Legacy of service: History, education, patriotism at the heart of DAR

October, 2016 Posted in Arts, Culture & History, Community, Other, People
2016 -2017 officers of Stayton’s Abigail Scott Duniway Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution are, from left:  Kyra Bacheller, Regent; Linda Banister, Vice Regent; Diana Maul, Secretary and Historian: Linda Wiley, Treasurer; and Carol Roller, Registrar.  Karen Heuberger, in the back row, is Honorary Regent of Chemeketa Chapter and was the installing officer.  Not in picture are Julie Kammer, Chaplain, and Judy Gardner, Librarian.

2016 -2017 officers of Stayton’s Abigail Scott Duniway Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution are, from left:  Kyra Bacheller, Regent; Linda Banister, Vice Regent; Diana Maul, Secretary and Historian: Linda Wiley, Treasurer; and Carol Roller, Registrar.  Karen Heuberger, in the back row, is Honorary Regent of Chemeketa Chapter and was the installing officer.  Not in picture are Julie Kammer, Chaplain, and Judy Gardner, Librarian.

By Kristine Thomas
Linda Banister confesses she was guilty of having a preconceived notion of what the Daughters of the American Revolution were all about.She envisioned crotchety, high society old ladies who wore pearls and white gloves and daintily sipped tea and ate crumpets.
“I was anxious that these women would be discriminating and exclusive,” she said.
What she has learned since becoming a member of Stayton’s Abigail Scott Duniway Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution is that that image couldn’t be farther from the truth.
“The DAR women are totally inclusive, warm and welcoming,” Banister said. They are women who care about their community and are eager to do what they can to serve it.”
Banister said the Daughters of the American Revolution is a non-profit, non-political volunteer women’s service organization which has promoted historic preservation, education and patriotism since its formation in 1890.
Daughters come from all walks of life and are active in their communities. They care about their country, city, town, the environment, schools, active duty military, veterans, and are engaged in numerous community projects.
“These women are humble and they are not ones to toot their own horns,” she said. “They just want to serve their community.”
Any woman 18 years or older may join the DAR by documenting her lineage to an ancestor, either male or female, who aided the cause of American independence through military, civil or patriotic service.
However, Banister said all women 18 and older are invited to attend the meetings, even if they aren’t able to participate in the group’s business matters.
The next meeting of the Abigail Scott Duniway chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution is Monday, Oct. 3, 10 a.m. at the Historic Charles and Martha Brown House 425 N. First Ave., Stayton.
October’s guest speaker is Kuri Gill, OPRD. Gill is the coordinator for the State Historic Cemeteries Program. She will be presenting “Reading Markers and Things to Learn at a Historic Cemetery.” Refreshments will be served.
Abigail Scott Duniway Chapter members come from Stayton, Sublimity, Aumsville, Turner, Jefferson, and other communities of the Santiam Canyon and East Willamette Valley.
Regent Kyra Bacheller invites women interested in membership to visit a chapter meeting and program.
“We are eager to welcome new members to our chapter and we have volunteers available to help them research and complete their genealogy in order to apply for membership,” Bacheller said.
There are 1,100 members who are active and engaged in their communities in Oregon.
Banister said she didn’t think she had a forebearer who served or supported the American Revolution.
“I didn’t know if I would qualify,” she said.
A high school social studies teacher for 30 years, Banister said she has always been interested in her family’s history but never had the chance to map it out until after she retired.
An interest in genealogy and history, along with a chance to serve her community, is why she attended her first DAR meeting.
“It took me about 18 months to collect all the documents to prove I (am) a descendant,” she said, adding she had assistance from fellow DAR members.
She learned Daniel Soesbe, who is her fifth great-grandfather on her maternal side, served as a solider during the war two different times.
If a woman is curious if she has a tie to the American Revolution, there are easy ways to find out, especially if their mother, grandmother, cousin or aunt are or were members.
“Most women think it has to be a direct line when actually there are 64 chances,” she said.
DAR has 183,000 members with about 3,000 chapters in all 50 states and 13 foreign countries.
As it embarks on its 126th anniversary, the organization has issued a challenge to its members to complete 19 million hours of community service over the next three years in celebration of the 100th anniversary of congressional approval of the 19th amendment.
Banister, who is the vice regent for the local group, said, “This is particularly exciting for our chapter whose namesake, Abigail Scott Duniway, led the fight for women’s right to vote in Oregon.”
There are 25 members in the local chapter, Banister said, adding it’s celebrating its 13th anniversary.
“There are two members who didn’t know each other and the others are related at least six different ways,” she added, laughing.
What impresses her about these women is how much they care about their community and how they lend support to the Historic Charles and Martha Brown House, local schools, gather items for the Veteran’s Hospital and more.
“Anything and everything we can do to support the three key service areas of historic preservation, education and patriotism,” Banister said.
What may surprise many women is it is forbidden to discuss politics, even in a presidential election year.
When asked to clarify, Banister laughed and confirmed, “we really don’t talk politics.”
“We have members on the blue side and members on the red side,” she said. “We focus instead on what good we can do together for our community.”

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