Harrisburg Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution

Harrisburg Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, A Sesquicentennial Chapter

Our Chapter History

"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." - Thomas Jefferson

Harrisburg Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution

From the ladies who organized this chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution on May 19, 1894, to the present, the chapter has been an organization of strong women dedicated to preserving the history of our ancestors who fought in the American Revolution.

The first regular meeting of the chapter was held at the home of Mrs. Francis Wyeth, who had already been appointed as Chapter Regent by the State Regent Mrs. Hogg. Other chapter officers were: Mrs. E.R. Kunkel, Vice Regent; Miss Ellen Williams Hall, Corresponding Secretary; Miss Martha Buehler, Registrar; Mrs. Levi Aldricks, Recording Secretary; Mrs. Hugh Hamilton, Treasurer.

Charter Members

  • Mrs. Francis Wyeth (First Regent)
  • Mrs. Elizabeth R. Kunkel
  • Mrs. Levi B. Aldricks
  • Miss Ellen W. Hall
  • Miss Martha Buehler
  • Mrs. Hugh Hamilton
  • Miss Caroline Pearson
  • Mrs. M.W. McAlarney
  • Mrs. Caleb Henry Carlton
  • Mrs. George Wolf Buehler
  • Mrs. Jacob Haldeman
  • Mrs. Francis Jordan

Our Chapter Real Sisters

  • Mrs. Nancy Macomber Hawkins
  • Mrs. Hannah Macomber Hess

Real Daughters are those ladies who were a single generation removed from the Revolutionary War. The Harrisburg Chapter was blessed with two Real Daughters who are sisters. They were the descendants of Zenas Macomber, who according to Hannah’s application was a life guard under General George Washington. In an article written by Caroline Pearson, Historian, read at the annual meeting on Thursday, May 19, 1904, Zenas was referred to as Dr. Macomber. Hannah was born December 13, 1816 (National Number 24926) and Nancy Macomber Hawkins was born July 25, 1818 (National Number 39331). Hannah was 81 years old and Nancy 84 years old when they were admitted to NSDAR. The Real Daughters were offered pensions from NSDAR as well as gold souvenir spoons. The September/October 2007 issue of “American Spirit” reprinted the letter of thanks sent by Hannah Hess upon being accepted into the Daughters of the American Revolution and receiving her spoon.

This chapter has also had other members of note. They were: Mrs. Gertrude Vandergrift Hoak, descendant of John Hart, New Jersey Signer of the Declaration of Independence and the first Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly, and Miss Florence L. Gallagher, descendant of George Ross, Pennsylvania Signer of the Declaration of Independence.

The Harrisburg Chapter has never had a place to call home. However, we have gathered a number of artifacts which are on display at the John Harris Mansion Museum, one of which is the John Harris gavel. The gavel was made from the tree to which John Harris was tied by Indians when they attempted to burn him in 1720. The gavel was presented to the Harrisburg Chapter by Caroline Pearson, one of his descendants, on December 16, 1896.

Where Our Patriots Rest

To honor and preserve the legacies of Patriots buried in Harrisburg area cemeteries, the chapter has placed historic markers at the following cemeteries:

Paxton Memorial Gateway was erected by the Daughters on October 8, 1906. The dedication ceremony was held at the Paxton Church at 3:00 p.m. “In memory of the Heroes of the Revolution, and Soldiers of the French and Indian War buried in the Paxton Churchyard. The names and rank of Sixty Soldiers and Patriots are graven upon the Tablets.” Plaques to the right and left of the gates list the names of the Soldiers and Patriots buried in the cemetery.

Another plaque at the right of the gate erected by the Harrisburg Chapter of DAR was erected May 19, 1894, and reads “Frontier Defenders and Soldiers of the French and Indian War” and lists the names of those buried “and others whose names are unknown."

At the Silver Spring Presbyterian Church Cemetery Gates, Silver Springs Road, a plaque to the right was erected in 1914 and reads “War of 1812 William Kirtlands, Sr., Dr. Isaac Wayne Snowden and others whose names are unknown.” The plaque was erected by The Harrisburg and Carlisle Chapters of DAR and The Harrisburg Chapter of the Daughters of 1812. The plaque on the left reads “The Heroes of the Revolution and the War of 1812 buried in Silver Spring Churchyard” and lists their names.

The plaque at the Newside Cemetery, Newside Road near Union Deposit, was erected June 19, 1924, by the Harrisburg Chapter DAR celebrating their 30th anniversary and reads “This tablet marks the site of the Newside Churchyard given by Captain John Sherer to the congregation of which Rev. John Roan was Pastor. From 1745 to 1774. Here lie the Pioneers Defenders of the Frontier Soldiers of the French and Indian Wars, the American Revolution and the War of 1812.”

The Coxestown River Road Marker, Sixth Street and Heister Road, was erected by the chapter on May 19, 1927, and replaced and rededicated on October 19, 1991, as a gift of Mr. and Mrs. Herman F. Kinter.

The Hoffman’s Church Cemetery Plaque at St. Peter’s U.C.C., south of Route 25 between Berrysburg and Gratz, was erected on November 23, 1930, and reads “Erected by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in grateful appreciation of the service of these Soldiers of the Revolutionary War who are buried here.” The site was located and verified by the Harrisburg Chapter of DAR.

The Hummelstown Memorial Cemetery plaque was placed May 21, 1931, and reads “Erected by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Harrisburg Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. This tablet is in commemoration of the Soldiers interred in the Zion Lutheran Cemetery at Hummelstown, Dauphin County, Pa. who served in the Armed Forces of the Revolutionary War and dedicated their valor, patriotism and fidelity.”

At the Dauphin Cemetery, Floral Lane, off Route 225, a plaque was placed on May 22, 1931, and “Erected by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Harrisburg Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. This tablet is in commemoration of Soldiers interred in the Dauphin Cemetery, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. And who served in the Armed Forces of the Revolutionary War and is dedicated to their valor, patriotism and fidelity.”

On June 14, 1937 a plaque was placed at the Killinger (David’s Church), Route 25, Village of Killinger, and it reads “Revolutionary Soldier Martin Shoffner 1759-1826. Placed by Harrisburg Chapter DAR.”

The Harrisburg Chapter erected a plaque on June 12, 1941, at the Harrisburg Cemetery Gate, 13th and Liberty streets, and reads “In honor of the Revolutionary Soldiers buried at the Harrisburg Cemetery and others whose names and services are unknown” and lists their names.

At the Halifax Cemetery, Route 147, the chapter placed a plaque on January 21, 1943, which reads “George Lemon Born: May 11, 1758 Died: March 15, 1843. George Lemon (Leamon), Revolutionary Soldier.”

The Fort Hunter Boxwood Garden Set was dedicated by the chapter on September 19, 1956.

The Derry Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Hershey, a plaque was placed by the Harrisburg Chapter and reads “Hershey Revolutionary Soldier Thomas McNair 1737-1830.”

On June 11, 1968, at the Salem United Church of Christ a plaque was placed reading “Old Salem Church standing on land granted for religious purposes in 1785 by John Harris. This Church erected in 1822. It replaced one built of log in 1787, the first church structure in present day Harrisburg. Town marker... Penna. Hist. and Museum Com.” Harrisburg Chapter arranged for the road sign to mark this historic church.

Groffman Church Cemetery, West Earl Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania placed October 1, 1969, and reads “Christian Musselman, Jr. Born 1752-Died 1823.”

Straw Cemetery, Fishing Creek Valley Road, Harrisburg, the plaque was placed on May 20, 1976, and reads “George Stroh Grave Born: June 2, 1741 Died: May 15, 1819 Private in Captain Murray’s Company, 10th Battalion Lancaster County Militia – Christian Stuckey Grave Born: 1746 Died: November 25, 1828 Age: 82 years, 11 months, Private in Captain Koppenheffers Company, Timothy Green’s Battalion, Lancaster County Militia.”