Inside this Issue
Glimpse into the lives and passions of the diverse group of women who comprise today’s DAR membership.
Take a step inside the DAR Museum for a closer look at its fascinating collection.
Learn about the interesting historical articles from this issue.
To Come in Our Next Issue
Preview the exciting stories to be featured in the next issue of American Spirit.
On Her Way
Volume 153, Number 6
By Lena Anthony
Photograph courtesy of Madeline McElroy
Madeline McElroy, diagnosed at age 7 with Type 1 diabetes, is enthusiastic about sharing what she knows about the disease—in the hopes of demystifying it and helping others cope.
“I was diagnosed at such a young age, so it’s always been a part of my life,” said the member of Mary Chilton DAR Chapter, Sioux Falls, S.D. “But I never want to use my diagnosis as an excuse. It may be part of my life, but it doesn’t run my life.”
Ms. McElroy, now 18 and a college student, certainly never let the disease keep her from staying busy. She’s been active in theater, improv comedy, show choir, dance, horseback riding and hunting.
When she was first diagnosed, Ms. McElroy and her family immediately got involved with the local chapter of JDRF (formerly called the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). Though she missed that year’s JDRF One Walk fundraiser, she has proudly participated every year since.
Four years ago, she was selected to represent South Dakota as a Teen Ambassador at the JDRF Children’s Congress. In addition to doing media spots that aired in her home state, she traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with fellow teens from around the world who also have Type 1 diabetes. Because of her interest in horseback riding, Ms. McElroy was paired with a teen from Israel with similar hobbies.
“It was interesting to hear how diabetes is treated in other parts of the world,” she said. “There are some innovative technologies and treatments in other countries that aren’t yet available in the United States.”
The three-day trip culminated in meetings with her members of Congress, with whom she shared her story and encouraged to support bills that provide funding for Type 1 diabetes research. She had met them previously at events back in South Dakota, but those brief encounters didn’t take the edge off the nervousness she felt talking to them again.
“I was shaking the first time I met them,” she said. “The entire time my feet would not stop wiggling.”
But her concerns were unfounded, thanks to a background in theater, her love of talking to people and a sudden wave of confidence. “After that first meeting, everyone who was there said, ‘Wow, you can speak well,’” she said. “I wanted to get my points across but also enjoy the experience.”
She returned to the nation’s capital in summer 2019 to serve as a Page at the DAR Continental Congress.
“What an empowering experience, being surrounded by all these amazing women,” she said, describing her week at DAR headquarters. “It was so much fun learning about the history of the organization and all the things we do in the world. It’s a spectacular organization.”
Ms. McElroy is now back in Sioux Falls, finishing her first semester at Augustana University. She enjoys telling new friends about how she’s part “cyborg.”
“I wear an insulin pump, which makes me feel like a cyborg,” she said. “I think it’s the coolest thing ever. It’s a great conversation starter.”
Ms. McElroy said she’s inspired to speak so openly about her diabetes because she knows the impact it could have.
“I’m always happy to meet someone else with Type 1 diabetes,” she said. “But I also know their experience might not be my experience. I try to think about them when I’m sharing my story. If I can help diabetes seem less scary, then maybe I can help them feel more empowered.”
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Carving a Reputation
Volume 153, Number 6
John Fox, a soldier during the French and Indian War, made good use of his free time by carving maps and designs on powder horns for other soldiers. Known examples of his work date from 1759 to 1764. Fox likely served under Colonel Henry Bouquet, until Fox deserted the British Army in May 1764. Just before he fled, he created this intricately detailed horn that bears graphic depictions of the vulnerable and contested frontier lands, especially of Western Pennsylvania.
Fox’s map begins in Philadelphia and continues northwest farther into Pennsylvania, past “Laganeer” (Ligonier) to Fort Pitt, and on to Erie, Pa., and New York. It illustrates the circuitous geographic progression and movement throughout the hotly contested region during the French and Indian War. Fox included fortifications, rivers and buildings. His forts and other carvings, including the Widow Gray’s Horse, a Masonic compass, and the British coat of arms complete with the lion and the unicorn, would have been visually familiar to soldiers in the 1760s. —Carrie Blough
For more National Treasures, please visit the DAR Museum's Featured Objects.
Visions of America: Historic Ski Lodges by Jamie Roberts
Ski lodges throughout the country offer many types of winter adventures, from skiing to snowboarding to snowshoeing to sleigh rides. Some are havens for history buffs, too.
Do You Hear What I Hear? by Megan Hamby
What’s Christmas without carols? From religious songs such as “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” to festive tunes such as “Jingle Bells,” we explore the backgrounds of popular carols and how they came to be known as Christmas classics.
Scottish Prisoners of War by Nancy Mann Jackson
New research from Durham University is renewing interest in the Scottish prisoners sent to Colonial America by Oliver Cromwell after their defeat at the Battle of Dunbar in 1650. These soldiers worked as indentured servants at sawmills, ironworks and farms throughout New England.
‘A Restless, Unstable, Inventive Genius’ by Bill Hudgins
Known for publishing the first map of the new United States created by an American, Connecticut engraver and surveyor Abel Buell made many missteps on his elusive quest for success.
Penn’s ‘Holy Experiment’ by Bill Hudgins
William Penn envisioned a harmonious society for the Pennsylvania Colony he governed for the British Crown. Increasingly the interests of its citizens began to clash with the interests of the Penn family, especially in the area of taxation and Colonial finances.
Spirited Adventures: Anchoring Paradise: Honolulu by Chuck Lyons and Jamie Roberts
There’s evidence that Honolulu, which means “sheltered harbor,” has been occupied since the 11th century. Visited by explorers, ruled by kings and queens, and homesteaded by missionaries and planters, the state’s capital continues to lure millions of visitors to its beauty and culture.
Historic Homes: Her Work, Her World by Courtney Peter
Home of noted suffragist, speaker, educator and Chicago Chapter charter member, the Frances Willard House Museum tells the story of one of the most prominent social reformers in 19th-century America. It’s one of the first American museums dedicated to the life of a woman.
Our Patriots: Timothy Smith by Ellen E. Stanley
As a devout member of the Religious Society of Friends, Smith was not allowed to bear arms in the Revolutionary War, but he was eager to help the cause. He joined the service in a noncombatant role—as a teamster— and did the vital work of transporting supplies to the Continental Army.
Plus the President General’s Message and Whatnot
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To Come in January/February 2020:
James Hoban, Architect of the White House
Iconic American Bridges
The Canary Islanders in Texas