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The Birth of the Mary Clap Wooster Chapter NSDAR

In the year 1890, the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution was organized in Washington, D.C., and soon after the states began forming chapters. Mary Clap Wooster Chapter NSDAR, organized on April 21, 1893, was the eighth chapter organized in Connecticut. The organizational meeting took place at the home of Delia F. Audubon Tyler who lived in a large square brownstone house on College Street near where the current Shubert Theater now stands in New Haven, Connecticut. The names of the nineteen charter members are:

      Emily Louise Gerry  

      Elizabeth Foote Jenkins  

      Lydia Williams Bolles Newcomb  

      Elizabeth Febiger Beebe  

      Delia Audubon Tyler  

      Eugenia L. Morris  

      Sara T. Kinney  

      Harriet Oakes Sargent  

      Evelyn McCurdy Salisbury  

      Martha Day Porter  

      Annie Palfrey Day  

      Idalina Darrow  

      Elizabeth Selden Easton  

      Caroline Tuttle Brooks  

      Clara Lines DeBussy  

      Catherine Chapman Treat  

      Nancy A. Morse Foote  

      Sarah E. Champion  

      Ellen W. Parmelee Deming  

Organizing a chapter in New Haven was due largely to the effort of Lydia Williams Bolles Newcomb who already was a member of the NSDAR. Assisted by Sara T. Kinney, they each interviewed their personal friends and secured the minimum number of members to form a chapter.

The following paragraph is quoted from Sara T. Kinney:

“To name a Chapter is sometimes a delicate as well as a difficult achievement, but I do not recall any embarrassments in connection with the selection of a Patron Saint for this Chapter. How could any name be suggested other than that of Mary Clap Wooster? Mary Clap, daughter of the fourth President of Yale College and direct descendant on both the paternal and maternal lines from Mayflower passengers, William Bradford and John Howland. Mary Clap Wooster, wife of Connecticut’s Major-General David Wooster, as great a patriot in her way as he in his. Mary Clap Wooster, who gave her husband and her fortune to her country, and lost both.”

By the time the first chapter meeting took place on October 9, 1893, seventy-one ladies had become members. Meetings were held bi-monthly at the homes of members for the first few months after which meetings were held in the Director’s Room of the New Haven Historical Society.

Meetings were held at the Historical Society by invitation of the Governor's Foot Guard, Second Company, and the chapter accepted the opportunity. When the room was outgrown, future meetings took place at the Center Church House on the town green and were held on the second Monday of each month from October to May.

Connecticut was the first state to hold a state conference at the Church of the Redeemer on May 16, 1894. The Mary Clap Wooster Chapter NSDAR was given the honor of being the hostess chapter.

When Mary Clap Wooster Chapter NSDAR was formed, seven chapters in Connecticut were already in existence: Danbury, Hartford, Meriden, Middletown, New London, Norwalk, and Waterbury. In 1894, there were fifty-two chapters in the country.

The charter of Mary Clap Wooster Chapter NSDAR was granted on October 04, 1893. Carved by Elizabeth Sheldon Tillinghast, a portion of the charter’s wooden frame is wood removed from an old oak beam from the Wooster house, including a few hand-wrought nails from that beam. The leaves in the corners are pieces of the Charter Oak.



For more information on the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution or the Connecticut Daughters of the American Revolution, please click on the links below.

National Society Daughters of the American Revolution

Connecticut State Society, NSDAR

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Mary Clap Wooster Charter


Above, the Mary Clap Wooster Chapter NSDAR Charter, 1893

Minutes of the first chapter meeting, April 21, 1893. 

Minutes of the first chapter meeting, April 21, 1893


    May 16th, 1894 Program


   13th General Meeting

   13th General Meeting Program, November 5, 1907

   Images courtesy of New Haven Museum