History has been an interesting subject to me for many years. I grew up in a house full of Native American artifacts, World War II memorabilia and old stamps – all interests of my father. The stories behind many of these items fascinated me. Many of them were passed down to my dad, so not only was I curious about the items themselves, but also the people they came from.
Once our household got a computer, scanner and printer, Dad decided it would be a good idea to preserve some of our family history documents that were starting to wear – like old photos and documents. We would scan a photo and then I would act as secretary, typing up Dad’s dictation about the photo we were archiving.
Around this time our family also installed good old dial-up Internet and we discovered programs like Family Tree Maker and Ancestry.com. As we would discover family members in photos or other family documents that we didn’t know much about, I would go on a wild goose chase online looking for details about this mysterious family member…thus began my passion for genealogy. I loved working with my Dad to fill in these missing puzzle pieces of our family’s history.
In my family research efforts, I discovered the database of the Daughters of the American Revolution and I was able to do some basic research on their website. Aside from stumbling upon this database, the only other thing I knew about the D.A.R. was that my hometown’s local chapter would give out an award every year to an outstanding student.
As I was using their site for research purposes, I became more interested in the organization itself and started learning more about what the D.A.R. stood for. I discovered that any woman who could trace her family’s lineage back to anyone who aided the American cause during The American Revolution could apply as a member of the D.A.R. The thing is, not only do you have to trace your family line back to a patriot, you have to PROVE these connections using birth records, marriage licenses, wills, etc. I recalled seeing a family document that mentioned a Revolutionary War pension and, after a bit of digging, decided I was up for this challenge.
Dad and I kept hitting dead ends in our research. There were a couple of family connections that we just could not find the legal documents to prove the relationship. It wasn’t until after I moved away to finish college in Nashville, TN and I found the Sarah Polk DAR Chapter that we would find the appropriate records needed to apply for membership.
Thanks to spending a few days in the microfilm area at the Tennessee State Library and Archives, I discovered a will that mentioned my great-great grandmother…THEN thanks to the genealogist of the Sarah Polk Chapter, she landed upon a marriage license of my great-great grandparents and that was the final piece needed to complete my DAR membership application. She mailed everything to the National Headquarters in Washington D.C. and within a few months, I received a letter and membership certificate welcoming me as one of the newest members of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.
Since today is Independence Day, I would like to pay tribute to this patriot – my great-great-great-great grandfather Andrew Evans. I will tell you a little bit about him and share how he aided in the American Revolution. He was born around April 1, 1763 in Virginia and joined the State Militia around age 16 or 17. His first big battle was at King’s Mountain in South Carolina and then at Whitzell Mill, North Carolina. He was part of some of the most intense areas of warfare at King’s Mountain and also played role in a successful rescue of a family that had been captured by Shawnee Indians.
After the war, he married a Jean or Jane Creswell (we are not certain on the spelling of her name) and this marriage produced 10 children. The Evans family moved to Tennessee and lived in several different areas before settling down in Rhea County, TN. Andrew died on April 9, 1839 and is buried in Rhea County.
So why did I want to be involved with the DAR and what does the organization do? Not only did I want to honor my family’s rich heritage of patriotism, I also wanted to join this group because of all of the values they uphold. They are advocates for historic preservation, education and patriotism and their motto is “God, home and country.”
Founded in 1890, the DAR’s rich 125-year history has included saving a vast amount of buildings and other items that have historical significance, providing scholarships for a variety of disciplines and supporting active military, veterans and their families.
Locally, the Sarah Polk DAR Chapter, of which I’m honored to be a member, has upheld these values and supported our community in a number of ways. We’ve provided support for The Fisher House. We’ve sponsored an exhibit at the James K. Polk House in Columbia. We’ve participated in Susan G. Komen’s Walk for the Cure in Brentwood, TN. We’ve collected Box Tops For Education to support the schools we sponsor and we’ve also collected food, toiletries and other items to send to our troops overseas. This is just a sampling of the things our chapter has done and I can’t wait to see what’s ahead for us.
I am proud to be a Daughter of the American Revolution and am thankful my parents have passed on their love of history and family heritage to me.
If you’ve never heard of the DAR and/or would like to learn more about what we do, I encourage you to visit the National Society’s website here. If you’re anywhere in or near Middle Tennessee, come by and visit with my chapter – Sarah Polk DAR.
Think you can trace your lineage back to a patriot in The American Revolution or beyond? Have questions about DAR? I would be glad to help any way I can. Already a DAR member? I always love meeting other daughters! Please do chime in and say hello!