PA State Archives Hours, Directions, & Fees Research Topics Online Catalog Land Records




Manuscript Group 381
1.5 cubic feet

The Pennsylvania State Society of Colonial Dames of the Seventeenth Century is dedicated to fostering interest in historical colonial research and commemorating heroic deeds of the founders of the United States. The National Society Colonial Dames XVII Century was formed in 1915 and is today comprised of forty-six state societies and one international society in Canada. The state societies are further divided into chapters consisting of a total of 11,500 members dedicated to aiding in the preservation of historical records and historic sites, fostering an interest in research in colonial history, commemorating the noble and heroic deeds of colonial ancestors, and maintaining a Library of Heraldry at the national headquarters in Washington, D.C. The National Society maintains the grave site of Lady Rebecca Rolfe (Pocahontas) in Gravesend, England, and annually awards a scholarship in her honor to a woman of Native American descent interested in pursuing a career in the medical profession. Any woman of good moral character, eighteen years of age or over, is eligible for membership provided she has been invited by the Society and is the lineal descendant of an ancestor who lived and served prior to 1701 in one of the original colonies in the geographical area of the present United States of America. Admission into the Society is by invitation and the endorsement by two members to whom the applicant is known personally, and approval of lineage papers by the President General, Registrar General and Treasurer General. Documentary evidence providing proof of an ancestor's service prior to 1701 is required. The different types of "service" recognized by the Dames includes:

The first Pennsylvania chapter was the Three Rivers Chapter that was chartered in April 1962 under Organizing President Mrs. David A. Scott, who had previously been a member in Virginia. The Three Rivers Chapter had twenty-eight members who signed the charter at the home of Mrs. Clifford A. Lake. The Elizabeth Van Metre Chapter was chartered in Uniontown in April 1973 under the leadership of Organizing President Mrs. John P. Mille but has since disbanded. The Penn’s Grant Chapter in Philadelphia was chartered in March 1974 when twenty-four members signed the charter at Lord Stirling’s Headquarters at Valley Forge. The Organizing President was Mrs. Edward Hungerford. Following the national requirement, when three chapters had been chartered it was necessary to form a Pennsylvania State Society. The organizational meeting for the State Society was held at the Sheraton Motor Inn in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in March of 1975. Mrs. Edward Hungerford of the Penn’s Grant Chapter was elected Organizing President and Mrs. David A. Scott of the Three Rivers Chapter was named Honorary Organizing President.

The fourth chapter, The Treaty Elm, was chartered in January 1977 with Mrs. Robert L. Lyon as Organizing President. The John Hand Chapter was chartered in November 1979 with twenty-one members and the meeting was attended by Mrs. Hungerford and Mrs. Alfred Novello, Pennsylvania State President, with Mrs. Robert H. Dymond serving as the Organizing President. Miss Glady Tozier organized the Lycoming Chapter in August 1979 and Mrs. Leonard A. Work organized the Deacon John Burnham Chapter in June 1980. Neither chapter was able to obtain the twenty-one members needed to charter and the Lycoming Chapter disbanded in the spring of 1984 with most of the members transferring to the Treaty Elm Chapter. The Beaver Town Chapter was chartered May 19, 1982 under under the leadership of Organizing President Mrs. Paul Bennett. The Thomas Olney Chapter was chartered May 19, 1984 with Dr. Ellen Perrin, Pennsylvania State President, attending the signing held at the Bushkill Center Inn. This chapter has since disbanded. The Bedford Manor Chapter with Mrs. John V. Scherer as Organizing President and twenty-five members was chartered on June 22, 1984 with Dr. Ellen Perrin in attendance. This chapter has since disbanded and the members were given the opportunity to be members-at-large for one year until they could join other chapters. Currently there are five active chapters in Pennsylvania that raise money for scholarships, market historic sites, submit genealogical records, and raise contributions to the Headquarters Museum for preservation of historic documents and for service to veterans. The Pennsylvania Society presents two awards annually at Pennsylvania History Day. Past presidents of the society include:

The records include bound volumes containing the proceedings of the Pennsylvania State Society of Colonial Dames of the Seventeenth Century conferences (1975-1985) and the Society's Presidents' files (1975-1981).

PA State Archives Hours, Directions, & Fees Research Topics Online Catalog Land Records