On February 12, 1900, at the invitation of Georgia Governor and Mrs. Allen D.
Candler, the Joseph Habersham Chapter was organized at the Governor's Mansion.
The date was chosen because it was the day General James Edward Oglethorpe
landed on Georgia soil at Yamacraw Bluff. The chapter was named for a gallant young
Revolutionary soldier named Joseph Habersham, who, with two others, captured
a British vessel loaded with gun powder and distinguished himself further when he
captured British Governor Wright as he sat at dinner with his council.
Just three days later, on February 15, 1900, the Joseph Habersham Chapter was
admitted to the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. Mrs. William
Lawson Peel was the inspiration for the chapter and served as the first chapter regent.
She had superb leadership talents, was a forceful writer and speaker, and a talented
musician. The first and main interest of the chapter was the reclamation of neglected
records in the State Capitol. The records and rosters of some 5,000 Revolutionary
soldiers were collected, and hundreds of letters poured in from other states requesting
information on Georgia ancestors. To handle the inquiries, a column was securedin the Atlanta
Constitution , which grew to a full page and continued for three years.
Afterwards, these articles were published in book form, constituting Volumes I (1901)
and II (1902) of Historical Collections of the Joseph Habersham Chapter, Daughters
of the American Revolution. Volume III (1910) contained transcripts of records of
early Georgia counties and some history of South Carolina, with hundreds of names
of Revolutionary soldiers. Many distinguished Georgians, at Mrs. Peel's invitation,
contributed articles concerning Georgia's early history to these volumes.
In February 2013, the Joseph Habersham Chapter celebrated its one hundred
and thirteenth birthday. With a current roster of 113 active members, the chapter
continues to bring honor to NSDAR and Georgia with support of the Hindman
Settlement School (Kentucky), the Wounded Warrior Project (for the benefit of injured
US service members), and renovation of Meadow Gardens, the Augusta home to Georgia
Declaration of Independence signer, George Walton.
About Joseph Habersham
Joseph Habersham of Savannah (1751-1815) was a Revolutionary War hero and political leader. He was a colonel in the Continental Army, a member of Continental Congress and the Georgia Convention that ratified the Constitution in 1788. Educated at Princeton, he returned to Georgia to aid in organizing the "Liberty Boys" as the Revolution approached. With other patriots, he organized the Council of Safety at Tondee's Tavern, June 27, 1775. On January 17, 1776, leading a small group, he captured and placed under guard Sir James Wright, British Colonial Governor. With Captain Brown, he commanded the first commissioned vessel of the Revolution. He was twice Speaker of the General Assembly, in Georgia's first legislative body. In 1785, Joseph Habersham signed the first charter granted to a state university in America, that of the University of Georgia. He served as Postmaster General under President Washington, Adams and Jefferson. From 1802 until his death he was president of the Georgia branch of the Bank of the United States. Habersham County, created December 15, 1818, was named for Joseph Habersham. (Credit: historical marker transcription, 068-7, Georgia Historical Commission, 1958)