The Little Rock-Centennial Chapter was officially approved at the National Board of Management meeting on February 5, 2000, as a result of a merger between two local chapters: the Little Rock Chapter (chartered March 1894) and the Centennial Chapter (chartered April 16, 1919).
The Little Rock Chapter
The Little Rock Chapter was Arkansas’ first chapter, and the second chapter west of the Mississippi River.
In October 1890, the Daughters of the American Revolution was established in Washington, D.C. with Mrs. Harrison, wife of President Harrison, as its first president. The Society of the Sons of the Revolution had been founded in 1875 and the Society of the Sons of the American Revolution in 1889. Four ladies determined it was high time for the women of America to also be concerned with history, genealogy, and patriotism. These founders of a great organization were: Miss Eugenia Washington, Miss Mary Desha, Mrs. Mary Lockwood, and Mrs. Ellen Hardin Walworth. Miss Washington was a grand-niece of George Washington.
Three years later, in the summer of 1893, Mrs. Clifton R. Breckenridge of Fort Smith (wife of Congressman Breckenridge), who was a member of the National DAR Board was appointed Organizing Regent of Arkansas. The Little Rock Chapter was organized December 19, 1893. The chapter was not chartered until March 1894 with Mrs. Frederick Hanger as regent. Charter No. 62 hangs in the rooms of the Arkansas History Commission in the State Capital. The Charter members were:
- Ellen Harrell Cantrell
- Frances Marion Harrow Hanger
- Mary Caroline Carnathan
- Myra McAlmont Vaughn
- Elizabeth Nash Reeves
- Harriet Maria Woodruff Jabine
- Brooksie Rachel Trezevant Smith
- Martha McDowell Matthews
- Julia McAlmont Warner
- Margaret Matilda Hanger Ratcliff
- Martha Riley Pratt
- Kathrine Carson Breckenridge
The Chapter was named for the city where it was organized. The first Regent was Mrs. William Cantrell, and through the years many Daughters served as State Officers.
The Little Rock Chapter answered the Country’s call for aid during World War I, World War II, Vietnam and Korea conflicts, buying War Bonds, supporting the Red Cross, and donating time and money to the war effort.
The Centennial Chapter
Commemorates the 1918 centennial of the settlement of Arkansas.
On February 21, 1919, Mrs. Samuel Preston Davis, State Regent, called a meeting to organize a chapter of young ladies who had recently made application for membership in the DAR. The name Centennial was chosen to commemorate the settlement of Arkansas one hundred years before in 1819, when James Monroe declared Arkansas a territory. The Little Rock Chapter assisted in organizing this new chapter, and some Daughters from the Little Rock Chapter joined the newly formed Centennial Chapter.
The chapter was chartered April 16, 1919. There were thirteen young chapter members, some of whom were still in college. They were:
- Adele Livingston Lawrence
- Mary Emily Blakeney
- Martha Eleanor Andrews
- Wilhelmina Lea
- Barbara Herndon Hollis Leary
- E. Gertrude Lawson
- Martha Blakeney
- Martha White Lawrence
- Irene Gray Mitchell
- Helen Adams Mullins
- Mary Judith Feild
- Marguerite Delony
- Mary Eloise Feild
The gold and silver honors awarded to the Centennial Chapter through the years have been many – boxes were sent to Ellis Island, clothing and money to the Helen Dunlap School at Winslow, time and money to the USO and Red Cross during World War II, 20 acres of trees planted for “Penny Pine Forest,” and books, flags, and copies of the U. S. Constitution donated to hospitals and local schools.