Bemis Heights Society, NSCAR

History

The History of

Bemis Heights Society

1896-1938

 

 

The Bemis Heights Society, of the National Society Children of the American Revolution was organized June 6, 1896 by Jeannie Monteith Wilson Lathrop, (Mrs. George Perkins Lawton) it was issued charter #7. It was sponsored by Saratoga Chapter, NSDAR of Saratoga Springs.

 

On May 12, 1896 Jeannie Lathrop Lawton, a member of Saratoga Chapter, Daughters of American Revolution was appointed Organizing President of Society of the Children of the American Revolution. On June 6, 1896 the Bemis Heights Society was formed with 16 charter members, Mrs. Lawton served as President until 1901, and then as an Honorary President for Life. The Society was organized at “Pine Grove” on North Broadway  at one of the oldest residences in the city, for years the home of Mrs. Ellen Hardin

Walworth, one of the three Founders of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.

 

The Founders of the Children’s Society were the late: Mrs. Walworth and the late Mrs. Lawton, Mrs. Daniel Lothrop Founder of our National Society, Children of the American Revolution, and its National President was present and inducted Mrs. Lawton into office.

 

Besides Mrs. Lothrop, other distinguished guests included Bishop Newman, State Promoter, Mrs. James r. McKee, National Treasurer, Mrs Mary Lockwood, General Horace Porter, and Mrs. Robedeau Buchanan, First Vice President General of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

 

The Society selected its name from the Battle of Bemis Heights, as the First Battle of Saratoga was called which took place on Freeman’s Farm at Bemis Heights, September 19, 1777, which led up to the action of October seventh. Those men who were unyielding center of the line at Bemis Heights, charged with Arnold on the left, and saved their country and its fee institutions to the world.

 

It was recorded in 1897 that two of the first Officers were: President, Mrs. Jeannie Lathrop Lawton, and Secretary, Alice L Church.

 

The First Public meeting of the Bemis Heights Society was at the Grand Rally at Saratoga, July 6, 1896 in connection with the celebration of the 120th Anniversary of Independence Day by the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution, the first, being in Boston, MA, July 4, 1895 at the Old South Meeting House; the second at; Washington, DC, February 22, 1896.

 

Shortly after ten o’clock, a band of children costumed in white and carrying flags marched into the hall and up to the platform, where they sang, “Yankee Doodle”, accompanied by Professor Kelsey on the piano. Following the song, prayer was offered by Rev. Dr. Durant, the Salute to the Flag was given, and the “Star Spangled Banner” was sung by the children, at the close of which Mrs. George P Lawton, Society President, of the Bemis Heights Society made an address of welcome, introducing Mrs. Daniel Lothrop of Concord, MA. Mrs. Lawton said, “Here in our beautiful Saratoga with its historic associations, we feel the impulse to greater efforts in behalf of our country. What could be more fitting than this assemblage of Children of HEROES in the historic ground of Saratoga, where the first great victory was won secured the independence we now celebrate.”

 

Bemis Heights Society has contributed much to the history and patriotic record of the community. It had brillant floats in the floral parades, notable among them the Ship of State, representing the Society, September 1, 1896 in one of the most elborate parades of that never-to-be-forgotten era. The was No. 1 and drawn by eight oxen.

 

In 1896 the society establishe a prize of $5.0- for the paper in an examation in American History, and had continued this custom for 50 years. The 1909 report of Frank Bond, National vice-president, pointed out that "the Superintendent of Schools in Saratoga Springs had stated that where who reasche a standing of 80% formerly there was scarcely one cent in that study, by the year 1908, this condition had so changed that three-fourths of those taking the examination in American History stood 90% of above."

 

The year of Spanish American War, 1898 was a gala year in Children of American Revolution Activity, Bemis Heights Society raising $300 whuich was contributed to the Spanish War Veterans. The society sent one thousand pieces of fruit to Miss Reubena Hyde Walworth made the supreme sacrifice in that war dying of the fever contracted while tending patients in the contagious wards.

 

Mrs. Lawton, the President was a delegate to the National Convention of the C.A.R. in Washington when the National Society for its war work. Sixty two members were entitled to receive recognition certificates of patriotic work or services to the Army or Navy.

 

When the sixth annual state conference of the Daughres of the American Revolution convened in this city June 20, and 21st 1901 the late Mrs. Frederic Menges then president of C.A.R represened it at a reception given by Mr and Mrs. Julius Carryl, enthusiastic son and daughter of the American Revolution, in their home, the historic Jumel Mansion on Circular Street.

 

Mrs. Menges presented Mrs. Carryl with a sliver belt buckle its design, the seal of the United States surrrounded by a band of blue enamel, studded with silver stars. Engraved upon the back were the words, "Presented by Bemis Heights Society, Children of the American Revolution to Mr. and Mrs. Julius H Carryl with loving greetings, June 21, 1901."

 

Mrs. Eliza Jumel Carryl was honorary member Bemis Heights and appointed State C.A.R. promoter, 1908. She died in 1915.

 

When the society met on August 7, 1902, for its sixth birthday party at the home of its president Mrs. Menges, Mrs. William Cummings Story, later President Gneral of the Daughter of the American Revolution, was a speaker.

 

At a meeting of the society Feb 14, 1903 with Mrs. George F Comstock hostess at her Nort Broadway home, Mrs. Carryle niece of the beatiful Madame Jumel gave an attractive sile banner to the society.

 

In 1913 during the presidency of Mrs. Arthur L Stiles (then Mrs. Frank a Cook) the banner was presented to Memorial Continental Hall in Washington DC where it is still on exhibit in the Children of American Revolution room as the emblem of the second society prganized by Mrs. Lothrop. It is an exquisite banner wrought by the late Miss Estelle Wetsel of this city on a background of rich blue.

 

The society's history has been rich in tributes to men and women who have achieved great deeds. July 4, 1905 a Quincy granite boulder 7 feet high and 2 1/2 fee wide, rough finished, weighing 4,000 poinds was unveiled at High Rock Spring, after two years labor by the children. Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution joined with the children in this patriotic celebration.

 

On its face the bronze tablet reads:

"Saratoga First Resort

For Travelers

Called by the Mohawk Indians

"The medicine Spring of the

Great Spirit"

Now known as

The High Rock Spring

The first white man to visit this

Spring was Sir William Johnson

in 1767.

General Geroge Washington

Governor George Clinton

and Alexander Hamilton

Visited General Philip Schuyler

Here in 1783.

In 1824 Joseph Bonaparte

Visited here.

Erected by Bemis Heights Society

Children of the American

Revolution, July 4, 1905.

 

Miss Dorothy Ford Mayhew now librarian at Harvard University niece of Mrs. George S Andrews unveiled the tablet.