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Fort San Carlos Chapter memebers

PHOTO: Chapter members gather together for a chapter meeting.


In 1932 three young sisters in St. Louis, Missouri, organized a new DAR chapter. The chapter was confirmed on October 25, 1933, and was the first DAR Chapter to be composed entirely by Junior members (young women under the age of 35). The Organizing Regent was Mrs. Willa Viley, one of the sisters. The chapter was named Fort San Carlos, where in 1780, a British and Indian attack was repelled, saving the village of St. Louis and averting a western attack on Colonial troops.

The organizing meeting was called to order by Regent Viley using a gavel made from long leaf pine that had for 150 years been part of the White House roof. By May 1935, the chapter had grown to 19 active members. In 1936, the chapter organized a C.A.R. society with 14 members, composed of their own children, and for the first time presented DAR Good Citizenship medals to two students.

In 1966, the chapter was first awarded Gold Honor Roll for excellence in DAR service, a precedent that continued for over 30 years. Through the chapter's efforts in recruiting young members, there were 14 mother/daughter combinations in the chapter in the 1970s, comprising almost half of the membership.

Photo of St. Louis at the time of the Battle of Fort San Carlos

The Battle of Fort San Carlos: On May 26, 1780, St. Louis, a Spanish colony, was attacked by British, Indians, and Canadian traders from the north.  Spanish Commander Fernando de Layba hastily erected a stone tower on high ground over looking the small village of St. Louis.  This tower and other offensive trench-works and palisades around the town saved the town of St. Louis from destruction, although at substantial cost in lives and property. This battle was the only American Revolutionary War engagement fought WEST of the Mississippi River.


In addition to required DAR programs, Fort San Carlos Chapter has presented trees to several parks and the Missouri Botanical Garden; marked the original 1780 site of Fort San Carlos; helped the International Institute, done USO and war work during World War II; facilitated the placing of the Boonslick Trail marker in Kiener Plaza in downtown St. Louis; and assisted in placing a beacon on top of the St. Louis Gateway Arch. Each year the chapter joins with the Commemoration Committee for the Battle of Fort San Carlos to hold a Fort San Carlos Memorial Ceremony in St. Louis. We give Christmas gifts to the veterans at John Cochran Veterans Hospital, and provide refreshments for our traveling troops through the USO. One of the chapter's ongoing projects is the annual placing of flags in the classrooms of area schools. Currently, the chapter awards two DAR Good Citizens Awards, four DAR Good Citizenship medals, four ROTC medals, and recognizes 14 Outstanding History Students each year.


The chapter has been pleased to have members serve the State and National Societies. Members have served the State Society as chairman of Children of the American Revolution (C.A.R.); DAR Magazine; DAR Magazine Advertising; DAR Museum; Pages; Missouri State Conference; State Treasurer; Co-Chairman of Cold Water Cemetery; Mideast District Director; and National Vice Chairman of DAR Magazine. Two members have served as State Recording Secretary. One member has served as State Vice Regent and Regent, Vice President General NSDAR, and Honorary Vice President General, NSDAR.


Chapter meetings are held on the second Thursday of the month, September through May. Please contact us for more information about our chapter.


DAR Recognized Site

Our state website: Missouri State Society DAR
Our national website: National Society DAR
Chapter contact: Helen Moody