residence under a conservation easement to increase the site of the only Revolutionary War battle fought in Delaware on his family’s farm at Cooch’s Bridge.
2004 February: The DESSAR donated the 400-page research report to the NSSAR Library in Louisville, entitled “The Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route in the State of Delaware 1781-1783 - An Historical and Architectural Survey” by Dr. Robert A. Selig.
2004 September: Several DESSAR compatriots joined with Delaware DAR members at the George Washington Chapel in Valley Forge Park to recognize Delaware’s contribution to the Revolutionary War.
2005 April: At its Annual Meeting, the Delaware Society presents the SAR's Gold Good Citizenship Medal to noted author Bruce E. Burgoyne. Mr. Burgoyne focused his research on the Hessian soldiers who served during the American Revolution. Mr. Burgoyne donated copies of his published works and his entire original research files to the SAR Genealogical Library in Louisville, KY.
2005 July: At the Annual NSSAR Congress, DESSAR Compatriot Dr. Roland Downing was elected as the 102nd President General of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution at the 115th Annual Congress held in Louisville, KY. Compatriot Downing follows in the footsteps of Dr. Howard Horne of the DESSAR who served as President General 1999-2000. DESSAR President Stephen A. Leishman was elected Vice President General of the Mid-Atlantic District.
2005 August: DESSAR hosted the Atlantic Middle States Conference at the Hilton Christiana. VPG Leishman chaired the conference.
2005 August: The Kirkwood Chapter dedicated a plague at the Old Swedes Churchyard in Wilmington recognizing the final resting places of 44 local Revolutionary War Patriots.
2006 April: The Dagworthy Chapter of the DESSAR was placed on inactive status following attempts to recruit active members. Compatriots were transferred to the Caesar Rodney Chapter or became At-Large members.
2007 July: David Anguish winner of the DESSAR’s Joseph S. Rumbaugh Historical Oration Contest presented his original speech to the Annual NSSAR Congress. Anguish was selected as the first-place winner of the contest and received the Rumbaugh Orations medal and a $3,000 scholarship.
2007 July: The Kirkwood Chapter dedicated a plague at the Head of Christiana Church Cemetery Newark recognizing the final resting places of 36 local Revolutionary War Patriots.
2008 April: At its Annual Meeting, the DESSAR adopted a new Constitution and Bylaws.
2008 April: The DESSAR partnered with the Historical Society of Delaware to provide a repository for the Delaware Society’s historical records. The Historical Society will preserve and protect these documents and make them available to the public.
2008 July: The Delaware Revolutionary War Monument was dedicated at its location in front of Legislative Hall in Dover. Past DESSAR President Lyman Brenner was a member of the Monument Commission.
2009 April: The Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route was designated as a National Historical Trail when President Obama signed it into law. DESSAR Compatriot Ralph Nelson led the 10-year effort of many to secure this designation.
2009 April: The DESSAR committed to the revitalization of the CAR in Delaware. Three CAR Chapters have since been established throughout the State.
2010 April: The DESSAR adopted the new JROTC Program from the NSSAR, which centrally coordinates the Society’s Awards Program.
2010 April: The 2010 DESSAR Registry was compiled and printed. An effort will be made to create a digital version of the Registry.
2010 July: Past Society President Davis Lee Wright is elected Vice President General for the Mid-Atlantic District at the National Society's 120th Annual Congress held in Cleveland, OH.
2010 October: The Jaquett Chapter dedicated a plaque at the New Ark Union Cemetery in Brandywine Hundred area recognizing the final resting places of seven local Revolutionary War Patriots.
2011 April: The DESSAR created the Delaware Continentals Chapter as its fourth chapter. Former At-Large members were enrolled in this new chapter or offered the opportunity to join one of the other three chapters.
2012 July: DESSAR Compatriot Stephen A. Leishman is elected as the 109th President General at the NSSAR's 122nd Annual Congress in Phoenix, AZ. In addition, Compatriot Lyman Brenner is appointed Vice President General for the International District and Compatriot Davis Lee Wright is appointed to serve on the National Executive Committee.
2012 August: The DESSAR hosted the Annual Atlantic Middle States Conference at the Hilton Christiana. We welcomed over 100 members and guests making this one of the best attended AMS Conferences in years.
2012 November: The medals of former DESSAR President Albert Foreman were framed and placed on display, along with his portrait, at the Delaware Heritage Museum and Education Foundation.
2013 July: The Caesar Rodney Chapter held a celebration at Christ Church in Dover. A wreath was laid at the Caesar Rodney Monument in the churchyard and six SAR Patriot Grave Markers were dedicated and installed at the graves of Patriots within the cemetery.
2013 August: The DESSAR donated the first 700 DESSAR applications to the Delaware Public Archives for reference to those researching their Lineage. A review is underway to donate more applications.
2013 December: At our annual Ratification Day Dinner, the DESSAR presented the SAR’s highest award, the Gold Good Citizenship Medal, to Major General Francis Vavala for his dedication to and excellence in leading the Delaware National Guard and the Adjutants General Association of the United States.
2014 January: Caesar Rodney Chapter purchased from the New York Archives copies of Alan McLane letters and donated them to the Delaware Archives.
2014 April: The Kirkwood Chapter initiated the DESSAR co-sponsorship of the Pencader Heritage Association’s dedication of signs and plaques commemorating the W3R camps on the Cooch’s Bridge Historic Site.
2014 April: Compatriot William Regli led a small committee which reviewed 1630 applications of DE compatriots and 318 supplemental application and compiled a database of 1217 unique proven Patriots. Compatriot Troy Foxwell submitted Delaware Revolutionary War years tax lists to the subcommittee of the NSSAR Genealogy Committee and two lists have been found to provide evidence of patriotic service. Patriot Graves Committee chairman Kevin Rolph has expanded our database to more than 425 known Patriot Graves in Delaware.
2014 October: Caesar Rodney Chapter co-sponsored the Alan McLane Symposium at Wesley College.
2014: Jaquett Chapter placed a plaque in honor of 48 Patriots buried at the Wilmington-Brandywine Cemetery.
2014 November: Caesar Rodney Chapter started a yearly food drive for Veterans at the Home of he Brave in Milford, Delaware.
2016 July: Caesar Rodney Chapter is highlighted in the SAR magazine Fall 2016 for its Juy 4th Patriotic Event at Christ's Episcopal Church in Dover, Delaware.
2016 December: Kirkwood Chapter received a "The Partners in Patriotism Certificate" for participation in the 2015-2016 Partners in Patriotism Program.