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Jean Espy Chapter, NSDAR

Fort Madison, Iowa

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Welcome to Jean Espy Chapter, NSDAR

The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR or DAR) is a non-profit, non-political, volunteer women's service organization. The Jean Espy Chapter, NSDAR, was organized November 14, 1901, and the charter was granted January 19, 1902. A number of years ago, the Keokuk Chapter, NSDAR, merged with the Jean Espy Chapter, NSDAR.

Our chapter was named for Jean Espy, who was a heroic great-grandmother of the American Revolutionary War period. She molded bullets, baked "corn-dodgers," and tended the wounded, while the young women handled the guns at McClure's Fort, in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. Jean Espy had twenty-one descendants serving in the war against England. This chapter has had five descendants of the Espy family as members.

Over the years, the members of the Jean Espy Chapter, NSDAR, have placed three markers to help preserve history:

gravesiteKalawequois marker

Grave of Kalawequois

Location: On the side of Mississippi River Road just off US Highway 61, about 1/3 mile north of Montrose in Lee County, Iowa.

History: Kalawequois was an Indian princess of the Sac and Fox tribe. Her grave is marked by a bronze inscribed plaque mounted on a granite boulder near a gated driveway. She died in 1837.


Lone Chimney Monument

Location: At Fort Madison, Iowa, at 4th Street and Avenue H.

History: Old Fort Madison was a military post, built in 1808, but had a life of only 10 years. In 1813, it was evacuated and burned by the garrison. In 1908, a Lone Chimney monument with a bronze tablet was erected on the site where the old fort stood. On September 24, 1988, it was rededicated, commemorating the 100th anniversary of Old Fort Madison.

The tablet reads:

Erected in 1908
By Jean Espy Chapter,
Daughters of American Revolution,
On Site of
Old Fort Madison
Evacuated and Burned
By Garrison, 1813.

USS Maine

U.S.S. Maine Memorial

Location: The memorial marker can be seen at the North Lee County Historical Museum, in the Old Santa Fe Depot Complex, 814 10th Street, Fort Madison, Iowa.

History: The U.S.S. Maine was an American battleship that was sunk while anchored in Havana Harbor, Cuba. In 1916, the Secretary of the Navy gave this plaque to honor the men who went down with the ship.The tablet is cast from metal recovered from the U.S.S. Maine.

The Keokuk Chapter, NSDAR, placed these markers:

Chief Keokuk

Chief Keokuk

A ten-foot and six inch high statue of Chief Keokuk stands on a twenty-foot tall pedestal in Rand Park, Keokuk, Iowa. The statue was designed by Miss Nellie Walker.

On one side of the statue, an excerpt from Keokuk's 1812 speech is inscribed: "I have heard with sorrow that you have determined to leave our village and cross the Mississippi, merely because you have been told that the Americans were coming in this direction. Would you leave our village, desert our homes and fly before an enemy approaches? Would you leave all, even the graves of our fathers, to the mercy of the enemy, without trying to defend them? Give me charge of your warriors and I will defend the village while you sleep." The bronze statue was unveiled on October 22, 1913.

On another side of the statue is the inscription: "To the memory of the pioneers who entered Iowa by Keokuk the gate city and either settling in our state or passing farther west travelled (sic) over the well-worn road known as the Mormon Trail."

USS Maine

U.S.S. Maine Memorial

The stone, located in Rand Park has two parts:
The plaque on top commemorates the loss of the battleship, U.S.S. Maine, in Havana Harbor. It reads: "In memoriam U.S.S. Maine destroyed in Havana Harbor February 18th 1898."

On the border, it reads: "This tablet is cast from metal recovered from the U.S.S. Maine."

The plaque below reads: "Presented by Keokuk Chapter D.A.R. June 14, 1916."

Gallard School
First School in Iowa

Location: In Galland, Iowa, a marker was dedicated at the site of the first schoolhouse in Iowa, on October 18, 1924.

The 10 x 12 foot building was built of hand split logs and mud was used to hold the building together. The school was used between 1830 and 1833.

The tablet reads: "This boulder marks the site of The First School House in Iowa, built in 1830 placed by Keokuk Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution."

Dragoon Trail marker

The Dragoon Trail

Location: In Montrose, Iowa, on Highway 61, the Keokuk Chapter, NSDAR, marked the Dragoon Trail in 1938.

History: On land purchased from Captain James White, the first Fort Des Moines was built in 1834. Three companies of the First U.S. Dragoons (an elite cavalry unit that kept the peace following the Black Hawk War) were assigned there until 1837 when they were reassigned to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

The plaque reads: "The Dragoon Trail blazed in 1835 by the 1st U.S. Dragoons under Colonel Stephen Kearney marked by the Iowa Daughters of the American Revolution 1938. Erected August 27, 1938."

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Last Updated 31 October 2023
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