A Narrative on the History of the Delaware State Society
The Delaware State Society originated with Elizabeth Clarke Churchman (Mrs. Caleb M.) of Wilmington, in 1893, three years after the formation of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution on October 11, 1890. Mrs. Churchman was appointed Organizing State Regent of Delaware on April 5, 1894, and formed five chapters, one of which was the Caesar Rodney Chapter in 1895, which she served as its first regent. Her move to Baltimore in 1906 resulted in her resignation from this office. She was succeeded by Mrs. Peterson Speakman of Smyrna. Mrs. Speakman’s title was State Regent of Delaware.
There were five chapters in the state but no formal state organization existed until January 7, 1908, when the Delaware State Society was formed. At this meeting, officers were elected, committees formed, including one designated to draft by-laws, the levying of dues was discussed, and a decision made to hold annual meetings throughout the state. Following the organization of a State Society, four more chapters were formed. Seven of the ten chapters remain active today.
Throughout its history the State Society has made great strides in achieving the objectives of the National Society. A few notable achievements include:
- A Stand of Colors to the Battleship Delaware (three flags consisting of the Flag of the United States, the Navy Flag and the Delaware Flag)
- Contributed for one of the thirteen columns representing the thirteen original states at Memorial Continental Hall.
- The Delaware Room in Memorial Continental Hall was the gift of Miss Mahon and Mrs. Furbee in memory of their sister, Mrs. Dennison.
- Participated in the erection of an equestrian statue of Caesar Rodney in Court House Square in Wilmington.
- Placed cards displaying “The Flag with Rules and Laws relating to its Use” in public schools.
- Made many donations during World War I including the Belgian Relief Fund, Patriot Education, Liberty Loan Fund, and the Restoration of Tilloloy (France).
- Contributed its share to the building of Constitution Hall.
- Purchased the Delaware Box in the auditorium.
Each year the State Regent has a project to which each member of each chapter is asked to contribute. These funds are utilized to meet the objectives of the Delaware State Society and the National Society.
As with any organization, the history of this organization is documented in the minutes of its meetings. These minutes were utilized to write two histories of the Delaware State Society.
1908 – 1958 by Catherine Downing
1958 – 2008 by Janet Wilkins
These histories are combined into one booklet available through the Delaware State Society.
Current National Officer
Mrs. Brandon Trader, Vice President General