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Lawrence Van Hook Chapter, NSDAR
Maquoketa, Iowa

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Welcome to Lawrence Van Hook Chapter, NSDAR

stoneVan Hook
grave marker

The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR or DAR) is a non-profit, non-political, volunteer women's service organization.

The Lawrence Van Hook Chapter is named for Revolutionary War officer Captain James “Lawrence” Van Hook, who is buried in Jackson County’s Andrew Cemetery in Andrew, Iowa. Van Hook was the first known Revolutionary War Patriot buried in Jackson County (since then, three Patriots' graves have been found and marked).

On November 1, 1969, fifteen women met with the goal of organizing a DAR chapter in Maquoketa, Iowa. The ladies were advised to pick three names for their new chapter. Their first three choices were 1) Lawrence Van Hook, 2) Bear Creek, 3) Jackson County. With the exception of Lucy Sunleaf and Marjorie Clemens, all of the members were new to DAR, and sent in applications which were verified and approved between Fall 1969 - Spring 1970.

Lawrence Van Hook Chapter, was chartered on April 18, 1970 and held its first meeting as an organized chapter on May 23, 1970. Over the years, membership numbers have waxed and waned. For most of its existence, membership has been less than 20 women. After more aggressive membership recruiting, as well as through the addition of members from the disbanded Clinton Chapter (1998) and Julien Dubuque Chapter (Oct 2018), our members now number in the mid-30s.

Charter Members
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organizing meeting
organizing meeting2

Charter Members

Cordelia “Pearl” Clark Earles (d. June 27, 1974)
Dorothy Blake (d. January 24, 1978)
Eleanor Woods (d. March 30, 1986)
Alene Easterly (d. October 26, 1986)
Bertha Nims (d. September 16, 1989)
Laura “Mildred” Nims (d. January 12, 1991)
Weotha Hinz (d. October 4, 1996)
Myrtle Saunders Watters (d. February 15, 2005)
Lucille Remley Sunleaf (d. September 5, 2010)
Norma Zirbel DeHoet (d. January 1, 2013)
Wilma “Peg” Saunders Harder (d. January 22, 2015)
Mary “Helen” Merriam Stewart (d. February 5, 2020)
Majorie Saunders Clemens (d. July 23, 2021)
Anne Merriam Wischmeier (d. March 13, 2023)

James Lawrence Van Hook 1755-1854

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LVH plaque dedication
DAR plaque

Captain James “Lawrence” Van Hook was born in 1755 in Freehold, New Jersey. Van Hook joined the New Jersey Militia and was named a First Lieutenant after serving for only 9 days. He was promoted to Captain while serving in the 1st Battalion of the New Jersey Militia.

He married Elizabeth Reeves around 1796 and they had 17 children. Eleven years after Elizabeth’s death, he married Judith Julia Grace. They had seven children. After the war, Van Hook practiced medicine in New Jersey. In 1845 the State of New Jersey awarded Van Hook a pension of $50.00 to be paid split between two payments a year. In 1848, Van Hook moved to New Diggings, Wisconsin. In 1850, the family moved to rural Andrew in Jackson County, Iowa. He died in 1854.

A marker was placed on Captain Van Hook's grave by the [disbanded] Addie Merrill Lee Chapter in 1960; that marker went missing. A new marker was dedicated on October 21, 2023 by the Lawrence Van Hook Chapter, NSDAR.

Jackson County Courthouse, 1848 - 1861

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Old Courthouse
DAR plaque

From 1835-1873 Andrew and Bellevue, two towns in Jackson County, had on ongoing dispute as to where the county seat should be located. The courthouse moved between the two towns several times until finally settling in Maquoketa, Iowa, where the county seat remains today.

The two-story, brick, Greek Revival structure was built in 1845 by Dohaney and Jones. Originally a belfry tower existed near the east end of the building; it was removed in 1955. In its early years, this building served as not only the courthouse, but also the town hall, public school, and Masonic Lodge. In 1861, the county seat returned to Andrew and the old courthouse became the permanent site of the Bellevue Public School. Today, it is the oldest operating school in the state.

The site was marked by the Lawrence Van Hook Chapter, NSDAR on April 27, 1979. It will be rededicated on May 18, 2024.

The building is located in Bellevue, Jackson County, Iowa. The DAR marker is on the front of the Elementary School building on the corner of State and Third Street.

LaMotte Railroad Depot, 1911-1936

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LaMotte depot
DAR plaque

In 2016, the Lawrence Van Hook Chapter, NSDAR, applied for an NSDAR Special Projects Grant to benefit the Jackson County Iowa Historical Society. The NSDAR awarded a $10,000 grant for the historic preservation of the narrow gauge railroad depot from LaMotte, Iowa. The depot was moved by flatbed truck to the grounds of the Jackson County Historical Society in Maquoketa, Iowa. The depot was in service from 1911 to 1936, for the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad, a branch line of the Milwaukee Road Railroad.

A DAR plaque was attached to the back side of the building. The marker was dedicated during the NE District DAR Fall Meeting October 2017.

The content contained herein does not necessarily represent the position of the NSDAR.
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Last Updated 13 April 2024
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