Historian General Introduction

Written by: Laura Kessler, Historian General
August 22, 2019

As we Rise and Shine for America, I am honored and thrilled to serve the VanBuren Administration as an Executive Officer of our National Society.

Ever since I can remember, I have always enjoyed hearing the stories of others. Growing up in a small New England town where my paternal grandparents lived, family gatherings always included stories, photos, artifacts and time for questions. As a young girl I began cultivating an interest in my family and history.

Graduating with a BFA from Ithaca College, I blended my love of history and fine arts by becoming a historical interpreter for Colonial Williamsburg. A move to the Virginia/Washington DC metro area with my husband Jeffrey, and a chance meeting with a very friendly docent from the DAR Museum, resulted in my joining the Bill of Rights Chapter, Virginia, as a Junior member in 1988. The ladies in my chapter were very friendly and encouraging! I began paging in 1989 at both the Virginia State Conference and at Continental Congress, where I made life-long friends. A move back to my native state of New Hampshire in 1989, found me transferring my DAR membership to the Reprisal Chapter, which my great-grandmother was a charter member of, in 1896. Reprisal’s 100th birthday was celebrated in 1996 when I was serving as chapter regent; what a thrill that was! Today I am so fortunate that both my mother and my daughter have taken an active part in my DAR chapter; what a joy it is to share my love of God, home and country with them!

My DAR service has included serving as Vice President General, Class of 2017; as well as New Hampshire State Chaplain, Vice Regent and State Regent. In 1996 I was honored to be recognized as the New Hampshire and Northeastern Division Outstanding Junior Member. On the National level I have especially enjoyed working with Daughters and chapters, when I served as the national chair of the: DAR Scholarship Committee, the American History Committee, the Americanism Committee and the DAR Good Citizens Committee. Our members never cease to amaze me with the work that they are doing in their communities.

Professionally, with a drive to deepen my knowledge, I earned a Masters of Education degree at Notre Dame College; and for the past twenty-nine years, I have been a teacher of grades 5 – 8, primarily focusing on the teaching of American history, geography and language arts, to middle school students. Among the recognition awards that I have received are the: Distinguished Teaching Achievement Award by the National Council for Geographic Education (2012); the New Hampshire Social Studies Teacher of the Year (2001) and the New Hampshire Governor’s Citation for Excellence in Teaching (2001). I bring my love and knowledge of history and education to this position and am excited about working with you, your chapters and the National Society as we Rise and Shine for America and for the DAR!

Harkening back to my patriot ancestor John McCrillis, I am an 8th generation resident of New Hampshire on my father’s side, living in the same town that my ancestors helped to settle in the 1760’s. I have been involved in many committees in the community, including the historical society, opera house and the heritage commission. My husband and I have two children, who were both involved in the C.A.R. Katharine is now a DAR member, who enjoys paging at both NH state functions and at Continental Congress; she is a RN. Philip, a recent college graduate, will begin a job this fall with a technology company. As many of you can attest to, in order to do the things that we love and have a passion for, we need to have the support of our families. I have been blessed throughout the years with a family that has supported my love of country and the involvement in this Society that I hold so dear, the NSDAR.

As we join together across this great country of ours and throughout the Units Overseas chapters, I am excited about the upcoming three years as we Rise and Shine for America, through: community service, promoting the ideals of our National Society, increasing membership and honoring and celebrating our patriots!


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