Pictured: Northampton Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution stand behind some of the tombstones in the Poplar Valley cemetery near Eastville.

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The Northampton Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) have begun planning Semiquincentennial projects to recognize the 250th anniversary of United States of America.  The local Chapter of thirty-eight women is joining the National DAR’s “America 250” initiative with a variety of local projects leading to the July 2026 culmination of celebrations.  The Chapter’s local project is to identify the burial places of local patriots and Laying on of Wreath and Memorial Service with flags on site.  The Chapter hopes the community will join their search and help them identify locations.

A team of Chapter members recently visited the Poplar Valley cemetery which is located on Northampton County property near Eastville.  Their goal was to identify what tombstones remained and whether two Nottinghams known to be patriots are buried there.  Thomas Nottingham, Jr. was a Lieutenant.  Thomas Nottingham, Sr. was a civil service patriot as a juror and provided supplies.  The women were able to identify the names on the well-preserved tombstones, but were not able to find these particular patriots.  Their search continues.

The field work was not in vain, however, as the tombstones were photographed and uploaded to the GHOTES (Genealogy and History of the Eastern Shore) group’s website, www.ghotes.net.  Tombstones are important to genealogists in identifying ancestors’ birth and death dates.  Photographs of tombstones can qualify as documentation needed in joining DAR.

In addition to such visits to burial sites, Chapter members are researching genealogical and history resources to identify names of known and potential patriots.  Their final resting place is identified and its GPS coordinates determined.  The goal is to identify and recognize Revolutionary War patriots from Northampton County.  Additional benefits include bringing attention to the need to preserve historic cemeteries and fostering an interest in genealogy and the birth of our nation.

In July 2026, the United States will mark its 250th anniversary – and DAR is preparing to celebrate in a big way!

Cara Burton and Claiborne Dickinson

Cara Burton (l) is assisted by Claiborne Dickinson (r) in returning a missing piece to a tombstone for the DAR team to transcribe the inscription.

The DAR, founded in 1890 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., is a non-profit, non-political volunteer women’s service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and securing America’s future through better education for children.  As one of the most inclusive genealogical societies in the country, DAR boasts 185,000 members in 3,000 chapters across the United States and internationally. Any woman 18 years or older-regardless of race, religion, or ethnic background-who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution, is eligible for membership.  Patriots are considered someone who aided the cause of Independence which can include military, civil, and patriotic service.  The Eastern Shore of Virginia has two chapters, one in each county.

The National Society has established the America 250! Committee to plan DAR’s involvement during our nation’s upcoming 250th birthday. Much like the Bicentennial celebration of 1976, this observance provides an exceptional opportunity for community involvement. DAR chapters will work to leave a lasting impact on their communities through meaningful local projects and events during this anniversary.

This occasion provides DAR members, as descendants of the generation that secured American independence, the remarkable opportunity to celebrate the longevity of the democratic experiment for which our ancestors fought, not even knowing if the new nation would survive. The upcoming anniversary also offers a chance to help our fellow Americans explore their family histories and discover the roles their ancestors played in founding the nation and shepherding its progress through the generations.

Individuals interested in joining DAR or want to search their free database to see if an ancestor is recognized as a patriot can go to www.dar.org.  If you have information about a local resting place of a patriot, please email NorthamptonCountyVADAR@yahoo.com.

 

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