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Ann Arbor, MIchigan

Early History of the Chapter

"Early History of the Sarah Caswell Angell Chapter, NSDAR" - Written by Charter Member Ellen Botsford Bach, in 1946.

October, 1895, found Ann Arbor a small, quiet city of about
17,000 inhabitants, plus some 3,000 students attending our State University, which was already making a name for itself. There were almost no telephones in private homes, and there were no automobiles. Hitching-posts and horse-blocks lined the streets and our homes were lighted with gas. Street cars ran from the Michigan Central Station down Main Street to William, thence east to State Street to make a loop around the campus on North University, Washtenaw Avenue, and Hill Street, back to State and William.

Go Blue!Mrs. Angell, beloved wife of a very distinguished college president, came in her carriage with faithful Sam, her coachman, to call upon my Mother at our home. The call was to discuss plans for an old fashioned dance to be held in our house for the benefit of the Ladies Library Association in which both Mrs. Angell and my Mother were interested. I opened the door when the door-bell rang.

I well remember the smile on Mrs. Angell's face when she noticed the DAR pin I was proudly wearing as a member of a Detroit Chapter. There were no rules then as to how or where to wear one's pin, and I had just received mine so - may I be excused for wanting to display it. Mrs Angell said she belonged to an Eastern Chapter and mentioned several people in Ann Arbor who were members elsewhere. Whereupon my Mother asked why she did not organize a Chapter here, and for a while we discussed the pros and cons of the suggestion and tried to name twelve persons (the minimum number necessary) who were eligible and might be willing to join. We decided to wait until after the Christmas holidays and then call a meeting.

True to our agreement, Mrs. Angell called a meeting in January, 1896, at her home on the campus, of all persons who would be interested in such an organization. The invitation was issued through the columns of the daily paper. Eighteen ladies responded. Mrs. Frances Parson Edwards, State Regent of Michigan, was present and explained the advisability of forming a chapter in Ann Arbor, stating the object of the organization was "to perpetuate the memory of the brave and loyal men and women who achieved for us American Independence, and to promulgate and foster a spirit of patriotism and love of country among their descendants." All were so interested that the organization was assured and Mrs. Edwards appointed Mrs. Sarah Caswell Angell Regent "with full authority to form a chapter at Ann Arbor."

This meeting, as well as those following, was held at the President's home on the campus, Mrs. Angell presiding. People were busy looking up their ancestry and filling out the necessary forms to be sent to Washington, DC, for acceptance. Others were getting their transfers. On July 3, 1896, the same group of ladies came again to Mrs. Angell's parlor and formally proceeded to organize the Ann Arbor Chapter. After the election of officers, the question of a name was considered. Mrs. Angell suggested that we call ourselves the Ann Arbor Chapter in honor of Ann Barry Allen, one of the two Ann's for whom our city was named.

The secretary was instructed to enroll the name upon the records and apply to the National Organization for a charter. The charter with fifteen names engraved thereon was received in time to be presented at the December meeting. At the same meeting on December 3rd, 1896, the Constitution and By-laws were considered, then adopted and authorized.

Then, as now, our work was along patriotic lines. It was not until 1908, after Mrs. Angell's death, that the name was changed to Sarah Caswell Angell Chapter to honor her as our first Regent.