Local Daughters of the American Revolution chapter celebrates 100 years

Lori-Ann Parrott’s Civil War-era ballgown with a hoop skirt was made about 10 years ago, and the broach holding her shawl contains a photo of her great aunt Ella Hancock, who died of whooping cough at the age of 2 years old.

Some of the blood that runs through Lori-Ann Parrott’s veins ran through those of Francis Scott Key.

Some of the strands of DNA that make Parrott, a U.S. Air Force veteran, also made Frederick P. Chatard something of what he was: a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Independence during the Mexican-American War and the captain of the CSS Patrick Henry during the Civil War.

Parrott inherited some of her chromosomes, as well, from William J. Lundy, a corporal in Company E of the 26th Illinois Infantry Regiment, U.S. Army, during the same Civil War.

As with many a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Parrott’s family history includes much more than the American Revolution and many members, as with Parrott, find themselves straddling both sides of the Civil War (or War of Northern Aggression, depending on what meeting is being attended.)

No one in Parrott’s family or those of other members of the Mount Garfield Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution can claim bloodlines as high as George Washington, for example, but what they lack in historic status, they make up for in perseverance.

“My people were all indentured servants” who made the most of their servitude, Parrott said.

Her Revolutionary War ancestor, John Houchings, served in the Virginia Light Dragoons, or what came to be called light cavalry.

Little is known about Houchings, except that he eventually moved west to the Mammoth Cave area of Kentucky after gaining his freedom.

There, either he or his son appears to have been on friendly terms with a neighbor, one Daniel Boone, Parrott said.

Francis Scott Key, who composed the words to the national anthem while aboard the HMS Tonnant, where he was negotiating a prisoner exchange, is Parrott’s great-great-great-great-granduncle.

As schoolchildren know, Key watched helplessly aboard the Tonnant as the British bombarded Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore on the night of Sept. 13–14, 1814. On seeing the Stars and Stripes the next morning, he wrote the words to the anthem as a poem.

Parrott’s connections to history continue through the Spanish-American War, where her great-grandfather, Rutherford B.H. Lundy (extra points for figuring out the B.H.) was a private in Company E of the 39th U.S. Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

Her father, Robert F. Lundy, served in World War II.

Parrott and her husband, Gary, moved to Grand Junction after he retired in California, where she was a member of a Daughters of the American Revolution chapter.

“My old chapter in California, it does nothing,” Parrott said. “There’s a very active chapter here.”

On Feb. 17, the chapter celebrated its centennial by dedicating a resting bench and memorial plaque in the east courtyard of Two Rivers Convention Center, the site formerly occupied by the LaCourt Hotel, where the first meeting of the organization was conducted.

The menu for that 1910 meeting included stuffed squab and Nesselrode pudding. The 2010 celebration duplicated that menu to the extent possible with stuffed chicken breast and portobello mushroom and baked plum tart.

Now with more than 100 members, the Mount Garfield Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution is growing, much of it as a result of interest in genealogy.

“A lot of it has to do with the availability of information on the Internet,” said Anita Caldwell, registrar of the Mount Garfield Chapter and the Colorado State Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. “You used to have to send something off and wait six months and hope it’s right.”

Now the family information needed to verify claims of eligibility for the Daughters of the American Revolution is available at the touch a few computer keys.

The association is active in Memorial Day observances, including a ceremonial burning of tattered or unusable flags at 6 p.m. today at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado, 2830 D Road.

The organization also will take part in Memorial Day observances Monday.

In addition to taking part in observances, the chapter offers school programs, American history awards for students and recognition for good citizenship.

Each year, the chapter sends patriot boxes to U.S. soldiers stationed in Landshtuhl, Germany, and cards and gifts to soldiers in other areas overseas, said Teresa Fulmer, regent of the Mount Garfield Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

“If we know about them, we’ll send them things,” Fulmer said.

Fulmer, who has identified three ancestors who served in the Revolutionary War, is working on connecting a fourth.

She discovered the headstone of one of the three verified veterans of the war, Phillip Lorentz Houtz, in a cemetery in Pennsylvania. Houtz, a German, served with the Continental Army in Valley Forge.

Fulmer’s two sons now serve overseas, one with the U.S. Air Force in Abu Dhabi and the other with the U.S. Army in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, proving that the Spirit of ‘76 still lives.

“We’re doing our fair share,” Fulmer said. “We’re following our heritage.”


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