The National Society Daughters of the
American Revolution (NSDAR or DAR) is a
non-profit, non-political, volunteer women's
service organization. The Jean Espy Chapter
NSDAR was organized November 14, 1901, and
the charter was granted January 19, 1902. A
number of years ago, the Keokuk Chapter
merged with the Jean Espy Chapter.
Our chapter was named for Jean Espy, who
was a heroic great-grandmother of the
American Revolutionary War period. She
molded bullets, baked "corn-dodgers," and
tended the wounded, while the young women
handled the guns at McClure's Fort, in
Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. Jean
Espy had twenty-one descendants serving in
the war against England. This chapter has
had five descendants of the Espy family as
Over the years, the members of the Jean
Espy DAR Chapter have placed three markers
to help preserve history:
Location: On the side of
Mississippi River Road just off US
Highway 61, about 1/3 mile north of
Montrose in Lee County, Iowa.
History: Kalawequois was
an Indian princess of the Sac and
Fox tribe. Her grave is marked by a
bronze inscribed plaque mounted on a
granite boulder near a gated
driveway. She died in 1837.
Location: At Fort Madison,
Iowa, at 4th Street and Avenue H.
History: Old Fort Madison
was a military post, built in 1808,
but had a life of only 10 years. In
1813, it was evacuated and burned by
the garrison. In 1908, a Lone
Chimney monument with a bronze
tablet was erected on the site where
the old fort stood. On September 24,
1988, it was rededicated,
commemorating the 100th
anniversary of Old Fort Madison.
The tablet reads:
Erected in 1908
By Jean Espy Chapter,
Daughters of American Revolution,
On Site of
Old Fort Madison
Evacuated and Burned
By Garrison, 1813.
Location: At the entrance of
the Cattermole Memorial Library at 614
7th Street, Fort Madison. This is the
second plaque for the U.S.S. Maine in
History: The U.S.S. Maine
was an American battleship that was
sunk while anchored in Havana
Harbor, Cuba. In 1916, the Secretary
of the Navy gave this plaque to
honor the men who went down with the
ship.The tablet is cast from metal
recovered from the U.S.S. Maine.
The Keokuk Chapter NSDAR
placed these markers:
A ten-foot and six inch high statue of
Chief Keokuk stands on a twenty-foot
tall pedestal in Rand Park, Keokuk,
Iowa. The statue was designed by Miss
On one side of the statue, an
excerpt from Keokuk's 1812 speech is
inscribed: "I have heard with sorrow
that you have determined to leave
our village and cross the
Mississippi, merely because you have
been told that the Americans were
coming in this direction. Would you
leave our village, desert our homes
and fly before an enemy approaches?
Would you leave all, even the graves
of our fathers, to the mercy of the
enemy, without trying to defend
them? Give me charge of your
warriors and I will defend the
village while you sleep." The bronze
statue was unveiled on October 22,
On another side of the statue is the
inscription: "To the memory of the
pioneers who entered Iowa by Keokuk
the gate city and either settling in
our state or passing farther west
travelled (sic) over the well-worn
road known as the Mormon Trail."
The stone, located in Rand Park has
The plaque on top
commemorates the loss of the
battleship, U.S.S. Maine, in Havana
Harbor. It reads: "In memoriam
U.S.S. Maine destroyed in Havana
Harbor February 18th 1898."
On the border, it reads: "This
tablet is cast from metal
recovered from the U.S.S. Maine."
The plaque below reads:
"Presented by Keokuk Chapter
D.A.R. June 14, 1916."
Location: In Galland, Iowa, a
marker was dedicated at the site of
the first schoolhouse in Iowa, on
October 18, 1924.
First School in Iowa
The 10 x 12 foot building was
built of hand split logs and mud was
used to hold the building together.
The school was used between 1830 and
The tablet reads: "This boulder
marks the site of The First School
House in Iowa, built in 1830 placed
by Keokuk Chapter Daughters of the
Location: In Montrose, Iowa, on
Highway 61, the Keokuk Chapter DAR
marked the Dragoon Trail in 1938.
History: On land purchased
from Captain James White, the first
Fort Des Moines was built in 1834.
Three companies of the First U.S.
Dragoons (an elite cavalry unit that
kept the peace following the Black
Hawk War) were assigned there until
1837 when they were reassigned to
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
The plaque reads: "The Dragoon
Trail blazed in 1835 by the 1st U.S.
Dragoons under Colonel Stephen
Kearney marked by the Iowa Daughters
of the American Revolution 1938.
Erected August 27, 1938."