Local DAR chapter honored by Chamber
Published 9:50 am Wednesday, February 15, 2023
The local chapter of the “Daughters of the American Revolution” took home “Non-Profit of the Year” award last month at the Lunenburg Chamber of Commerce banquet. Its regent, Linda Bagley, says they’re thankful to do all they can to give back to the community.
“We like to thank people who help others,” Bagley said.
As regent, the organization’s term for president, Bagley says, she believes her chapter received this recognition for what they’ve accomplished in the community over the last year.
“Our emphasis is historic preservation, patriotism and education,” Bagley said.
The genealogical society is open to any woman over the age of 18 who can prove their ancestral line to someone who fought in the American Revolution. Bagley found her own relative years ago.
“One of my ancestors on my grandmother’s side, Richard Ellis, served with General Washington in New York,” Bagley explained. “He got out of the service after two years, but was redrafted back and fought in one of the final battles of the Revolution, as Lord Cornwallis marched to Yorktown. We know he went on to become a minister, and was one of the first ministers in the county of Lunenburg to marry couples outside of the Church of England.”
It was a treasure-trove of information that was all discovered through a family Bible that had been preserved by Ellis’ daughter.
“He performed over 120 marriages, and he was instrumental in having the new colonists not have a national church,” Bagley said.
A CHAPTER COVERING FIVE COUNTIES
With their chapter serving women in Lunenberg, Mecklenburg, Brunswick, Nottoway, and Amelia counties, they’re now 97 women strong.
“Soon to be 98,” Bagley proudly added.
Nearly a third of their members are below the age of 35. Bagley is proud not only of their age diversity, but also their diversity in general. DAR has a committee that helps African American women trace their lineage back to the 18th century.
“Virginia’s DAR is one of the first to have African American women prove their lineage back,” she explained.
According to LessburgVA.gov, it is known that over 8,000 African Americans and Native Americans fought in the American Revolution, although some were free and some were enslaved. Whether fighting for the British cause or for the American cause, African Americans and Native Americans were fighting for their freedom.
The members’ philanthropic goals have expanded over the years. Right now, they are busy raising funds to preserve historic buildings, fundraising to provide service dogs for veterans suffering from limb loss or PTSD, and providing scholarships for students just entering their freshman year of college.
“We offer hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of scholarships for rising freshmen in college,” Bagley said. “And you don’t have to have a family member who is a member of DAR to apply for this.”
A ROLE TO PLAY IN THE NATION’S ANNIVERSARY
And as the nation approaches the 250th anniversary of its founding in 2026, the non-profit is excited over the small role it will play in its celebration.
“Our organization has a seat on the national committee that’s preparing to celebrate our country’s 250th birthday,” Bagley explained.
In leading up to that celebration, each chapter is being challenged to do something in the historic preservation department in the local community.
“For us, we’re trying to raise funds to preserve a historical volume in each of the courthouses in the counties we serve,” she said.