Colonial Daughter will honor local students

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FARMINGTON — Colonial Daughters Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution held its regular monthly meeting on Feb. 23 at the Fairbanks Union Church. There were 15 members and one guest present.

Marcia White, regent, opened the meeting. Officers reports were given. Loraine Norton read the President General’s message. Revisions to the chapter bylaws were discussed and acted upon. The group appointed delegates and alternates to the MSODAR conference to be held April 23 to 25 at the Hilton Garden Inn, Auburn. The NSDAR President General, Linda Gist Calvin, will be the guest speaker.

White presented a 25-year Membership Certificate to Julia Nouvertne. Nouvertne currently serves on the DAR National American History Committee, the Committee for Friends of the Library and Literacy Promotion Committee.

The National Defense Report was given by Joanne Page. Her topic was Margaret Corbin, the first woman to receive a pension from the U.S. government as a disabled soldier. Corbin fought in the Revolutionary War alongside her husband, John Corbin. They were at Fort Washington in northern Manhattan when the fort was attacked by British troops.

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John was assisting a gunner until the gunner was killed. At that point he took charge of the cannon and Margaret assisted him. Some time later he was killed and Margaret carried on. She was recognized as the first woman soldier in the American Army.

In 1779, because her wounds disabled her, the Continental Congress granted her a pension (half the pay and allowances of a soldier), due to her distinguished bravery, but she petitioned and won a full ration. At the age of 48 she died.

In 1926, the New York State Society of DAR verified her records. Her overgrown grave was found, and her body was exhumed and identified by her battle scars. Her remains were interred with full military honors at the cemetery of the United States Military Academy at West Point. She was one of the first women to be buried there.

Constance Hiltz, American Indians Committee person, presented the program for the day. Her subject was Hannah Susep and her husband, Pierre Paul, also known as “Pierpole.” They were an Indian family living in the Sandy River Valley at the time the first white settlers came to the area.

Susep was from the Norridgewock Abenaki tribe. Pierpole was believed to have been from the Androscoggin tribe, he was Catholic, but much of his lifestyle was similar to his Protestant neighbors. They farmed, lived in a frame house and sent one of their sons to school. The son learned to read and write from Supply Belcher.

The chapter has a great interest in the family because they are in the possession of one of Susep’s birch bark baskets, which she made sometime in the 1700s. In 1956, the chapter was presented the basket by Austin L. Hardy and it was accepted on behalf of the chapter by his daughter, Mrs. Achsa L. French, who was the regent at the time. Hardy was given the basket by William Lockhart, whose grandmother obtained it from Susep sometime before 1800.

The basket is displayed in a glass-enclosed case in the Genealogy Room of the library.

Hiltz also told the group about the basket-making process, various sizes, materials used and designs, which were sometimes handed down in the family. She has found pictures of other baskets with designs much like Susep’s.

The “Friendly Workers” of the Fairbanks Union Church served a luncheon at noon.

Members attending were: Regent Marcia White, Jeanette Stevens, Amy Martin, Constance Hiltz, Sylvia Adams, Isabelle Foss, Julia Nouvertne, Joy Gilbank, Deborah Judkins, Loraine Norton, Elaine Wells, Theo Ross, Melanie Farmer, Nancy Flick and Joanne Page.

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 23, at the Old South Congregational Church, Main Street. The speaker for the program will be Dean Merchant, “Historic Preservation, What is It?” The chapter will also hold an awards ceremony for the Good Citizen candidates from surrounding schools.

The students to be honored are: Rebekah Dunham, Mt. Blue High School; Alana Knapp, Mt Abram High School; Emily Christensen, Rangeley Lakes Regional School; Jenny Freeman, Livermore Falls High School; Hillary Deane, Jay High School; Dakota Turnbull, Dirigo High School; and Hollie Theriault, Mountain Valley High School.

A potluck lunch will be served at noon to the students, their families, teachers and chapter members.

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