Rebecca Motte Chapter, NSDAR

historic preservation, education & patriotism

Rebecca Motte Chapter History

On 13 November 1895, sixteen ladies met in Charleston to organize a local chapter of the National Daughters of the American Revolution.  "The meeting was presided over by Mrs. Rebecca Motte Hamilton Ryan, the 'duly appointed chapter regent.'"  South Carolina produced such numerous women of distinction who served their country during the American Revolution that the ladies were faced with a very daunting challenge of naming the chapter after the most deserving of them.  However, the ladies responsible ultimately elected to name the chapter after Rebecca Motte in honor and memory of the outstanding and exemplary services she provided her country during the perilous time of crisis in its infancy.

The first actual chapter meeting took place on 12 December of the same year at the home of the regent, Ms. Ryan.  In attendance were not only the ladies of the Rebecca Motte Chapter, but also the State Regent and regents and members from other chapters throughout South Carolina.  The address by the State Regent was reported in full in the Charleston paper.  The by-laws were adopted at a later meeting on 8 April 1896, and on 9 March 1896, the chapter's charter was presented to the membership in a frame made of wood from the actual home of Rebecca Motte, and a gavel of the same was presented to the chapter at the same time.

For some time, the chapter met in the homes of the attending ladies, and later in a special room at the Gibbes Art Gallery until March of 1921 when the chapter first met at the Old Exchange Building.  During the Second World War, the Old Exchange building was leased to the government and the ladies of the chapter met at the Dock Street Theatre.  After the War, the chapter eventually found its permanent home in the Old Exchange Building which has since become inseparable from the character and nature of the chapter.  From the modest but hopeful origins of the chapter, it has become one of the most respected chapters in this state, and one of the most respected and valued organizations within its community; and will continue to be a leader in the preservation of the heritage and history of this nation in the South Carolina low country for years to come.