Home of the Battle of Ridgefield, town has its first Daughters of the American Revolution chapter

RIDGEFIELD — It's been six months since its festive launch in Ridgefield, and the Cannon Ridge Chapter National Daughters of the American Revolution has only just begun to scratch the surface of the town's rich history in connection to the American Revolution.

Ridgefield was the only town in Connecticut that had an inland battle during the American Revolution. Given that historical significance, Andrea Beebe, organizing chapter regent in Ridgefield, said it was time for the town to have its own DAR chapter, adding this year’s celebration of the 245th anniversary of the Battle of Ridgefield “really solidified the chapter’s start.” 

“We’re looking forward to our future here,” Beebe said. “It was the right time for the right moment to start a chapter here.”

Calling their chapter’s forming “very fortuitous,” Beebe said a number of DAR members were ready to form a local chapter in Ridgefield last summer. They had to recruit a minimum number of women who were willing to transfer from different DAR chapters to the newly formed chapter, as well as complete a "rather involved" application process before the group was recognized on Dec. 5. 

The chapter organized its official introduction in Ridgefield in a weekend affair held this past April at the Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center, where the group holds its monthly meetings. 

As a new chapter, Beebe said their focus is to introduce themselves to the town of Ridgefield, become anchored in the community and offer their services. The chapter has already gotten involved in town events like the annual Memorial Day parade and hosting events for the town, such last month’s celebration of Constitution Week, which Beebe said was Ridgefield's first time recognizing this celebration.

“What’s nice about Ridgefield and so exciting to bring a new chapter here is Ridgefield brings history alive,” Beebe said, “whether it’s an encampment, whether it’s the activities that take place in town, and we’re excited to be a part of it.”

What is the DAR?

On top of the 245th anniversary of the Battle of Ridgefield, this year marks the 132nd anniversary of the Daughters of the American Revolution’s founding.

Beebe said the DAR was founded by four women on Oct. 11, 1890 as a lineage society to honor the sacrifice and contributions of the United States’ founding. Since then, more than a million women have been part of the DAR and there are now more than 2,000 DAR chapters worldwide — not just in the continental United States but also overseas and in military bases, she said. 

Under the umbrella of the national DAR are three pillars — patriotism, historic preservation and education — from which stems much of the outreach, volunteerism and work conducted by the DAR.

Any women ages 18 and older, regardless of race, religion or ethnic background, who can prove a lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution is eligible for DAR membership. The key, Beebe said, is the documentation to prove the lineage. Champion said an applicant needs to provide their birth certificates and their parents’ birth certificates, adding the membership requirements loosen up once the applicant gets past their family’s first three generations.

However, Beebe explained a patriot doesn’t necessarily have to have fought on the frontlines. A person who sewed clothing for soldiers or supplied them with food, uniforms and other supplies could be considered a patriot as well.

“To be a patriot, you just have to have been on our side… supporting the Revolutionaries and taking a public stand in our effect,” said Sara Champion, registrar of the Cannon Ridge Chapter and president of the Keeler Tavern Museum & Historical Center.

To date, the Cannon Ridge Chapter has just under 30 members ranging from 20 to 90 years old. Beebe said the chapter frequently has mothers and daughters sign up at the same time. Notably, the chapter membership includes Champion, two veterans and Ridgefield Town Historian Kay Ables.

Beebee said the Cannon Ridge Chapter is known as a lantern chapter “which means that a chapter that we left sponsored us to become a new chapter.” In this case, the Cannon Ridge Chapter came from Drum Hill Chapter in Wilton. 

Anyone interested in contacting the Cannon Ridge Chapter NSDAR may reach the chapter at cannonridgensdar@gmail.com.

CORRECTION: An original version of this article incorrectly stated where the Drum Hill Chapter is located. It's in Wilton.