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Elizabeth Ross Chapter DAR
Ottumwa, Iowa

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Welcome to Elizabeth Ross Chapter

Whereas, the first meeting to organize took place on June 5, 1896, it was on November 12, 1896, that the Elizabeth Ross Chapter was officially established as the sixth Daughters of the American Revolution chapter in the state of Iowa. Although the chapter was originally formed with twelve members, by the end of 1897, the chapter had 33 members. At the end of 1898, the membership had grown to 45.

The Elizabeth Ross Chapter DAR has always been active in contributing to the community.  Since 1898, shortly after war was declared on Spain, the Daughters began making plans to support the Sons of Iowa who were involved in this war. Throughout the years, the chapter worked tirelessly to support those involved in World War I and World War II.

Contributions of both money and gifts have been made to local schools and to the DAR schools at Tamassee, North Carolina, and to the Kate Duncan School in Grant, Alabama, throughout the history of the chapter. Early in the chapter’s history, beads and jewelry were provided to Tama Indians for producing their products. Sewing supplies were sent to Ellis Island for the use by immigrant women.

The Elizabeth Ross Daughters have also financially supported Wapello County as well as the town of Ottumwa itself. In 1981 and 1982, the Daughters donated money each year to the Wapello County Historical Society for the maintenance of the DAR room in the Wapello County Museum. In 2000, a donation was presented to the Ottumwa Fire Department to help purchase an imaging camera. These cameras aid in locating victims trapped inside burning buildings.

Historical Markers

The Elizabeth Ross chapter has placed a variety of historical markers throughout Wapello County. The following lists the markers and a short description.

Chief Wapello's Grave

Chief Wapello was a good friend of the early settlers, especially General Joseph M. Street, the first Indian Agent at Agency, Iowa, just east of Ottumwa in Wapello County. One of the leaders of the Sac and Fox tribes, Chief Wapello was not a tall, sinewy brave. In fact, he was short and stout and always promoting peace. His good friend, General Street, died in 1840 and the Chief died two years later. After the death of his friend, he let it be known that he wanted to be buried beside him. Chief Wapello was born in Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin, in 1787. He died at the forks of the Skunk River on March 15, 1842, and following his wishes, he was brought to the Indian Agency and buried by the side of General Street in the garden of the Agency.

An enclosure back of the Chief Wapello sign houses the graves of the Chief and the General, side by side. The Elizabeth Ross Chapter added a memorial marker to Chief Wapello's grave and a directional marker pointing to the grave's location.

Washington Bicentennial Recognition

In 1932, a sycamore tree was planted in Wildwood Park in Ottumwa, Iowa by the Elizabeth Ross Chapter. This tree was to commemorate the bicentennial birthday of George Washington. The tree is located about fifteen feet west of the marker.

Chief Hard Fish

An historic marker was placed in 1937 as a dedication to Chief Hard Fish, also known as Wishecomaque. Chief Hard Fish followed Black Hawk as the leader of the Sac and Fox Indians and was in charge when the Iowa Governor's Council purchased the Sac and Fox land in Iowa in 1842. Hard Fish and his 2000 followers moved upstream to the Red Rocks in Marion County and left their camp to the whites. The camp was located near the mouth of the Muchakinock Creek on the banks of the Des Moines River.

marker boulder

Agency House

On September 16, 1946, the Elizabeth Ross Chapter placed a boulder marker at the site of the Old Agency House, East of Agency, Iowa, and ¼ mile south from U. S. 34 East. Agency House was built by General Joseph M. Street in 1839 for use of the Indian agents. The large boulder was marked with a fitting inscription and placed on the spot where General Street’s house formerly stood. The dedication was held on the second day of the centennial celebration of the founding of the city of Ottumwa. The marking of this historical spot also emphasized the 50th birthday of Elizabeth Ross Chapter.

Dragoon Trail

In 1938, the Elizabeth Ross Chapter placed a large boulder and marker commemorating the passage of the Dragoons through this section of Iowa, at the intersection of Rutledge Road and U.S. Highway 63 North. A bronze plaque on the boulder reads: “Here passed the Dragoon Trail. Blazed in 1835 by the first Dragoons under Colonel Stephan W. Kearney and marked by DAR 1938.” Also on the plaque is an outline of our state with the trail etched across it from Montrose, Iowa, through Des Moines and up through Albert Lea, Minnesota. This still serves as a landmark in our community. 

Revolutionary War Soldier Buried in Wapello County

Jonathan Woody was born June 15, 1756, in the Quaker settlement of Surry County, North Carolina. He died April 18, 1850, in Wapello County, Iowa. Burial was in Dahlo-Negal Cemetery northeast of Ottumwa. On October 4, 1968, the Elizabeth Ross Chapter and the American Legion dedicated the first permanent marker on Mr. Woody's grave.

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Last Updated 9 August 2017
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