Local historian and writer Shirley Richards (1930-2004), teachers Margaret Lee Tawes (1912-2009), Sara Blueford (1925-2003), Elsie Tawes (1924-2016), and Barbara Bloodsworth (1931-2022) — these ladies represented Somerset County’s finest. They were also members of the Nanticoke Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR). Established in 1932, the Nanticoke Chapter is celebrating its 90th year of service with several initiatives planned for 2022 and beyond.
Are you our Semiquincentennial Sister?
A big word for a big event, the 250th anniversary of the United States is coming soon, and the nation is already planning (visit America250.org). Nanticoke Chapter is heralding this momentous occasion by seeking four Semiquin-Sisters: Four new, local members by the nation’s 250th birthday in 2026. What a thrill to commemorate America’s 250th by establishing your Revolutionary War ancestry!
How do you know if you are eligible to join DAR? The first step is to complete a family lineage chart that shows the ancestry of both your father and mother. Then using the DAR Genealogical Research System, you can search for Patriot ancestors (those who aided the cause of the American Revolution). Or you can see if you have a close blood relative who was a DAR member.
The final step can be the most daunting — providing the documents that verify each generation. This can be as simple as a birth certificate, or it may involve hunting down census and land records, military and pension lists, or obituaries and wills. Fortunately, each DAR chapter has a designated Registrar who offers her expertise to help you complete the membership application process.
An enduring sisterhood
A former Nanticoke Chapter Registrar, Suzanne Coons is celebrating 60 years in the DAR. Also reaching an amazing milestone is Dorothy “Dot” Wilson, who joined in 1957, making 2022 her 65th year as a Daughter. Dot and Suzanne, of Snow Hill and Rehobeth, respectively, first joined as Junior Members (ages 18-35). They are first cousins through their mothers, who were themselves DAR members.
“My interest in DAR has been strong because of my love of U.S. and Maryland history, especially local history,” said Ms. Coons. “And because of DAR’s promotion of patriotism and education.”
Ms. Coons was a Somerset County Public Schools teacher and librarian in the 1950s and ’60s. She also served Nanticoke Chapter as Regent (chapter leader) and Treasurer.
Marking the past for the future
Daughters enjoy a patriotic sisterhood infused with a passion for sharing the treasures of the past with the local community. To this end, Nanticoke Chapter has made a breakthrough in the documentation of an old gravesite first featured in the Crisfield-Somerset County Times in 2019 and the Somerset Herald back in 1990.
On Norris Harbor Drive, across from Somers Cove Marina and adjacent to the Crisfield Housing Authority, is a large tree in an open field.
Nanticoke Chapter has proven that this tract of land was once owned by Patriot John Somers (1750-1883), a sergeant in the Somerset County militia. The National Society has authorized Nanticoke Chapter to place a memorial plaque at the site in Somers’ honor. A marker ceremony is planned for Saturday, Oct. 22, with the permission of the City of Crisfield, which owns the property.
Though the actual burial place of Patriot Somers is unknown, a couple of family gravestones are still visible on the property. And it is this John Somers who is the great-grandson of Benjamin Somers (1635-1715), original land patent owner of hundreds of acres that became known as Somers Cove, as the area was known for 200 years before incorporating as Crisfield.
DAR all around
Membership is in the National Society, but you can choose which local Chapter to join. On the Lower Shore, DAR’s historic celebrations often overlap. The Samuel Chase Chapter (of Wicomico County) recently unveiled an impressive marker in Princess Anne dedicated to their namesake, a Somerset County native and signer of the Declaration of Independence. And in Worcester County, the Gen. Levin Winder Chapter honored in May the resting place of Patriot Col. John Gunby in Stockton.
Col. Gunby was also born and raised in Somerset County.
Nanticoke Chapter’s last Patriot marker ceremony was held in 2021 at the Nelson Homestead on Calvary Road, in Crisfield, memorializing Thomas “King” Nelson, son of Sacker Nelson, the namesake of nearby Sackertown Road.
Call 443-783-7429 or email email@example.com to begin your DAR Semiquin-Sister membership quest. You can also send a private message on Facebook@NanticokeNSDAR.
— Mrs. Maroon is regent of the Nanticoke Chapter NSDAR.