I traveled from Wisconsin to Minneapolis on Saturday, April 30 for the 121st Minnesota State Conference, Rachel Sanisidro, State Regent. I was greeted at the airport by Diane Cone, Vice President General, and my page, Valerie Stachour. Tom Yarbrough, husband of Honorary State Regent Lynne Yarbrough, drove us past the Mall of America to the conference hotel. I may or may not have commented that it was unfair to point out the largest mall in America and not have time for a shopping trip…
Rachel has chosen a very compelling State Regent’s Project. The first emphasis is on domestic violence. She has encouraged chapters to become informed about domestic violence and involved in local shelters. The second portion of her project is to digitize the historical records of the Minnesota Society. Faye Leach, State Vice Regent, gave me a lovely book on the historical markers placed by the Minnesota Society.
The Minnesota Daughters were responsible for saving the Sibley House. It was built in Mendota in 1836 by Henry H. Sibley, an early fur trader who became the first governor of the state. It was donated to the St. Paul Chapter DAR in 1910 which then donated it to the State Society. For many years the Minnesota Daughters restored the oldest building in the state which became the first official historic site. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it was turned over to the Minnesota Historical Society in 2004.
The Minnesota Society has 1100 members in 23 chapters. State Officer, State Chair and Chapter Regent reports were presented the day prior to my arrival. I arrived in time for the Youth Awards Luncheon which recognized the American History Essay Contest Winners, the Christopher Columbus Essay Winner and the DAR Good Citizen Winner.
Following lunch, I held a Question and Answer session. The questions were submitted to the State Recording Secretary, Glenda Meixell, in advance and were fairly easy. Most were personal, such as why I joined, previous positions held in my chapter and what interesting experiences I’ve had as President General. When asked if we could offer the GEP classes at free or reduced prices, I explained we still pay enormous licensing fees annually. We had a lively discussion of DNA as a form of supporting documentation and I encouraged the ladies to consider joining the new DAR group on Family Tree DNA. For more information: http://youngblog.dar.org/dar-expanding-its-work-dna-genealogical-research
The tea for Founders Club and Heritage Club members followed which allowed an opportunity to discuss the different needs at the National level and answer questions. Diane presented a gift of $1,000 for the Guardian Trust Campaign from the State Officers Club.
Valerie and I had a few minutes to visit the room in which dozens of baskets of homemade items were compiled by chapters for a silent auction. One-half of the proceeds from the auction will help pay travel expenses for Minnesota’s national winners and the other half will help fund the restoration of the many DAR markers in the state. I was fortunate enough to win several hand sewn doll outfits which my granddaughter, Campbell will love.
During the conference, Paul Stachour, husband of Honorary State Regent Fran Stachour and father of Valerie, organized an Event for Men and Families which included a 3 mile walk at Bloomington Park and visits to the Transportation Museum and the Baaken Electric Museum.
The Banquet was held that evening and each of the Honorary State Regents served as a table hostess. The centerpieces were lovely ribbon balls. Following my speech on the Guardian Trust Campaign, Rachel presented me with a check to the President General’s Project and a charm. She also gave me a most unique gift, a wooden tray which opens to become a bowl. It was a pleasure to present certificates to the 24 chapters which had achieved 100% participation in the President General’s Project.
Conference guest Genora Canon, State Regent of New Mexico, and I both had an opportunity to bring greetings to the conference. The Children of the American Revolution had recently been reactivated and now have youth involved in 3 Societies. The DAR Youth Citizenship Award was given to Lauren Loeffler, past State President of C.A.R.
Rachel directed the Chorus which performed several songs including “Our Western Land” written by DAR Founder Ellen Hardin Walworth. The last selection was “America” and Rachel invited us all to join in song as the Chorus returned to their seats.
We were visited by Ann Essling from the Anoka Chapter who portrayed the first Chapter Regent, Eliza Newport of the St. Paul Chapter. Eliza said that she was happy to see all DAR had accomplished but shocked to see exposed ankles…
The final events of the conference were the Memorial Service and Roundtables held for the Regent, Treasurers and Registrars. The Daughters were also placing a wreath at the grave of Real Daughter Frances Elizabeth Danforth Burr King Goodrich, whose father, Joshua Danforth, who served as a Lieutenant and Paymaster in Massachusetts.
A cold front had arrived early Sunday morning and as Diane and Valerie drove me to the airport, the temperature was 40 degrees cooler than in my home state. I learned that the slogan of the Land of 10,000 Lakes is a bit modest as it has almost 12,000 lakes over 10 acres in size. Doesn’t it sound like a lovely place to be in the summer? It was my first visit to Minnesota and I certainly hope to return.