The Chimney Hill DAR Chapter met at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 11 at the Ada Arts and Heritage building. The meeting was called to order by Chapter Regent Mary Scalf.
The opening ritual was led by Mary Scalf and acting Chaplain Carol Meyer. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Janet Barrett, and the national anthem was led by Vicki Fleming. The Oklahoma Flag Salute was led by Carol Meyer. The preamble to the U.S. Constitution was led by Beth Buxton. The American’s Creed was led by Bennie Wilson.
Lisa Bratcher represented the city of Ada and read a proclamation celebrating the 231st anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. Mayor Tre’ Landrum proclaimed Sept. 17-23 as Constitution Week in Ada.
Chapter Regent Mary Scalf introduced Dr. Christopher Bean, associate professor of history at ECU. Dr. Bean has very graciously spoken at the September meeting for several years. He has told us about Alexander Hamilton’s part in the Constitution, the War of 1812, the development of the U.S. Constitution and the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Today, he was speaking about James Madison’s role in the Constitution.
James Madison was the oldest of 12 children, and his father was a tobacco planter. Madison was small in stature, being 5 feet and 4 inches in height and weighing about 100 pounds. He was educated by a tutor until he enrolled at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). At Princeton, he studied under John Witherspoon, who influenced Madison’s political philosophy. His ideas of philosophy and morality were strongly shaped by Witherspoon. He converted Madison to the Age of Enlightenment.
In 1775 Madison was commissioned as colonel of the Orange County Militia, serving as his father’s second in command until his election as a delegate to the constitutional convention. He never saw battle in the Revolutionary War.
Madison believed in religious freedom and also believed in a strong central government. Along with Jefferson, he drafted the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which guaranteed freedom of religion in Virginia. Thomas Jefferson and Madison were close friends because they had the same beliefs, hobbies and likes.
The Virginia delegation to the convention of May 1787 was headed by James Madison. Those in attending wanted to amend the Articles of Confederation but instead created a new constitution. The New Jersey Plan wanted a single legislature with one vote. The Virginia Plan proposed a bicameral legislature with separation of powers into the executive, legislative and the judicial branches.
The convention compromised with the Connecticut Plan. Madison’s notes of the convention are the most complete of all those that kept notes. Because of his leadership, Madison was granted the title “Father of the Constitution.” Madison had many roles in the early government. In 1809, he was elected the fourth president of our nation and was re-elected a second time to that office four years later.
Dr. Bean held our attention, causing everyone to want to learn more about the leadership of James Madison. Thank you, Dr. Bean, for expanding our knowledge of our nation’s history.
President general’s message
Mary Scalf read the monthly message from NSDAR Regent Ann Turner Dillion.
Secretary and treasurer reports were emailed to members, and a few hard copies are available at the meeting. Treasurer Suzanne McFarlane reported that bank statements for the Veterans Committee are available on the back table. A motion to accept the reports was made by Sandra Mantooth and seconded by Ruth Ann Taylor. The motion passed.
Nancy Haney, registrar, reported that prospective member Kelsey Gipson’s application has been sent to NSDAR for approval and Karen Walters’s application is ready to be mailed by next Monday. She also introduced prospective member Cheryl Rhynes.
Historian Mary Pfeffer reminded everyone to take pictures of their projects and get them to her to be placed in the chapter scrapbook.
Kathy Howry, librarian, reported that there are several people who are in the process of acquiring membership.
National Defense Report
The National Defense Report was read by Carol Meyer, titled “Lost in Time.” This past year, the regent of the Paducah Chapter in Kentucky, Katherine Toy, was browsing through an antique shop after the state DAR meeting. As she was looking, she saw a Purple Heart. She later found that it was called a commendation certificate for a wounded soldier named Watson Watts, signed by Woodrow Wilson. According to the certificate, Watts was in the Army Infantry. The Purple Heart was not awarded during World War I: however, it was reinstated in 1932. The reinstatement was retroactive to include the veterans of the First World War.
After Kathy returned home, she decided to research the certificate and find out to whom it belonged. She went to ancestry. com and found Mr. Watts’ death certificate. He was born Sept. 9, 1896, and grew up in Graves County in Kentucky. After the war, he married and had four children.
Although he had a registration card and a certificate for being wounded in action, his name is not on the updated database at the Department of Defense.
After Katherine Toy found where Watts was buried, she visited the gravesite and placed flowers and a poppy there. She submitted this information to the Kentucky state chair of the Daughters of the American Revolution to be added to Kentucky’s World War I Project, which includes a book of all WWI veterans in Kentucky.
Sandra Mantooth reported on Otis W. Leader. Otis was born in 1882 in the Hughes County area of Indian Territory. He was of Choctaw, Chickasaw, Scotch and Irish descent.
When he was 34, he worked on a ranch when the U.S. entered World War l. He enlisted in April and by June, he was in France.
He was one of the 18 code talkers from the Choctaw Nation. He was attached to the 1st Division, a part of the Army led by General John J. Pershing, and he was a code talker with the 36th Division.
Leader rose to the rank of sergeant and was wounded twice and gassed three times. He was in a French hospital, recovering from shrapnel wounds, at the war’s end.
His unit, the 1st Division, was among the first American combat troops. They were to take part in a Fourth of July parade held in Paris in which France was honoring the American forces.
At that parade was a French artist, Raymond De Warreaux, who had been given a commission from the French government to paint the “ideal U.S. soldier.” He saw Sgt. Leader and decided the American Indian would be his subject. The artist was granted permission by Gen. John J. Pershing to pose for the painting.
The artist described Sgt. Leader as “a half-blood Choctaw Indian from Oklahoma who was as straight as an arrow and standing over six foot tall.” He also described him as “keen, alert, yet with a calmness that portrayed strength and spirit that eventually helped win the war.”
Sgt. Leader had his picture painted by Warreaux, and the painting hangs in the French Military Museum.
He was also a brave warrior. In heavy fighting, three of the four men in his machine gun crew were killed. Sgt. Leader took a rifle, went through enemy lines and captured 18 Germans.
For his valor, he received the Purple Heart, two Silver Stars, the Distinguished Service Cross, nine Battle Medals and two of the French military’s highest honors.
Leader suffered many health complications from his military service. He died in 1961 at the age of 79.
Sarah Elizabeth Sawyer is a Choctaw historian and has written a book about Choctaw Code Talkers. Tiajuanna Cochnauer, a Choctaw artist and speaker, is a niece of Otis Leader. She was invited to go to France and speak at several places remembering battle sites during WWl.
Tiajuanna invited Sarah Sawyer to go to France with her. They toured battlefields and trenches unclaimed by the country for over 100 years. They were guest speakers at many places to tell the stories of the Choctaw Code Talkers. They were presented a copy of the original artwork of “Otis Leader, Code Talker.”
The two women then presented the painting to Choctaw Chief Mr. Batton and Assistant Chief Mr. Austin Jr. at the Labor Day Choctaw Festival, held at the Tribal Council House in Tuskahoma this past Labor Day weekend. The artwork is currently at the Capitol Museum in the Code Talkers exhibit. Near the painting is the “cap” of Sgt. Otis Leader.
The conservation report was given by Binnie Wilson on the importance of butterflies and moths. Butterflies and moths are indicators of a healthy environment and healthy ecosystems. They also indicate a wide range of other invertebrates, which comprise over two-thirds of all species.
Areas rich in butterflies and moths are rich in other invertebrates. These collectively provide a wide range of environmental benefits, including pollination and natural pest control. Moths and butterflies are an important element of the food chain and are prey for birds, bats, and other insects.
Butterflies have been widely used by ecologists as an organism model to study the impact of habitat loss and fragmentation and climate change.
Ruth Ann Taylor reported that our Chimney Hill Chapter took 92 pounds of tabs to the state convention at Norman in August. Those tabs will be sold, and all the money collected will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House. We are now collecting tabs to be taken to next April’s state workshop. That money will be for the two state veterans hospitals.
She reported that five members attended the workshop: Elizabeth Witherow, Ruth Ann Taylor, Mary Scalf, Suzanne McFarlane and Tommie Beddow.
The Veteran Committee will visit the Sulphur Veterans Center on Sept. 13.
There are two members who are leaving the committee: Carol Meyer and Elizabeth Witherow. A big “Thank you” to both of them for all their hard work. But the good news is, there are four new people joining the committee: Lisa Bratcher, Phyllis Gibbs, Kelli Sutton and Karen Walters. Anyone else who would like to join the committee is welcome.
Service to America
Chapter Regent Mary Scalf will have a table at the back each month with information on Service to America. You can also record service hours on the sheet provided at the back, or you can enter your hours online, whichever you prefer. There will also be information on DAR’s American Spirit magazine at the same table monthly.
Chapter Regent Mary Scalf informed us that the national convention voted to change the NSDAR bylaws. She passed out copies of the Chimney Hill chapter’s bylaws for members to review before the October meeting. She made suggestions as to what our chapter might do to be in line with the NSDAR bylaws. We will discuss the suggestions and vote on any changes needed at the October meeting.
Chapter Regent Mary Scalf asked for discussion in choosing a project for the National DAR Day of Service. Many suggestions were discussed: Abba’s Tables, Salvation Army, Matthew 25, Back to School Basics, volunteering in a school, etc. It was decided that each member would choose a project of interest to them for the Community Day of Service.
Regent Scalf then told us about the excellent guest speakers at the state workshop. The speakers included Lynn Forney Young, president general 2013-2016; Pamela Wright, chaplain general; and Brian Meagher, Team Rubicon veteran representative. She encouraged everyone to consider going to the state convention this April.
She stated that several items were distributed to chapter regents at the workshop, including certificates, information for committee chairs and officers, quilt block directions (need a quilter), Pathway of the Patriots information, State Regent’s Christmas ornaments and a note from the state webmaster about updating chapter websites.
Yearbook additions and corrections handout are on the back table, along with a sheet for additional corrections.
Hostesses for the meeting were Vicki Fleming, Judy Smith and Tommie Beddow. Also, Joyce Gentry gave our chapter some tablecloths and some patriotic decorations, and the hostesses used them today. Thank you, Joyce, and we miss you.
The door prize was won by Nancy Haney.
Next month’s speaker will be Paula Kedy, executive director of academics and instruction at Ada City Schools. She will tell us about a new program in aviation at Ada High.
Visitors present were Cheryl Rhynes and Karen Walters.
Members present were Janet Barrett, Elaine Bearden, Tommie Beddow, Lisa Bratcher, Bettye Brown, Beth Buxton, Loyleta Cacy, Mary Dixon, Joan Elliott, Vicki Fleming, Phyllis Gibbs, Arletta Good, Nancy Haney, Jan Harris, Katherine Howry, Jean Kelley, Sandra Mantooth, Suzanne McFarlane, Carol Meyer, Mary Pfeffer, Mary Scalf, Ruth Ann Taylor and Binnie Wilson.
Benediction. Adjournment. Refreshments.