Founding Members of Freelove Baldwin Stow Chapter DAR
Mary Hepburn Smith Founder and First Regent
"The Freelove Baldwin Stow Chapter DAR of Milford was organized by Mrs. Mary Hepburn Smith of Milford and Washington, D.C. during the spring of 1896. The first meeting was held June 17, 1896 on the anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill. Mrs. Smith became the first Regent and served until 1913. However, in 1901 she resigned to become Vice President General of the National Society, in which capacity she served until 1904. Upon her return to Milford, she was again elected Regent and continued to serve until 1913.
"The Freelove Baldwin Stow Chapter DAR was named for the wife of Stephen Stow, who in 1777 voluntarily left his wife and family to care for and relieve the suffering of the men who had been released from a British prison ship on the shores of the town, under a flag of truce. Of the 177 men released, more than half were suffering from smallpox, Stephen Stow contracted the disease and died. He was buried with the soldiers who had given their lives so that this nation might live.
"Mrs. Smith was instrumental in establishing the first chapter house, and on June 17, 1907, her 82nd birthday, the corner stone was laid. Members contributed china, silver, linen, and furniture. In 1953, plans for a new building were developed. The land chosen had historic significance. It was the original land grant in 1639 to Peter Prudden, who was a preacher and leader of the First Church of Christ. In Peter Prudden's time, the land was part of his garden and became a burial ground. He was buried there in 1656.
"The new building is 56 ft. by 40 ft. and is a one-story, red brick building of colonial design. The 1907 corner stone from the first building can be seen under the bay window of the new building. The house has been enjoyed by it's members through the years as they worked to carry out the Objects of the Society, its programs of scholarship and community involvement."
- Kathryn K. Newton, Regent 1986-1989
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