DAR chapter celebrating 125th anniversary

Published 10:41 am Wednesday, May 15, 2024


The women who gathered recently for High Tea at The Isom Place have not been seen in Oxford for many years. Miss Lou Neilson, Mrs. Gabriella McPheeters Means Bondurant, Miss Ella Pegues, Mrs. Jane Rankin Eades and their friends – early members of the David Reese Chapter DAR – held a reunion to celebrate the 125th anniversary of their chapter.

“Regents Come to Call” was the theme as current members performed as outstanding Daughters through the decades.

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The David Reese Chapter, organized in 1899, was the second DAR chapter in Mississippi and would have been first but for the yellow fever outbreak claiming three charter members. Members through the years lived through the Civil War, the Victorian era, the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, World Wars I and II and all wars that followed.

Many never had the right to vote. Most never drove a car or used a computer. They were high-minded women all. Most were well-educated and well-traveled.

To kick off their 125th anniversary year, the chapter invited a select group of their David Reese ancestors to talk about their lives and remembrances, and they all attended. Using the Oxford Walking Tour guide from the Chamber of Commerce, many were able to point out where they had lived. Miss Ella Pegues, charter member, has four historic homes in Oxford related to her family, including Ammadelle. The home of Jane Rankin Eades, built by her husband on South Lamar, held their large family. Mrs. Eades joined the David Reese Chapter at age 79. Mrs. Eades was not only the chapter’s oldest member but their only Real Daughter, a term for a member whose father was a verified Patriot of the American Revolution.

Others in the cast included Helen Conkey, founding regent; Charlotte Kilgore Wardlaw and Margaret Wardlaw Wendel Sharp, both regents and representing several Wardlaw members; Maud Morrow Brown, author of The University Greys; Evelyn Seward McGowen Hogden, cousin of her presenter Mary Lucia Holloway and an artist; and Evelyn Gurley Crockett, beloved by the chapter for her publishing of the centennial book that captured the first 100 years. Evelyn, who was also an artist, is considered the founding spirit behind Oxford’s Double Decker Festival. Her granddaughter Molly Crockett attended as a special guest.

More celebrations will follow this year as the 100-member David Reese Chapter honors its past and continues its commitment to patriotism, education, and historic preservation.