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Nathaniel Fellows Chapter NSDAR
Iowa City, Iowa

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Chapter History

In early 1938, it was decided that the Pilgrim Chapter in Iowa City had grown too big to hold meetings in people's homes, therefore prompting the organization of a new chapter. In October 1938, Mrs. W.F. (Bertha) Boiler was appointed to be the organizing regent and Mrs. Sara Paine Hoffman to be the organizing genealogist. The following February, the organizing of a new chapter began. By July, the new chapter had thirty-eight applications and thirty-three approvals by the National Board of Management, more than enough potential members to be able to charter this new chapter.

On November 19, 1939, the new chapter was announced in the Press-Citizen:

To be known as the Nathaniel Fellows Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, a new Chapter of the DAR will be organized in Iowa City on November 15, 1939, it is announced today. Mrs. W.F. Boiler, nationally appointed Organizing Regent, is organizing the new chapter. The decision to honor Nathaniel Fellows was reached when research, made by Mrs. Sara Paine Hoffman, genealogist and historian, revealed recently that Mr. Fellows, one of the earliest of the local pioneers, was the first American soldier of the Revolutionary War, to die in Iowa. Mr. Fellows died July 12, 1838. It was also decided to pay homage to Mr. Fellows since his fame remained unnoticed and unhonored for more than a century, according to Mrs. Hoffman.

On page four of the November 28, 1939 Daily Iowan, a report on the first meeting was found:


The Nathaniel Fellows Chapter, a society for daughters of the American Revolution, was formally organized Saturday when 44 descendants of soldiers of the Revolution from Iowa City and adjacent towns met for a luncheon at Iowa Union.

The luncheon table was in the form of letter “I” with an 18-inch candle flanked by baskets of white chrysanthemums and blue iris as the centerpiece. Rare antiques and the emblem of the society decorated the room.

A light blue program book speckled with white contained the order of the evening for the organizational ceremony of the Nathaniel Fellows Chapter, NSDAR held at the Iowa Memorial Union in the University Club Room, on November 25, 1939.

The first luncheon began at 12:30 with Dr. Willard Lampe of the School of Religion at the University of Iowa giving grace. After lunch, the program continued with Mrs. Boiler giving the call to order.

Mrs. Narey explained to the members why the chapter is named after Nathaniel Fellows:

The chapter honored the first Revolutionary soldier to die and be buried in Iowa. For almost a century unnoted and neglected as a Patriot, heretofore, the soldier provides the name for the Nathaniel Fellows Chapter.”

She reminded new members: joint
All members of the new chapter are lineal descendants of ancestors who assisted in the achievement of American Independence, rendering either military or civil service.”

The Honorary William Morrison spoke on “My America ‘Tis of Thee,” stressing the importance of the organization influencing Americans' patriotism and the nation's history.

Prior to this organizing banquet and the installation of officers, Mrs. Boiler had nominated Mrs. Grace Coughland as first regent of Nathaniel Fellows Chapter.

Currently the chapter has about forty-five members and continues the long history with the Pilgrim Chapter by having a joint meeting each year.

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Last Updated 7 June 2020
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