Within Minnesota communities, our chapter participates in…
restoring and maintaining historical sites
preserving genealogical records, artifacts, and historical documents
locating, restoring, and marking Revolutionary War patriot gravesites and headstones
supporting schools through donations and volunteer efforts
providing scholarships and awards to outstanding students throughout the country
promoting education and citizenship through youth programs
sponsoring American history essay contests for youth
providing volunteer time to assist military veterans
supporting America’s service personnel through a variety of programs
sponsoring special programs promoting the Constitution
celebrating with new citizens at naturalization ceremonies
Remembering the Fallen: Lincoln Park ceremony remembers Blue Earth County's 682 Civil War vets
This Memorial Day marked the seventh anniversary of the Boy in Blue monument, erected at Mankato’s Lincoln Park to honor and remember the Blue Earth County soldiers who fought in the American Civil War. The county also boasts the very last living Civil War veteran in the entire country, who lived well into the 1950s.
The engraved names of those Civil War veterans from the area are memorialized on bricks surrounding the memorial. They include Albert Woolson, who resided in Mankato during that time. Born in 1850, Woolson was the last living Civil War veteran in the entire country until his death in Duluth in 1956.
Right next to Woolson’s name is another veteran from that war — Wilhelm Urban, who fought against the Confederate Army in Tennessee and Alabama. Following Urban’s death in 1913, he was buried close to the farm he lived on at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church Cemetery just southeast of Minnesota Lake.
Urban is also the great-great grandfather of Bryce Stenzel, who organizes the annual Memorial Day event at Lincoln Park and plays Abraham Lincoln while reciting the Gettysburg Address each year.
“The neat part was that my grandmother, who I knew, knew her grandfather who was that man,” Stenzel said. “My grandmother was born in 1894 — and she got to visit with him when she was a little girl.”
Urban fought at the Battle of Nashville (1864), but he also fought at the Battle of Spanish Fort, which began on March 27, 1865, and ended on April 8, the day before Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered — effectively ending the war on April 9, 1865.
“Somewhere in this time frame my great-great grandfather developed what was called on the health record, “bloody dysentery,” and he had to be hospitalized in New Orleans,” Stenzel said.
“One of the stories my grandma did tell was that he never totally recovered from that. He still had stomach ailments and so on through the remainder of his life. He survived (the war) but he had to carry those war scars for the rest of his life. And I’m sure some of the things he witnessed he had to carry as well.”
Local newspaper accounts from that era described Urban as “a very kind, compassionate man who would give the shirt off his back if somebody needed it,” Stenzel said.
As a 10-year-old boy growing up in Mankato, Stenzel came across an old history book of his grandfather’s. The book contained a picture of the original Boy in Blue memorial at Lincoln Park — erected in 1892.
When he asked his father, a World War II veteran, to take him to Lincoln Park, he was surprised to find that the memorial was no longer there after years of neglect and vandalism led to its removal. It planted a seed in his mind that would become a reality decades later.
In 2010, Stenzel approached other like-minded individuals to raise money to replace the iconic statue and fountain.
“There was a group of about 10 of us locally who helped to raise funds together to erect this statue to commemorate the 682 Union soldiers that volunteered for the Civil War from Blue Earth County,” said Susan Hynes, who served on the Boy in Blue committee and is also a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Arn Kind, who also served on the Boy in Blue committee, spoke at Monday’s event about the history of Memorial Day, called Dedication Day until the holiday name was changed in 1971. He dressed in a uniform typical of the Civil War era when General John Logan — a Civil War Veteran — designated May 30 as Dedication Day in honor of the soldiers who fought in the Civil War for the purpose of decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country.
“On that first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery with about 5,000 participants there. They decorated the graves of 20,000 Civil War soldiers. By 1890 most northern states had made Declaration Day an official state holiday.”
Kind said even though Minnesota was the youngest state at the time, the state sent 22,000 men altogether who went off to fight for the Union.
“Of those 22,000, 2,500 would not come home,” Kind said.
Generations later, Stenzel said that Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address resonates today just as much as it did in 1863 when the country was facing its biggest crisis yet.
“The Gettysburg Address is really a call to action,” Stenzel said. “I want people to follow that directive and take what they learned here and go forward — that we are a government of, by and for the people. In order to keep it from perishing form Earth we have to get involved and teach our young people. My goal is to inspire people to pass the torch from one generation to the next, and Lincoln had that same message in the Gettysburg address.”
U.S. Constitution Week kicks off with "Bells Across America"
August 14, 2017 By Edie Schmierbach DAR dedicated to protecting history, patriotism
MADISON LAKE — Let's say Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam decided to get together and start a family.
The female offspring of the two symbols of our country's freedom likely would share common interests with the Daughters of the American Revolution members who gathered recently in a home on Lake Washington.
Red, white and blue attire was worn by many of the 18 attendees at the monthly meeting for the south-central Minnesota Anthony Wayne Chapter NSDAR of the national nonprofit dedicated to preserving U.S. history and keeping patriotism alive.
September 14, 2018 By Susan Hynes Anthony Wayne Chapter Regent Daughters of the American Revolution
Local DAR recognizes bell's significance in Mankato's history Town bell proclaimed end of World War
MANKATO — A church bell still in use in downtown Mankato is very much a link to the early decades of the town's settlement.
It pealed forth the good news when the American Civil War ended. On the morning of Nov. 11, 1918, it proclaimed the end of World War I.
The bell is in a corner tower and out of view from most people. A bronze tablet showing a sketch of the bell has been attached to the side of the First Presbyterian Church building, at 220 E. Hickory St.
This tablet serves as an important reminder to all who pass by of the bell's presence and its significance to the community. Its inscription reads "Historic Town Bell Bought by Church Women 1857, Hung in Belfry First Presbyterian Church 1864, Marked by the Anthony Wayne Chapter NSDAR Daughters of the American Revolution 1958."
Through the years, the Ladies Auxiliary/Presbyterian Church bell has been used as Mankato's "town bell." It was rung as a ceremonial function for a variety occasions in the community. The bell also served as a fire alarm and announced the arrivals of steamboats, the opening of court cases, and called residents to political and military meetings.
First Presbyterian's congregation was the first to formally begin religious activities in Mankato. Actual church services for the congregation followed in 1855 and its first dedicated church building was constructed in 1864.
A bell for that original Presbyterian building was purchased by the women's society in 1857. It hung from a wooden frame outside of the congregation's log schoolhouse/church.
Later, the bell was moved to the steeple of the congregation's first brick building. That structure stood kitty-corner from the present-day location of the church building.
The congregation also outgrew its second building. Its third church was built in 1896 and is in use by current members of First Presbyterian.
When Minneapolis architect Warren H. Hayes planned the Richardson-Romanesque style building, he incorporated the original bell in its design.
A National Register landmark, the downtown church is considered one of Mankato's most distinctive historical buildings.
First Presbyterian's bell plaque is one of dozens of historic markers and monuments placed by the Minnesota State Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution over the past 125 years.
Minnesota Regent Faye Leach has chosen "Restoring Minnesota Historical DAR Markers" as a state project.
Anthony Wayne Chapter will be re-dedicating the town bell's restored DAR plaque during ceremonies Saturday, Sept. 15, at the First Presbyterian Church, 220 E. Hickory St.
The bell will be rung as part of “Bells Across America” commemorating Constitution Week which has been set aside by U. S. Congress as Sept. 17-23 annually since 1956 as a result of a petition put forth by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
It also will ring Nov. 11 to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
June 30, 2019 By Susan Hynes Daughters of American Revolution
Local members attended the Daughters of the American Revolution state conference in May at St. Cloud.
Delegates from Minnesota’s 22 DAR chapters elected an 11-member board. Anthony Wayne Chapter NSDAR member Susan Jirele, of Mankato, will serve as historian.