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In her letter to Margaret Harvey, the chapter’s sponsor, Mary Helen Pendleton sets out the goals of the organization: to build a library, and “to erect a Tablet in the Greek [sic] Church here to the memory of Catherine of Russia, who was the first sovereign to recognize American Independence.” For 3 years running, the chapter offered a prize to the children of Public School no. 1 for the best composition on a Revolutionary subject. The prizes, awarded on Washington’s Birthday, were announced in The Alaskan in 1903, 1904 and 1905. Although Miss Harvey, in her report of the chapter, gives credit for Sitka’s library to the Alaska chapter of the DAR, it had actually been an ongoing project for many years, involving the Arctic Brotherhood, the Dorcas Society, and the Women’s Reading Club.
Two more members were admitted in the short history of the chapter: Mary Davis Johnson was admitted November 7, 1905. Eleanor Washington Frazee (Mrs. Owen L. Frazee) appears to be the last member admitted. No information has been located to date on either of these ladies.
Captain Pendleton was transferred in March of 1904 and Mary Helen Fay Pendleton went with him to California; he ended an illustrious career in California, retiring to Coronado, near the Marine base named for him.
Mary Pendleton’s sister and hand-selected 2nd Vice Regent, Elizabeth Fay Rush, died September 14, 1904. Laura Ellen Distin, was formally elected Regent in November of 1904, but shortly thereafter was hospitalized in Victoria, B.C. No other information is currently available on either of these ladies.
By October, 1905 only four members remained in Sitka, according to Mary Mills. Constance Stowell married Carl Gamborg-Anderson, CO of the marine contingent in Sitka from 1904-1906, and left with him in February of 1906.
Although The Alaskan dutifully noted DAR activities, it ceased publication in August of 1905. The last Chapter Regent’s Report was dated 1906-07. NSDAR declared the Chapter as officially disbanded November 3, 1909.
Photo credits: top: William A. Kelley; probably Sheldon Jackson School faculty, in Sitka Canoe, ca. 1900. Center: Two women, ca. 1900; unidentified. Bottom: Crescent Bay, Sitka, looking towards town. Sitka, ca. 1900.