Revived Daughters of the American Revolution chapter in Aiken holds first meeting and reception

January 26, 2019

The Esther Marion Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution is active again in Aiken.

The group held its first meeting and reception Thursday in the Cheetham Parlor of St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church.

“I’m really excited because we are kind of remaking history,” said Julie Hardaway, the chapter’s regent.

In 1893, the original Esther Marion Chapter was formed in Aiken.

“It was disbanded in 1954 and that was due to deaths and people moving away,” Hardaway said.

Hardaway lives in a home called Narrow Gate, which is where Belle Gaston, one of the regents of the original Esther Marion Chapter, used to reside.

The chapter’s revival began with a conversation that Hardaway, Charlotte Wiedenman and Missy Poe had on the porch of Narrow Gate last summer.

“We felt it was a way to honor Aiken’s original Daughters,” Wiedenman said.

She is the revived Esther Marion Chapter’s vice-regent, and Poe is the treasurer.

“We wanted a chapter that would be more accommodating to modern women’s schedules and have more digital communications,” Wiedenman said. “A lot of our activities will focus on promoting patriotism, historic preservation and education in the community.”

Esther Marion was the mother of Francis Marion, who was a South Carolina Revolutionary War hero. His nickname was The Swamp Fox because of his ability to elude pursuers in swamps and the success of his guerrilla operations.

The Esther Marion Chapter’s return became official in November of last year. There were 27 organizing members at that time, and the number has grown since then.

Hardaway’s mother, Nellie Noegel, and Hardaway’s 21-year-old daughter, Regan Hardaway, are members of the Esther Marion Chapter.

During the first meeting, State Daughters of the American Revolution Regent Elizabeth Billham was in charge of the installation ceremony for the Esther Marion Chapter’s officers. Other state and district Daughters of the American Revolution officers also were present.

After the reception that followed the meeting, the Esther Marion Chapter held a wreath laying ceremony at the grave of Florence McMahon Croft in the St. Thaddeus cemetery. She was the organizing regent of the original Esther Marion Chapter.

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