Boonesborough Chapter NSDAR marks milestone by celebrating its members

At a recent Boonesborugh Chapter DAR meeting, Sgt. Kevin Justice, and Sgt. Wendy Justice from the Salvation Army and Joyce Gullet from God's Outreach, Madison County Food Pantry, spoke about the social issues of hunger and homelessness in Madison County and the services offered to the community by God's Outreach and the Salvation Army and the opportunities for Boonesborugh DAR members to volunteer with the organizations. Pictured front, left to right, Sgt. Kevin Justice, Sgt. Wendy Justice and Joyce Gullet; back row Kathy Moats, Chapter Regent, Denise Valdez, Betsy Logan, hostesses.

On Oct. 5, 2019, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) surpassed one million total members who have joined the organization since its founding in 1890. The DAR is a women's service organization whose members can trace their lineage to an individual who contributed to securing American independence during the Revolutionary War.

Throughout the Boonesborough Chapter's 123-year history, its membership has included many remarkable women from the local community. The Boonesborough Chapter is excited to join the National Society in celebrating this milestone by spotlighting members of the chapter through the years.

Belle Harris Bennett was a member of the Boonesborough Chapter in the 1920s. Belle was a Madison County native, born into a wealthy local family. Belle was a powerful force in the women's suffrage movement and in the laity rights in the Southern Methodist churches. Belle was a founding member of the Richmond Equal Rights Association, and had a leadership role in the Kentucky Equal Rights Association. She was instrumental in establishing a training school for missionaries. In honor of her sister Sue Bennett, she helped to establish Sue Bennett Memorial School in London, Ky. Belle was a woman ahead of her time. She traveled the world to promote equality in both race and gender.

Charter member of the Boonesborough Chapter DAR, Mrs. Margaret Neale served as chapter treasurer for 24 years, 1896-1920, and was instrumental in securing the land for the Fort Boonesborough DAR Monument in 1907. The land was presented to the Boonesborough Chapter DAR by the owner who was from California. Had the Boonesborough Chapter and Mrs. Neale not sought to preserve the Fort Boonesborough site, it may have been lost to history.

Melba Porter Hay joined the Boonesborough Chapter NSDAR in 2009. Melba is the author of Madeline McDowell Breckinridge and the Battle for a New South, the first biography of the Kentucky suffragette, activist and philanthropist. Melba was the Division Manager of Research and Publications at the Kentucky Historical Society. She oversaw the library, special collections and publications programs. She has written many articles pertaining to historical topics. Melba is an active volunteer in her community and in the DAR Chapter.

These are just a few of the one million women who have joined DAR since 1890. Each DAR member has a unique story, but all share a passion for historic preservation, education and patriotism and a dedication to her local community.

The Boonesborough DAR Chapter focuses much of its efforts on historic preservation of sites such as Fort Boonesborough and Fort Tweety. Our members are individually involved in many community projects by volunteering their services. The chapter encourages women interested in DAR membership to visit the Boonesborough Chapter website at, or visit

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