The Rhode Island State Visit

Written by: Jacquelyn Smith, Rhode Island State Regent
December 4, 2018

With the threat of rain and wind on the east coast, I was surprised to see clear skies and a blue ocean as the plane descended to Providence, Rhode Island for my visit to this beautiful state. I was struck by its vast 400 miles of coastline as we descended along the Narragansett Bay. However, the clear weather did not last long as the next morning ushered in a “Nor’easter.” According to the Daughters, it wasn’t much of one, but enough to convince me to stay in Colorado. This was a fun visit full of laughter, excitement, purpose and potential.

- President General Ann Dillon


The Rhode Island Daughters and I were honored to host President General Ann Turner Dillon at the annual Fall Meeting. Friday, October 26, 2018 unofficially kicked off the Fall Meeting with a dinner in Mrs. Dillon’s honor. All members and their guests were invited to attend the cocktail hour and dinner at the historic Dunes Club in Narragansett, RI; located on the Atlantic Ocean. The evening was full of heartwarming and humorous stories of members’ connections and memories from over the years with the Dunes Club.

The Fall State Meeting convened at the Shriners Club Imperial Room in historic Pawtuxet Village, RI which was part of the location where the burning of the Gaspee occured, which is considered to be the first aggressive act on the Patriots side of the American Revolution. On that Saturday morning, guests enjoyed tea and coffee and a room with committee and chapter tables. A record number of committees had their own tables! One important addition was Deirdre Lee’s New Horizons Capstone Project celebrating Women’s Suffrage and raising money to support easier access to voting for those serving overseas.

Rhode Island was so grateful to have 22 pages from six different states on hand to help out; Certainly a record number for Rhode Island. One page, Alyssa True, served as the official meeting photographer. The meeting would not have been nearly as successful without all of their hard work and our RIDAR members were all so thankful for the extra help! 

The processional was led by historical regiments, The Varnum Continentals and the Pawtuxet Rangers. Special guests represented several other genealogical and historic preservation societies, including the SAR, CAR, SR, Colonial Wars, and Mayflower. There is a strong bond between the Rhode Island DAR and other Rhode Island organizations!

The State Regent’s Project is “Anchoring the Future of RIDAR with Friendship & Service.” In honor of the project, The state Junior Membership Committee hosted a Rhode Island version of “pin bingo” which brought members together to meet new people with a purpose. The winner received a Kangaroo stuffed animal (in honor of the Helen Pouch Memorial Fund) and compass pin.

“The Liberty Strings” Dulcimer Players, made up of members from the Pawtucket Chapter and Beacon Pole Hill Chapters, delighted the audience with Colonial and patriotic music. The Children of the American Revolution accompanied the players with colonial limberjacks. After playing through the first and second songs, the C.A.R. members gave up their seats to Rachael Lipsetts from the Development office, President General Ann Dillon and myself and gave us each a quick tutorial of how to play the limberjacks while the dulcimers played. Turns out, Mrs. Dillon was a natural!

Rhode Island presented a huge stack of certificates that surprised the audience. It was wonderful to celebrate their achievements. All recipients got to have their photo taken with their certificate and President General Ann Dillon! Those in attendance also got to watch the state’s third graduation ceremony for New Horizons. It’s no secret that the program has been generating a lot of enthusiasm and energy into the small state!

Rhode Island proudly presented the prestigious Daughters of the American Revolution “Women in History Medal” to Erna Schoen. Mrs. Schoen enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserves (WAVES) on March 18, 1943 and she was immediately called to active duty. She was stationed at the Naval Communications Annex in Washington, DC as a Communications Specialist in Cryptography.  There, she, and 4,000 other women spent the duration of the war working to decode the most secret messages of the Japanese and German governments. She is also one of the newest members of Phebe Greene Ward Chapter. Her great granddaughter is an active C.A.R member.

Rhode Island used voices to raise money for an additional gift to the President’s General’s fund. Member, Cindy Capizzano hand wove a beautiful basket and donated it for the drawing. Other donations were two popular Rhode Island scarves from the State Society. Host chapter, General Nathanael Greene-Pettaquamscutt wowed members with two generous baskets. One basket included dozens of donations with NSDAR related gifts and another with almost $300 worth of gift cards! The first winner ran to the NSDAR basket! Rhode Island’s enthusiasm as part of the National Society is ever present!

After the meeting, Mrs. Dillon enjoyed a tour of the Historic Varnum House in East Greenwich, Rhode Island.  House docents were on hand and dressed in colonial dress to give her the history of the house, and even had a C.A.R. member led the tour of the children's room.

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