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June 14, 2005 > Ohlone Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution

Ohlone Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution

by Tina Cuccia

If you live in Fremont, there's a good chance at one time or another you've traveled down Blacow (correctly pronounced blay-coe) Road or Eggers Drive and had no idea that the origins of these names are European Washington Township pioneers. Blacow Road is named after Robert Blacow, an Englishman born in 1814, who moved to Fremont in 1851. Eggers Drive is named after Herman Eggers, a landowner and farmer who was born in Hanover, Germany, and died in Centerville.

Many streets in Fremont are named after pioneers, according to Katheryn Murray-Lindsey, Regent of the Ohlone Chapter of The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, founded in 1890.

DAR is a volunteer women's service organization with local chapters nationwide dedicated to keeping America strong by promoting patriotism, preserving U.S. history and supporting educational programs. Today's DAR members fund local scholarships, pioneer historic restorations and lead volunteer projects in their communities. DAR was founded in 1890, during a time that was marked by a revival in patriotism and interest in the beginnings of the United States of America. Women felt the desire to express their patriotic feelings and were frustrated by their exclusion from men's organizations formed to perpetuate the memory of ancestors who fought to make this country free and independent. Since its founding in 1890, DAR has admitted more than 800,000 members.

Murray-Lindsey along with three other members of their chapter have spent the last eight years researching the genealogy of many of Fremont's early pioneers, who contributed to the founding and settlement of the Washington Township, now known as Fremont.

Their research has recently been compiled into a book called "Centerville Pioneer Cemetery," a genealogical survey that includes biographies, obituaries, burial and cemetery records, photographs, a plot survey and causes of death of those buried within the Centerville Pioneer Cemetery [Fremont], a historic burying ground.

The Centerville Pioneer Cemetery was officially designated a cemetery in1858. However, first burials occurred there after the Alameda Presbyterian Church acquired the property in the summer of 1855. Rev. William Wallace Brier and nine other founding members organized the church in 1853.

Murray-Lindsey, a member of the Ohlone Chapter of DAR since 1997, explains that their research began as a survey to see who was buried in the cemetery. But she says, it became so much more as they delved into the project, tracing family heritages by combing through library shelves, books and census and church records, learning more and more about the individuals buried in the cemetery.

Murray-Lindsey shares a story they discovered about Rev. Brier in one of his diary entries, when he and his wife - pregnant at the time - traveled from Indiana to New York and then Panama City and eventually arrived in San Francisco in 1850 (called Yerba Buena at the time). Their travels were bumpy - literally - as they traveled on mules over mountains to reach the Isthmus of Panama. His wife wondered, he wrote, how such jolting would affect their child. Yes, she had some morning sickness, though it could have been brought on by their diet that included such things as "boiled iguana, lizards and ringtailed monkeys."

Because their findings were so prolific, Murray-Lindsey along with Alice Reiley, Shirley Bronte and Romaine Veronda decided to create a book that features biographies, diary entries, photos of the headstones and a plot survey of all the graves (past and present, since, as Murray-Lindsey explains, some graves have been removed through the years).

Although other DAR chapters have created surveys, Murray-Lindsey says the Ohlone Chapter is unique in the depth of research they have compiled.

Well over 100 people are buried in the cemetery, some of whom were veterans of the Civil War, the Mexican-American War of 1846 and the War of 1812.

Murray-Lindsey's own ancestry includes a relationship with Captain Henry Francis, who was the only colonist killed in the Battle of Shallowford, North Carolina, and his son John, who killed the Tory who had killed his father.

The Ohlone Chapter of DAR was organized in October 1990 and takes its name from the Ohlone Indians who heavily populated the San Francisco Bay area during the American Revolution. Today, the Ohlone chapter has 58 members ranging in ages from their early 20s to late 80s. Like all DAR chapters, to become a member, you must be a woman, at least 18 years old and able to prove your lineal bloodline descent from an ancestor who somehow aided in achieving American independence. Members of the Ohlone Chapter don't expect you to prove that on your own. They are there to help.

"We love genealogy," Murray-Lindsey says. "We will help you to see if you are connected so you can join our society."

The DAR Ohlone Chapter meets the first Saturday of the month from September to May. For further information on the chapter and to learn how you can purchase "Centerville Pioneer Cemetery," published by Family Heritage Publishers, please visit http://pages.sbcglobal.net/ohlonechapter. The DAR Ohlone Chapter will also be selling the book during Depot Days in Centerville on June 25. To find out more about how you can join a DAR chapter in your area, visit their website at http://www.dar.org or mail to Ohlone Chapter. P.O. Box 8101, Fremont, CA 94537-8101.

 
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