The Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery (photo compliments of Leslie Kirk)
Peter Forney Chapter Motto Adopted in 1908:
"Let us comprehend our trust, and to the same keep faithful."
Peter Forney Chapter Theme:
"Living the present without procrastinating, look forward to the future with solutions, and respect the past with love."
Daughters of the American Revolution
Peter Forney Chapter, Montgomery, Alabama
~Celebrating 120 Years~
Historical Chapter Update 1898-2012
Amelia Forney Wyly organized Peter Forney Chapter in Montgomery on January 19, 1898. It was chartered May 24, 1898. Let us comprehend our trust, and to the same keep faithful was chosen the chapter's motto and the Bay the chapter's flower.
In 1894, Mrs. Wyly joined the Xavier Chapter DAR in Rome, Georgia. In May 1895 the NSDAR appointed Mrs. Wyly "Regent of the City of Montgomery." As the only DAR member in Montgomery, she was given the task of organizing a DAR chapter. Mrs. Wyly put the call in the Advertiser and sixteen ladies responded. Later, after the loss of her husband, she enlisted the aid of Mrs. Nevins of Rome, Georgia, a member of the NSDAR, to help with the organizing process. The original sixteen members were: Mrs. Gaston, Mrs. Bethea, Miss Mamie Bethea, Mrs. Taylor, Miss Janie Bell, Mrs. F.P. Glass, Mrs. Harvey Jones, Mrs. B.B. Smith, Miss Annie Williams, Mrs. Harris, Mrs. John Lewis Cobbs, Mrs. D.F. Lowe, Mrs. A.C. Wyly, Mrs. Sarah Wyly Billing, Mrs. Harris Gunter, and Mrs. Jane Bragg Smith.
At the suggestion of Mrs. Nevins, the chapter was named Peter Forney in honor of Mrs. Wyly's ancestor, General Peter Forney. Mrs. Wyly served as chapter regent for four years and was made an Honorary Life Regent.
The following information about Peter Forney came from Mrs. Annie Wyly Love, daughter of the first regent:
Peter Forney, second son of Jacob Forney, Sr., was born in Tyron, New Lincoln County, North Carolina in April 1756. He first entered the service June 1776 in Capt. James Johnston's Company and Col. William Graham's regiment.
In 1777, Forney volunteered as a Lieutenant in Capt. Reid's company for the purpose of quelling the Tories assembled near the South Carolina line. The detachment, commanded by Col. Charles McLean marched into South Carolina and pursued the Tories. Forney was frequently out in expeditions for the purpose of intimidating and keeping down the rising spirit of the Tories and arresting them whenever the good of the country seemed to require it.
Col Hampton and Lt. Col. Hambright appointed him a captain. The term of service for Forney's company expired shortly after his arrival at Charleston. Although the British were in considerable force in that city, he induced the greater part of his company to again volunteer until fresh troops, expected shortly, would come to their relief.
In the spring of 1780, Forney immediately after his return from Charleston, volunteered under Lt. Col. Hambright and went in pursuit of Col. Floyd, a Tory leader, in Fishing Creek, South Carolina. During the latter part of the year 1790, Forney, now a general, was almost always in service in different portions of the country.
After the close of the war, he became the owner of the "Big Iron Ore Bank," seven miles east of Lincolnton. Here, Forney permanently settled for life. His residence received the name "Mount Welcome." The poor and needy were beneficiaries of his bounty and the weary traveler was at all times made welcome and entertained beneath his hospitable roof.
General Forney was elected a member of the House of Commons from 1794 to 1798 and to the State Senate in 1801 and 1802. He also served as elector in the presidential campaign of Jefferson, Madison, Monroe and Jackson.
From a history of chapter, written by then regent, Mrs. E.R. Barnes in 1934, comes the following interesting excerpts that not only tell the story of Peter Forney Chapter's activities in its' early years, but often the state society. In the paper, it did mention that many of the early papers had been destroyed in a fire.
In 1910, the chapter made a donation of $10.00 that was sent to the state treasurer for the Natchez Trail Fund. That same year, the chapter purchased a cabinet that was placed in the Carnegie Library. The following valuables were placed in it for preservation:
1. Two scrap books
2. The trowel that Mrs. Wyly and Mrs. Bibb set out a tree at the capitol
3. Lafayette Brick
4. Brick from Bound Brook, New Jersey
5. Wood from Bound Brook, New Jersey
6. Carved pen staff from wood of pulpit of Grace Creek Church, SC
7. Music used at the first Alabama Convention at Montgomery "Alabama" & "Star Spangled Banner."
8. Miscellaneous papers.
That same year, Mrs. Ellis Burnett presented a valuable collection of relics. Among them a small piece of dress worn by a Miss Clements at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and several leaves from a Bible picked up by her great grandfather in Yorktown at the surrender of Cornwallis.
In 1913, the chapter contributed ten dollars to the Tomato Clubs of the State; eight dollars for one canning outfit; seventy dollars toward Liquidation Fund of Memorial Continental Hall; and paid two dollars for a Revolutionary Reader by Mrs. Foster, Georgia State Regent. Also that year, an Osage orange tree grown from seed placed in a vase used when the site of Continental Hall was taken into possession by the National Society, DAR. This little tree was sent to State Regent Mrs. J. Morgan Smith who sent it back to Peter Forney Chapter to be planted in a public park or place. On Flag Day, while Mrs. Glass gave the story of the tree, Mrs. Wyly and Mrs. M.D. Bibb, the two oldest of the charter members of Peter Forney, planted it handling the earth with a trowel decorated in the National colors. The tree was planted near the Confederate Monument on the Capital grounds.
In 1914, fifteen dollars was sent to the New Patriotic School which is to be located at Aldrich Alabama, near Birmingham.
In 1915, fifteen dollars was sent to the State DAR School, thirty dollars to Continental Hall and one dollar and twenty-five cents was contributed for one foot of ground adjoining the Continental Hall. A volume of Heitman's Historical Registrar of Continental Officers was presented to the Carnegie Library and a granite marker to commemorate the victory of Andrew Jackson in Elmore County where Fort Toulouse once stood was presented.
In 1917, the regent, Mrs. Holloway, reported at a called meeting there would be no yearbooks, that that money was needed for war relief work. Chapter members were called on to knit garments for the soldiers and to do many other works for the needs of the soldiers. Twenty-five dollars was pledged to buy wool to knit garments for the sailors on the "Alabama." An honor roll of all of the mothers of Peter Forney Chapter who had sons in the World War was made. Refreshments for the chapter meeting were dispensed with and the money was used as the chapter saw fit for War purposes.
In 1918, Miss Mattie Rives gave a silver tea set of her grand parents, to Continental Hall in the name of the Peter Forney Chapter.
In 1919, three hundred and ninety six books were collected. One hundred fifty eight of these were sent to the DAR school in Etowah County. Two hundred twenty-four were current fiction not suited for rural children, and were sent to the YMCA and fourteen sent to Salvation Army.
In 1920, five dollars was contributed to the Montgomery Flood sufferers. The chapter voted unanimously to apply the Amelia Forney Wyly Memorial Fund to our DAR school.
The following graves were marked over a period of years: Mrs. Anne Elmore Hearn, a Real Daughter (distinction of honor given to DAR members whose fathers were patriots in the Revolutionary War), was buried in the Lownesboro cemetery in 1921; Governor William Wyatt Bibb in 1924; and John Caffey, a Revolutionary soldier in 1926.
In 1926, one hundred and fifty dollars was paid for a Memorial Chair in the new auditorium in Continental Hall. The chair was in honor of Mrs. Charles A. Stakley, a charter member and chaplain of the National Society, DAR. Mrs. Stakley was transferred to Peter Forney Chapter on removal to Montgomery.
In 1928, the State Conference was entertained in Montgomery by Peter Forney Chapter and Francis Marion Chapter.
1929 saw many grave markings. The grave of Mrs. Amelia Forney Wyly, founder and first regent of Peter Forney Chapter was marked with one of the first official bronze markers. The grave is in Oakwood Cemetery, Montgomery. The graves of Mrs. Sarah Halls Bellinger and Mrs. Minnie Halls Taylor, daughters of Robert Halls, a Revolutionary soldier were marked with a bronze marker. These graves are in Oakwood Cemetery, Montgomery. Other graves marked three Revolutionary soldiers: Isaac Ross, John Archer Elmore, who was buried at the old homestead "Huntington" in Elmore County, and Dixon Hall, whose buried near the Municipal Airport about four miles from Montgomery. In 1930, Charles Hook, another Revolutionary soldier, had his Elmore County grave marked.
In 1931, a tree, in honor of the bicentennial anniversary of George Washington's birth, was planted on the ground of Sidney Lanier High School. A marker for this tree was placed on it.
In 1932, a roadside marker was presented and dedicated at Waugh, Alabama, near the site of Lucas Tavern where Lafayette spent the night en route to Montgomery, April 2, 1825. Five dollars was also sent to the National Librarian National Society, DAR to help defray the expense of indexing books in the National Library.
An official bronze marker was placed on the grave of Col. William Barnett, a Revolutionary soldier, which grave is in an old cemetery near Matthews Station, in 1933. That same year the chapter had a float to depict "The Spirit of '76'" in the NRA parade in this city. The chapter also adopted the policy of using the official "Lay Member Marker" in place of flowers on the graves of our deceased. Mrs. L.B. Whitfield was the first to receive the "Lay Member Marker" in place of flowers on the graves of our deceased. Mrs. L.B. Whitfield was the first to receive the Lay Member Marker. A George Washington Elm tree was dedicated on the Capital Grounds June 14,1933.
In 1934, the grave of Mrs. Pamela Wray Hopping, a daughter of a Revolutionary soldier was marked with an official bronze marker. This grave is in the cemetery in Letohatchie.
The 1934 history ends with: "Peter Forney Chapter through its existence has taken an active part in every philanthropic, patriotic and educational undertaking of our city and state. All patriotic days have been observed with appropriate exercises. The chapter has cooperated with both state and national society in every way."
In January 1998, the other three DAR chapters in Montgomery and a number of state DAR chapters plus the Alabama Society Daughters of the American Revolution Board celebrated the One hundredth Anniversary of the Peter Forney Chapter with a Tea at the Alabama Department of Archives and History.
From 1999 to 2010, the Peter Forney Chapter dedicated itself to promoting our American heritage through education: supporting Kate Duncan Smith School, sponsoring an annual Constitution poster contest for sixth graders in the Montgomery area, and an annual essay contest for grades 5 through 12. Members also enjoyed an ongoing program of speakers on historical topics that both educated and entertained.
The chapter demonstrated the ideals of the DAR by faithfully providing witnesses to quarterly naturalization ceremonies. Support was provided to the veterans by periodic visits to the local Veterans Administration Hospital with donation of personal items, earning the chapter a "Standard of Excellence Award" in 2002 and 2003.
There were several important events during the first decade of the century: on May 9, 2001, the Peter Forney Chapter sent two representatives to the grave marking ceremony of Warren Henley Stone by the Anne Phillips Chapter of the DAR. The grave of Dixon Hall was re-marked in a joint effort by the Montgomery SAR and DAR chapters on October 15, 2006. A number of his descendents were present along with several additional historical and military organizations. September 20, 2009 saw the marking of the grave of Obadiah Moore at Moore Family Cemetery in Chilton County in conjunction with the SAR. Many descendents were in attendance among the 75 participants. On October 4, 2009, the chapter joined with the Daughters of the Confederacy to mark the grave of former member Rose Neville. Also, the Peter Forney Chapter participated in the dedication of a new Liberty Tree Elm in Old Alabama Town on February 25, 2010.
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