John Crawford Chapter – DAR – Centennial History

Dr. Aileen Betteys Corbit was the driving force behind the organization of the John Crawford Chapter.

Aileen was born in October 1877 in Oxford, Michigan.  Sometime about 1901 she married Robert M. Corbit and they shortly thereafter moved to Iowa.  It is believed that while living in Iowa, Aileen joined the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).  When she returned to Michigan, she was considered an “at-large” DAR member, which means she was not associated with any chapter. On February 5, 1918, Aileen held a meeting to begin to organize a local DAR chapter.  Over the next ten months, a total of twenty women applied and were accepted by the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).  On December 23, 1918, this group of women was awarded a local chapter of the DAR.  Since six or seven (depending on the source) of these women had the same ancestor, John Crawford, it was decided to name the chapter after him.

One of the chapter’s first projects was to establish a “Good Citizenship” award, which was to be given yearly to a senior girl in the schools in Oxford, Romeo, Troy, Dryden, and Almont.  Today they present the award to students from Oxford, Dryden, Almont, Imlay City and Lake Orion.

In 1928, the chapter placed a bronze maker on the birthplace of the first white children born in Oakland County.  The marker is on a stone located on the north side of Orion Road just west of the intersection of Orion and Adams Roads.  It commemorates the birth of Lafayette and Angenette Dewey.

Beriah Howard’s Dedication Plaque

In 1941, the chapter marked and dedicated the grave of a Revolutionary patriot, Richard Jersey (1759-February 10, 1831).  Richard is buried in the Washington Center Cemetery in Washington, Macomb County Michigan.  They also dedicated the grave of Levi Collins in the McCafferty Cemetery in Romeo (date unknown).

In 1942, the John Crawford chapter placed a marker on the lawn of the Lakeville United Methodist Church as one of Oakland County’s oldest churches.

Beginning in 1948, the Michigan DAR gave 100 acres of Memorial Pines to the state.  At intervals of 2 or 3 years, additional plantings were made.  By 1963 a total of 660 acres of the tiny red pines had been donated.  The John Crawford Chapter participated in these efforts.

The Chapter placed a marker on the lawn of the Oxford Township Library in November 1954.  This was to commemorate the Territorial Road that went through Oxford from Rochester and then on to Lapeer and the first Post Office, which was along that road.  When the library moved into new quarters on West Burdick Street, the marker was moved across the road to the intersection of Mechanic and Washington Streets.  The John Crawford Chapter assisted the Michigan D.A.R. in building the Seeing Eye Dog hospital in Rochester and the National Society D.A.R. in building the Bell Tower at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

In more recent years, the chapter has worked with the Orchard Primary School in Almont on the “ABC Caps Project”, which collects plastic bottle caps and the school receives “park benches” for the playground.  Around Memorial Day, the John Crawford Chapter joins with the American Legion and Veterans of the Vietnam War in conducting a “flag retirement” ceremony.  Lunch is provided.  At Christmas, they, along with the Lapeer Area Citizens Against Domestic Assault, collected donations for wreaths, which were placed on the graves of Revolutionary War patriots.  To assist those wishing to establish their heritage, the John Crawford Chapter has hosted several genealogy workshops.  In July 2017, they provided cookies and information to visitors to the “Movable Vietnam War Memorial Wall”. The chapter was originally based in Oxford/Lake Orion.  In 2010, the chapter moved to Dryden and then in 2015 it moved to Almont.

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