DAR Logo

Abigail Adams Chapter NSDAR

Des Moines, Iowa

Abigail Adams

Home Membership
in DAR
Chapter History Preservation Project Chapter Officers Chapter Meetings Patriot Ancestors Contact Us Iowa Society DAR National Society DAR

"Tiny Stones" Preservation Project

panoramic view at the
Photo by Terry Lauritsen  
Twenty-plus chapter members were joined by family and friends in the community, for a gathering
of more than one hundred, to mark the completion of the 'Tiny Stones' project on April 23, 2017.
chapter banner
Photo by Kristine Bartley      
Laura Kozin
Photo by Terry Lauritsen      
Past Regent Laura Kozin helps place a final stone at the ceremony.
Kristine Bartley
                                                with Gov. Branstad
Photo by Laura Kozin      
Regent Kristine Bartley stands
with Governor Branstad.
Photo by Robert Koutek      
At the conclusion of the ceremony, a carnation was placed on each grave marker.

Stone Markers Placed at Baby Hill

Through the cooperative efforts of many, the final resting place of hundreds of infants who died more than a century ago were given proper markers in a ceremony held April 23, 2017 at Des Moines’ most hallowed burial grounds, Woodland Cemetery.

Gerald A. LaBlanc is the historian emeritus of Woodland Cemetery, where Iowa history unfolds in its intimate, rolling hills. Over the years, hundreds of people have listened to LaBlanc during his walking tours, inspired by his love and respect of the history resting beneath its grave markers.

In 2009, the Abigail Adams Chapter, DAR, took LaBlanc’s tour when he identified several DAR graves. He also shared the story of Baby Hill, a small section along the south edge of Woodland Cemetery that held the mortal remains of more than 500 pioneer infants who died between 1898 and 1905. The devastating deaths were caused by a small pox epidemic and other diseases that swept across Iowa.

Gerald LaBlanc
Click on the photo above for a
short video
about Gerald LaBlanc.

Created by Kristine Bartley

Although LaBlanc’s declining health stopped his walking tours, his passion for preserving Baby Hill never waned. So he initiated a fundraising drive to provide stones for the hundreds of unmarked graves on that site.

In 2013, the City of Des Moines recognized LaBlanc for his historical leadership. He also was awarded the National Society DAR Historic Preservation Medal.

Laura Kozin, who became DAR Chapter Regent in 2014, and LaBlanc connected, creating a mission-driven force to complete his goal of placing a stone marker for each infant interred in Baby Hill.

The Abigail Adams Chapter renewed the project’s fundraising efforts. However, when they fell $27,500 short of their goal, new resources were needed. That’s when former Gov. Terry E. Branstad’s Iowa History Fund gave their efforts renewed hope.

With a $10,000 pledge from his foundation, Branstad challenged some community leaders to match the funds to achieve the goal. Kurt Rasmussen, Suku Radia, and Prairie Meadows responded. McCall Monument donated $5,500 for the increase in grave marker costs and all of the funds needed were raised.

In a moving ceremony on April 23, the final three headstones were installed on Baby Hill, completing the circle of respect that began 120 years ago.

Iowa History Journal, Volume 9, Issue 4, page 6, July/August 2017
Article written by John Busbee
© 2017 Iowa History Journal
              Used by permission
placing carnations
Photo by Kristine Bartley   
final picture
Photo by Kristine Bartley                                                          

We are grateful for community-wide courtesy and cooperation
this project that is so meaningful for our members.
Andrews marker
Photo by Laura Kozin    
Abigail Adams Chapter, NSDAR, has a long-standing connection to Woodland Cemetery, largely based on the fact that six of the women, who founded Abigail Adams Chapter in 1893, are buried there. Three "Real Daughters" (actual daughters of patriots and soldiers who served in the American Revolution) rest there, including Sophia Dolson Andrews, first Regent of Abigail Adams Chapter NSDAR.

Read more about the Notable Women of Abigail Adams Chapter NSDAR.

The content contained herein does not necessarily represent the position of the NSDAR.
Hyperlinks to other sites are not the responsibility of the NSDAR, the state organizations, or individual DAR chapters.

Last Updated 23 July 2022
Contact Webmaster

Connect with the National Society
facebook twitter  youtube