HISTORY OF OUR CHAPTER

Colonel James Smith-Yorktown, NSDAR
Organized: 1937 and 1894; Merged 2010

The Colonel James Smith-Yorktown Chapter, NSDAR, was formally merged in 2010 from two individual chapters into one chapter in York, Pennsylvania. Honoring the history of the Colonel James Smith, NSDAR, and Yorktown Chapter, NSDAR, a joint name was used. Each chapter has a long-standing history in the preservation of history, education, patriotism, and service to others. Many of the activities and involvement in the local community date back throughout the history of the chapters and are present in the York County area.

The Yorktown Chapter, NSDAR, was organized on October 13, 1894. The first meeting was held with 13 charter members having lineage to an American Revolutionary War Patriot. The organizing chapter regent was Louisa Dawson Black (b. 1866, d. 1901). One of the newly organized chapter's projects was to create a memorial tablet to Colonel Thomas Hartley. The tablet was placed on November 19, 1896, at St. John's Episcopal Church, York, Pennsylvania. The chapter was named after York, also known as Yorktown in the mid 18th to early 19th centuries, was founded in 1741 by settlers from the Philadelphia region, and named for the English city of the same name.

The Colonel James Smith Chapter, NSDAR, was organized on February 1, 1937, with 29 charter members attending the first meeting. The organizing regent was Edna Chalfaut. The first project the chapter identified was the need for a picture of the chapter's namesake to be donated to NSDAR. Chapter members honored Colonel James Smith as a local citizen and signer of the Declaration of Independence. On May 7, 1938, a memorial was held at the grave of Colonel James Smith. A memorial service is an annual event and eventually, the public reading of the Declaration of Independence was added and the date changed to July Fourth.

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