, 2022-08-18 17:07:50,
ROCHELLE — Before getting involved with the Rochelle Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the name William Porter didn’t mean anything to Laurie Perry.
Perry is the DAR chapter’s regent. A requirement of joining DAR is being able to trace your ancestry to a patriot of the American Revolution. Porter was a private and a volunteer soldier and served in the militia in his community before enlisting in the continental army for a year and getting directly involved in the Revolutionary War. Porter is Perry’s seventh great grandfather. She has two other patriots in her lineage as well.
Porter’s name is one of 80-90 that adorn the DAR Patriot Tree. The tree features names of patriots of each of the 85 active members of the Rochelle DAR. In recent months, the tree has been housed by organizations in town spreading awareness as the DAR prepares to celebrate America’s 250th birthday on July 4, 2026. The tree is currently on display at the Flagg Township Museum.
“The focus for us is recognizing our patriots,” DAR America 250 Chairman Becky Danner said. “Recognizing and marking and honoring the patriots that gave us this 250th birthday coming up. It found a home at the VFW over Memorial Day and then it went to city hall over the 4th of July and it’s here for the month of August and will go over to the library for constitution week and the month of September. I wanted it here at the museum during the heritage festival. We want it to be a traveling display.”
Danner joined DAR through a distant cousin and patriot that she had a direct lineage to. When she joined, Perry went through her information and went back to Danner with a list of more possible patriots.
Perry and other DAR members undertake “significant” research projects to collect all the evidence needed to trace lineage back to patriots.
“I think most people would be surprised at the connection our members build with their patriot ancestors,” Perry said. “Our membership embraces that relationship with them and they’re 9-12 generations from us. But we have such heartfelt respect for what these men and women did to help America become America.”
DAR Member Lydia Roberts can trace her lineage to eight patriots. She initially joined the DAR through her paternal grandmother, who joined DAR in 1902. The organization was founded in 1890.
“At that time, it was only two generations from the patriots,” Roberts said. “Now we’re so many generations away…
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