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Local DAR chapter turns 50

Local DAR chapter turns 50

Local DAR chapter turns 50

Mary Demmond, center, is recognized a...

The local Daughters of the American Revolution chapter reached a milestone Thursday, celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding.

The Archibald Bulloch Chapter National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution pulled out all the stops during its Golden Anniversary luncheon, including a proclamation read by Statesboro Mayor Jan Moore, a special presentation to the organization’s only surviving charter member, Mary Groover Demmond, and even a visit from “Scarlett O’Hara.” The event took place in Statesboro First Baptist Church’s Perry Fellowship Hall.

Moore kicked off the event vent by reading the resolution, which recounted some highlights of the local DAR’s history. The chapter, as well as Bulloch County, is named in honor of Archibald Bulloch, a delegate to the Second Continental Congress who became president of the Provincial Congress of Georgia in 1775.

The resolution proclaimed “Feb. 29, 2014,” as the 50th anniversary of the chapter’s founding. The only problem: The last Feb. 29 was in 2012, and the next one won’t be until 2016. After Moore finished reading it, she quipped, “which I know that date is wrong,” drawing some chuckles from the

But there was indeed a Feb. 29 in 1964, when the first meeting of the Archibald Bulloch chapter was held in the South Zetterower Avenue home of Mrs. Jesse Averitt, attended by 17 members. Her home is now Georgia’s Bed and Breakfast, DAR member Bonnie Howard said.

“Archibald Bulloch was chosen from three names that were submitted,” Howard said, “and I have been unable to find out what the other two names were.”

At its height, in the 1980s, the Archibald Bulloch DAR had 109 members, including 11 junior members. Today, the organization has 78 members.

DAR member Sarah Hines honored Demmond, who served as corresponding secretary when the group formed, and whom Hines counts as a “dear, dear friend.”

“I feel so honored by such a great group. It’s so special for me today. I acquired many friends through this wonderful organization that I would not have known otherwise. We have many good, dedicated members,” Demmond said. “Early on, we did not participate in as many projects as they do today. My hat is off to you who have made Archibald Bulloch one of the most outstanding chapters in the state.”

The program during this meeting was “A Visit with Scarlett O’Hara.” The protagonist in Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone with the Wind,” and later the film by the same name, was portrayed by Atlanta native Jill Samples Cremens. Cremens wore a dress made of the same fabric that Vivien Leigh wore when she played Scarlett in the classic movie.

Cremens offered tidbits about how much work it took to create the dress. A friend, seamstress Patti Moffitt of Lawrenceville, Ga., who contacted a “Gone with the Wind” fan in Virginia, Peggy Miller, also a seamstress.

 “I asked (Moffitt), thinking I would go down to the Jo-Ann Fabric Store, buy what I thought was about 20 yards of cotton fabric and come up with something very similar to what Vivien Leigh wore in ‘Gone with the Wind,’” Cremens said. “I never dreamed this would happen.

Here’s what happened. Cremens had to stand on a stepstool for four hours while the skirt’s four layers were hemmed. It took 28½ hours to make the ruffles on the top bodice. It took eighteen yards of 1½-inch-wide organza fabric with 1,100 button holes where ¼-inch velvet ribbon was woven. Total time spent making the dress: six days a week, 18 hours a day, six weeks. The skirt weighs 11 pounds and the bodice weighs 3½ pounds.

Cremens also had a table display at the meeting with a biography about Leigh, samples of the fabric in the dress and, hanging behind the podium, the red robe Scarlett wore in the film.

Next to that table was another with scrapbooks from throughout the Archibald Bulloch DAR chapter’s history.

Jason Wermers may be reached at (912) 489-9431.

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