History of Arthur Barrett Chapter
The Arthur Barrett Chapter, NSDAR, was organized July 26, 1928, in Barrett, Kansas, at
the home of Mrs. Phoebe Barrett Van Vliet. Mrs. Van Vliet and her daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth
Van Vliet Haskins Wanklyn, hosted a luncheon for twenty friends and relatives who were
eligible to join the Daughters of the American Revolution.
The State Regent of Kansas DAR, Mrs. Robert Bruce Campbell, was on hand to conduct the
ceremony to make the chapter an official part of DAR.
The members voted unanimously to name the new chapter Arthur Barrett, in honor of Mrs.
Van Vliet's great-grandfather. He was a private in the Second Battalion of the Chester
County, Pennsylvania, Militia, and the Revolutionary War ancestor of eighteen of the
chapter's original members. Arthur Barrett was born September 10, 1742, and married
Elizabeth Baldwin. He moved his family to Ohio in 1803 and later descendants moved to
southern Marshall County, Kansas, where they established Barrett's Mill near the Oregon
Native walnut was used in Barrett's Mill to create lumber and shingles to build a home
for the Barrett family. It was in this extraordinary home that the chapter's organizational
meeting was held.
The chapter has always been interested in preserving its Kansas heritage. Not far from
the Barrett's house is Alcove Spring, where the ill-fated Donner party stopped along the
Oregon Trail in 1846. It was one of the party, in fact, Edwin Bryant, who gave the spring
its name. The party stopped here to wait for the Blue River's waters to recede, providing
a safe crossing. During their respite here, one of the party, Sarah Handley Keyes,
died and was buried. The 70 year-old Keyes, who was in poor health before she started
the journey, was en route to Idaho to see her son there one last time.
Original marker at Sarah Keyes' grave (left).
1995 marker (right).
Click on the image for a larger view.
Spurred by the centennial of the Donner party's stay at Alcove Spring, the chapter marked
the grave of Sarah Keyes with a marker. Sarah Keyes' father was a patriot of the
The chapter was instrumental in getting about 230 acres of land around Alcove Spring
designated national park land. Their original marker was lost, but another was placed
in 1995 to replace it.
The chapter also placed the Oregon Trail marker near the town of Barrett.
Through the years since it was formed, the Arthur Barrett Chapter has worked to fulfill
the DAR objectives of Patriotism, Education, and Historic Preservation. It has made gifts
of money and service to the Red Cross when it was needed during times of war and disaster.
During World War II, the chapter supported the British Save the Children Federation, as
well as the War Projects Fund. Many dozens of cookies were shipped to
soldiers far away from their homes and many Christmas gift boxes were made for them.
An early and continuing interest of the chapter has been education. The chapter encourages
education on American ideals in local school children, regularly distributing manuals
about the Flag of the USA. The chapter has provided guidance and recognition for
high-school-age girls who excel in homemaking. The DAR schools and other area
schools have been amply supported throughout the years.
To raise funds for the many projects of the chapter, some innovative ideas have surfaced:
In 1931, the chapter purchased a brood sow and, working with a local group of 4-H boys,
had a brief career as part owners and raisers of pigs.
During World War II, the chapter collected and sold scrap iron, an effort that also helped
with the war effort.
After 50 years of service, the chapter moved its "official" location to Marysville,
where it remains today.
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Background graphic is a detail of the mosaics of
the historic Union Pacific Depot in Marysville.