Fort William Bent Chapter

National Society Daughters of the American Revolution

Lamar, Colorado

National Society Daughters of the American Revolution

Colorado Society Daughters of the American Revolution

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The Madonna of the Trail




















Historic Background:

The Fort William Bent Chapter was organized March 5, 1921 by Mrs. Lucille Landers Garvin of Lamar.  The chapter was instituted with 19 members, by Mrs. Florence M. Stote, Colorado State Regent.  First officers were: Mrs. Eloise Spencer Nowles, regent; Miss Helen Merrill, vice regent; Mrs. Adelaide Ford Hover, recording secretary; Mrs. Mary Louise Crary, corresponding secretary;  Mrs. Agnes Mayfield, treasurer; Mrs. Nan Brownlee, registrar; Mrs. Sue B. Gordon, chaplain; Mrs. Mary Allen, historian; Mrs. Rachel Ford Denning, auditor.  Other charter members were Mrs. Gail Parrish Larrick, Mrs. Lucille Landers Garvin, Mrs. Grace Haulk Gilman, Mrs. Bessie Ratliff, Addie Lee McLeod, Miss Ethel Gordon, Mrs. Fay Huddleston Butler, Mrs. Florence Smith Goodale, Mrs. Lena Sanders Bean, Miss Frances M. Hover, Mrs. Minnie Koonsman, and Mrs. Leo McLean.

The choice of the name of Fort William Bent Chapter designates the most famous of the three forts built by the Bent brothers.  William Bent first came to the upper Arkansas Valley in 1824, settled near the mouth of the Purgatoire River, and built a small picket fort at a point between the present Pueblo and Canon City.  This was too far west for trade.  In 1828 he began the erection  of Fort William, as it was at first called (called Bent's Old Fort), which took four years to complete.  After William Bent set fire to Bent's Old Fort in 1849, he moved thirty eight miles down the Arkansas River to Big Timbers  where, in a temporary stockade, he attempted to revive Indian Trade.  In 1852-53 he built a large stone trading post that became known as Bent's New Fort.  The chapter derives its name from the new fort.

The site of Bent's New Fort was sold to the US Government in 1859.  Buildings were added one mile west and it was renamed Fort Wise in 1860.  In 1861, the fort was renamed Fort Lyon.  The fort moved farther west in 1867.  There is a Santa Fe Trail Historical marker for Fort Bent located north across the river bridge from the old town of Prowers, then east until the marker is in view to the south, about 3/8th of a mile.  Turn south on the first road to a gate on the west side of the road.  Walk through the pasture, a distance of about one city block, to the monument.  The marker is placed just north of the Fort site and is native stone, about 8-10 feet tall.  This marker was erected by the State Historical Society of Colorado from Mrs. H.H. Hill Foundation and by the Lamar Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1942.  Several yards to the northeast of this tall marker is a smaller marker, on which is inscribed "Ft. Bent, Later Ft. Wise, Santa Fe Trail 1922-1872. Marked by the Daughters of the American Revolution Zebulon Pike Chapter 1908."  The information about the Santa Fe Trail marker and the Ft. Bent marker are from Colorado Historical Markers of the Colorado State Society, NSDAR, compiled and edited by Junann J. Stieghorst (1978).

Additional Historic Facts of Interest:

Madonna of the Trail

The Madonna of the Trail statues evolved over a period of some nineteen years.  The project was begun in 1909 with the idea of marking the Santa Fe Trail in Missouri.  In 1911 the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) entered the picture, and in 1912 the National Old Trails Road Association came into being.  During World War I work was halted, resuming again in 1922. In 1927 the Daughters of the American Revolution Continental Congress accepted a design by August Leimbach, offered by Mrs. John Trigg Moss, chairwoman of the National Old Trails Committee of the DAR.  In 1927 the National Old Trails Association and the NSDAR assigned a special duty to Fort William Bent chapter: guardianship over a large statue erected in Lamar's Santa Fe Park.  The last surviving charter member, Mrs. Fay Huddleston Butler, who died March 22, 1970,  was instrumental in the placing of the "Madonna of the Trail" in Lamar.  The Madonna of the Trail Statue was dedicated September 24, 1928.  It was the fifth of 12 statues placed on the Ocean-to-Ocean Highway by NSDAR and the National Old Trails Road Association.   The Madonna of the Trail is one of the twelve original copies of the statue placed in each of the twelve states along the Ocean-to-Ocean Old Trails Highway from Washington D.C. to California.  Under the leadership of Colorado State Regent Anita Bishop (2001-2003) the Madonna of the Trail statue was restored and rededicated in September 2003 in commemoration of the 75th Anniversary.  The chapter members have faithfully fulfilled this trust.  Interested in learning more about the Madonna of the Trail? Click here.

First School House in Springfield, CO Historical Marker

On June 4, 1978 the Chapter dedicated a DAR Historical Marker on the stone building erected in 1889 as the first school house in Springfield, Baca County.  Mrs. Leo E. Gamble, Chapter Regent at the time, did the historical research and prepared an application to have the building placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The National Park Service listed the schoolhouse on the Register, October 5, 1977.


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Last updated: September 1, 2013