“A demand for a county seat Chapter for county women not otherwise affiliated, resulted in the organization of King’s Trace Chapter, December 7, 1925, and confirmed January 30, 1926. The bright wintry noon day saw a small band of eager women seated around the dinner table in the home of the Organizing Regent with the State Regent… at the foot of the table. Here, over the chapter chicken pie dinner, D. A. R. [sic] operations and service were happily discussed with the State Regent. At two o’clock, the table guests were joined by a number of invited eligible who included the regent and vice-regent from Louisiana Purchase of DeSoto, a chapter organized by the same organizing regent nearly ten years before.”
The organizing regent of the Louisiana Purchase Chapter NSDAR in 1916, withdrew from that chapter in 1920 to organize a new DAR chapter in Hillsboro. While only seven or eight miles separate Hillsboro from DeSoto, the roads at the time made travel between the two towns long and challenging.
It took until December 10, 1925, to gather and verify the twelve members required to found a new chapter. The originally proposed name of the chapter being rejected by the National Society, the name King’s Trace was approved at the February 1926 National Society board meeting.
“King’s Trace Chapter [NSDAR] derives its name from that part of the old Colonial Spanish road which runs across the northeast corner of Jefferson County.
“The road was established during the [American] Revolution by Jean Baptiste Gamache under the authority of the King of Spain. This road ran from St. Louis southward through St. Louis County crossing the Meramec River and through Jefferson County to Ste. Genevieve. Entering Jefferson County via the lower ferry on the Meramec, it ran along the State [R]oad near Kimmswick and Sulphur Springs, by the residence of John Herrington (descendant of Bartholomew Herrington of [the American] Revolution) near Pevely, hence across the Joachim near Horine, across the hills to Rock Fort in the Silica bluffs, via Robert Gamble’s old residence and Judge Madison’s farm to Ste. Genevieve. In Judge Madison’s house was established the first telegraph west of the Mississippi and a stretch of King’s Trace has subsequently been called Telegraph Road.
“Old King’s Trace is a link in the Spanish Colonial road called El Camino Real, extending from St. Louis to New Madrid. Since English occupation in 1803, the road has been called King’s Highway, after which the chapter at Sikeston is named. El Camino Real having been appropriated as a name by a chapter in California, we are left to choose the purely local historical name, which, after all, we really prefer.” (Ibid.)
In her 1926 Regents Report to the Missouri State Society, the Regent tells of the chapter’s activities in that first year. She writes, “Our service as a chapter in the home town has been to lead flag salute in Americanization Program in Church, same in Courthouse, Old Settlers Reunion and same at the Movie on Lincoln’s Birthday and Armistice Day. Independence Week was ushered in by bell ringing, flag raising, talks to children at that time, and a request for Missouri Day Observance at the school.”
Not all members who joined during that initial year lived in Jefferson County, Missouri. Members who joined because of ties to the county, lived not only in Hillsboro, Barnhart, and Herculaneum, but also in Nashville (Tennessee), New York City, Detroit (Michigan), St. Louis, Jefferson Barracks, and Clayton – the last two towns being located in St. Louis County immediately to the north.
By 1932, the Organizing Regent was chapter historian and she compiled a book titled, “A Genealogical History of King’s Trace Chapter, D. A. R. [sic], Hillsboro, Missouri, and Jefferson County Marriages, 1821-1871,” which was requested by the National Society. A copy of this book is currently in possession of the registrar of the Louisiana Purchase Chapter NSDAR, along with other records from the King’s Trace Chapter.
The King’s Trace Chapter NSDAR appears in the annual Missouri State Society DAR Yearbooks. Their membership numbers varied between 13 and 17 members through 1958; membership in the nearby Louisiana Purchase Chapter NSDAR varied between 20 and 25 members during this same time period. King’s Trace members continued doing the work of the Daughters of the American Revolution, both in Jefferson County, in Missouri, and across the United States in support of projects of the National Society.
In the 1959 MSSDAR Yearbook, Report of State Regent (February, 1959), stated that “[s]he is sorry to report the disbandment of the King’s Trace Chapter at Hillsboro, but happy that the majority of its members transferred to other Chapters….” (“Daughters of the American Revolution, Yearbook 1959, Sixtieth Annual State Conference, State of Missouri,” p. 37), while in the 1974-1976 MSSDAR History Bicentennial Edition, the Louisiana Purchase Chapter NSDAR history reports that “… In 1958, members of the disbanded Kings Trace Chapter, Hillsboro, Missouri, were welcomed into Louisiana Purchase Chapter, thereby adding talent and leadership, as well as memberships.” (“1974-1976 MSSDAR History Bicentennial Edition,” p. 24)