The Joplin chapter was organized in 1904, and held our first meeting on December 16th, 1904. The charter members voted to hold four or more meetings a year. One of the regular meeting places in the early years, the Hotel Conner, no longer stands at the corner of 4th and Main streets in Joplin, Missouri.
Our chapter owns some special real estate. In 1916, our first regent, Mrs. E. A. (Hattie) Norris, sent a communication from Washington D.C., stating that she had purchased one foot of Continental Hall ground for the Joplin chapter for $11.25.
In 1917, "War Relief Work" became the chapter's focus. During this time, they voted to dispense with refreshments at their regular meetings and send the money saved to the Red Cross for their relief work, such as sewing projects, etc.
Goals and Objectives:
All DAR chapters are devoted to patriotism, education, and historical preservation. A short list of the many projects supported by the Joplin Chapter include:
- the Arrow Rock Tavern (oldest historical spot in Missouri)
- a rally to raise $500.00, to apply to the debt of a local church
- bronze doors for Constitution Hall
- periodically sending a large box of usual necessities to Ellis Island
- tacking comforters for the School of the Ozarks
- planting trees in various places in Joplin in memory of past regents
- clothing a 15 year old boy so he could attend school
- sponsoring a boy at the School of the Ozarks, and another at Crossnore School (i.e. this included getting the child to school, arranging for visits home, paying the tuition, sending birthday and Christmas gifts and attending graduation.)
- sent gifts and paid fees for other girls and boys at school throughout the year
Our chapter had no trouble spending money. In May 1940, the treasurer reported a balance of 34 cents! In 1941, the chapter started a drive to buy an Iron Lung for use in the two Joplin hospitals. In 1942, they planted trees at the tuberculosis hospital and filled a cookie jar at the USO with 55 dozen cookies. They also sold chances on an afghan, with the proceeds of $52.50 donated to the Red Cross. In 1943, they recorded 246 hours of "war work," sold $196.00 worth of bonds and stamps at a booth on Bond Day, sent gifts to boys and girls in hospitals. Recipient hospitals included the hospital at Camp Crowder, and the Marine Base Hospitals at Ellis Island and at Angel Island. Over a three year period, the chapter sold $66,319.40 in war bonds. They also donated sewing machines to Crowder College.
In the 1990s, our chapter presented the DAR's highest award, a Medal of Honor, to Paul Butler for his achievements and dedication to the community. They also donated flags to the American Legion Post #13 and other groups, they planted a tree at the rebuilt public library, placed a bench in Cox Cemetery, gave a donation to NALA, and participated in the Carthage Maple Leaf Parade.
Now, more than 100 years since our beginning, the Joplin Chapter has a current membership of 32 ladies devoted to furthering patriotism, education, and historical preservation through numerous local, state, and national DAR Projects. Each year we present 5 Good Citizenship awards to students at our local schools and Jr. ROTC Medals at the two high schools. On Veteran’s Day we send cards to the veteran’s in our local nursing homes thanking them for their service. We contribute to our State Regent’s Project and a whole list of additional Missouri DAR programs and scholarships. Nationally, we send our contributions to the President General’s Project and four National programs.
Occasionally, something unusual happens. The following is a report given by Wilma Walbridge, Joplin Chapter Regent during the May 2011 tornado.
On Sunday, May 22, 2011 our TV weatherman told us to take cover, that a tornado was sighted on the ground west of Joplin. Looking from my front porch, I could see a long, black cloud about five blocks west of us. The wind was blowing very hard and the trees began to twirl like I had never seen before. I immediately went to the basement. We began to receive calls that St. John’s Hospital, buildings and homes were blown away. Several days later we were receiving calls from all over the United States wanting to help in some way. All our DAR ladies were safe. Some had lost homes or had damage. Some had families living with them until they could find homes or their damage was repaired. Three of our schools were a total loss and five were badly damaged and would need to be torn down.
Missouri Chapter Regents called wanting to help in some way. We decided to buy flags for the Joplin schools that were destroyed by the tornado. A new American Flag and a new Missouri Flag were raised in a ceremony by the Joplin High School ROTC students on August 17, 2011. The event was covered by the Joplin Globe, the Carthage Press, and two TV stations, KODE of Joplin, MO. and KOAM of Pittsburg, KS. The Missouri Flag was presented to the Joplin High School by Senator Ron Richardson. The chapter regent from the Kansas City chapter sent money to purchase a flag for a local church which had been destroyed by the tornado. Rhoda Fairchild Chapter gave two flags and the Joplin Chapter gave four flags. Jim Pretti, owner of the flag store in Springfield, MO. gave ten flags. Eder Flag Distribution from Wisconsin gave 260 flags to all the teachers for their classrooms. I wish to thank you all for the prayers, emails, flags, baby food, baby clothes and money that was sent to help our people in Joplin. We are blessed to have friends like you. May God bless you for helping us.
“Joplin Will Rise Again”
With all of the help from the volunteers and the money that came to Joplin after the 2011 tornado, new homes and businesses are being built. Our new Mercy St. John’s hospital has all of the steel up for nine floors. All of the new schools are being worked on. Most of the churches are open and the American Flag that the Kansas City chapter gave is flying in front of a new church. Some of the flags that were given to our schools are being used inside of the temporary schools until our new schools are completed. Thank you again for helping Joplin rise again.
Our regular meetings are held September through May, at 1:00 PM, on the second Tuesday of each month with a few exceptions for Saturday brunches. Locations vary. There are no meetings during the summer months, but we do take turns hosting a Flag Day Luncheon in June with the Neosho and Rhoda Fairchild Chapters. Guests are welcome. Contact us for more information.
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