Witness Tree Chapter, NSDAR


The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR or DAR) is a non-profit, non-political volunteer women's service organization founded in 1890 by a small group of patriotic women. The DAR is dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and securing America's future through better education for children.


Nationally, DAR members volunteer more than 200,000 hours annually to veterans in Veterans Administration (VA) medical centers and non-VA facilities, offer support to America's service personnel abroad through care packages, sponsor programs promoting the U.S. Constitution, and participate in naturalization ceremonies.


DAR members participate in various projects to help preserve the cultural heritage of the United States. Pennsylvania State Society Daughters of the American Revolution (PSSDAR) have supported the National Patriots Bell Tower in Montgomery County; the Fort Pitt Block House in Allegheny County; the Madonna of the Trail in Washington County; and the Rocky Spring Church in Franklin County, to name a few.


DAR members are passionate about education through the promotion of the Children of the American Revolution (C.A.R.), DAR Good Citizens, and Junior American Citizens; the provision of scholarships and awards to outstanding students; and the support of six schools through chapter and member donations.


Over two hundred years ago, American colonists, sacrificed their lives and fortunes to "establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common Defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty" and in doing so, left a legacy to the American people. Membership in the DAR will allow you to perpetuate their legacies through supporting the efforts of the National Society by promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and securing America's future through better education for children.

Any woman 18 years or older who can prove lineal, bloodline descent from an ancestor who aided in achieving American independence is eligible to join the DAR. This means that your ancestor could have provided food for soldiers, served in the military, served their town as sheriff, or provided medical aid to the wounded.

Joining the DAR does not require an interest in genealogy, but it helps to have knowledge of your ancestry. To determine your eligibility, you will need to gather documents for yourself, your parents, grandparents, and possibly great-grandparents. With 94 chapters in Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania State Society Daughters of the American Revolution (PSSDAR) has volunteers who can assist you if you need help with your research.

Please visit the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution "How to Join" page.

About Us

The chapter is located on the Susquehanna River, south of Harrisburg in Columbia, Pennsylvania. Formed on December 11, 1897, by the first Pennsylvania woman to join the newly formed Daughters of the American Revolution, Miss Lillian Slaymaker Evans. Chapter meetings are on the second Tuesday of the month from October to May. Guests are always welcome to attend chapter meetings while working on their ancestrial documentation. Our tea parties are great gatherings!

Lillian Slaymaker Evans

As the first woman in the Commonwealth to join the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) in 1890, Miss Lillian Slaymaker Evans zealously walked into history. “She has served our Society faithfully, efficiently and wholeheartedly; her ceaseless, conscientious work and successful accomplishments and her quiet, gracious personality winning the admiration and affectionate regard of all who knew her,” wrote the resolution committee of the Donegal Chapter, NSDAR, at the time of her death in 1943. Miss Lilly never hesitated to align her patriotic interests with those of her ancestors whom she wished to follow proudly.

Born in Columbia, Pennsylvania, November 5, 1861, she was the daughter of attorney Samuel Evans, a captain in the American Civil War, Justice of the Peace, Commissary of Subsistence, and contributing founder of the initial Lancaster Historical Society. Her mother was Mary Shoch whom together with her daughter was very active in the Iris Club of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Her paternal grandmother was the daughter of Congressman Amos Slaymaker of Old Leacock Township, Pennsylvania, who served as a member of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Congress.

Once the NSDAR was founded, Miss Lillian Slaymaker Evans, or Miss Lilly became the 41st of the 818 charter members enrolled during that first year. Within two years, Pennsylvania had its first State Regent, Mrs. Julia K. Hogg, of Pittsburgh, who directed Miss Lilly to organize a Lancaster chapter. It was named Donegal Chapter, NSDAR, and became the fourth chapter in the state and the 15th nationally. Starting with a membership of 13, the chapter grew to 212 within 5 years! Miss Lilly had served continuously as its Regent and after stepping down as chapter Regent, she was bestowed the title of Honorary Chapter Regent.

Miss Lilly still had more to give. She resigned from Donegal Chapter, NSDAR, along with 13 members met at a member’s home in Columbia, Pennsylvania in mid-December 1897 to organize a new chapter. Adopting the name Witness Tree Chapter, NSDAR, the chapter was chartered in January 1898 with plans to meet on the third Wednesday of each month.

She put just as much energy into the pursuit of patriotic development in the minds and hearts of citizens — especially the young. While a member of the Donegal Chapter, NSDAR, she started an essay contest for high school seniors which is still awarded today. After the creation of the Witness Tree Chapter, NSDAR, she founded and financed the annual chapter essay contest for Good Citizenship in the Columbia and Marietta schools. She also provided a commencement award at Columbia High School in the name of the Witness Tree Chapter, NSDAR. To the chapter's surprise, Miss Lilly bequeathed a sum of money to enable the chapter essay contest to continue indefinitely – which, of course, it has to this day.

Miss Evans remained active with the Witness Tree Chapter, NSDAR, until her death at her home, May 4, 1943. She was respected by the community; telegrams, tributes and eulogies hailed her for her “lofty ideals” and said, “such an influence continues to live for all time.” A chair was placed in her honor in DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. and the Witness Tree Chapter, NSDAR, placed a bronze DAR marker at her grave in Mount Bethel Cemetery, Columbia Pennsylvania.