*Portrait of Lucretia Harris Shaw, courtesy of The New London County Historical Society.
The first meeting was called by Isabel Norton Chappell, a member of the National Society, held at her home, 11 Channing Street, New London, Connecticut, on Columbus Day, October 21, 1892. Mrs. Chappell had previously been appointed regent of the new chapter by the State Regent Mrs. De B. Randolph Keim, this being the first chapter in Connecticut organized under Mrs. Keim's direction. The only one earlier, that of the "James Wadsworth" Chapter, NSDAR, of Middletown, Connecticut, was formed independently previous to this time and before the state regent assumed office.
At the first meeting, the rooms were decorated in a generous display of red, white, and blue, and tea was served to the original eighteen members on a table once owned by Esther Chapman, great-great-great-grandmother of one of the chapter members, and wife of Lieutenant Richard Chapman, who lost his life at the Battle of Groton Heights.
State Regent Mrs. Keim, in her address to the Second Continental Congress of the National Society in Washington, D. C., on February 2, 1893, stated:
"In New London, the City in which the Traitor Benedict Arnold dined on that memorable September 6, 1781, and from the hills of which he watched the burning of the beautiful homes of massacred Groton and New London patriots, I organized on October 21, 1892, with the aid of its able Regent, Mrs. W. Saltonstall Chappell, the second Chapter in this State. They chose the name of Lucretia Harris Shaw, that they might honor a noble woman who died caring for the stricken prisoners returning from the Wallabout Bay prison ships of the British."
At the end of its first year, the Lucretia Shaw Chapter, NSDAR, had grown to thirty-six members and was well on its way to a century of community service in honor of America's Revolutionary War Patriots.
An Early Contribution
One early chapter contribution involved the creation of a "Liberty Bell," which was displayed at the Chicago Exposition. The chapter also sent various ancient coins and other relics which were melted down with thousands of other similar contributions to create the bell. Standing seven feet high, and weighing over 13,000 pounds, the bell was tolled on the anniversaries of the great historic events relating to the growth of Liberty.