Mary Patch, named Gardner’s Centennial Belle in 1957, was 99-years-old when she posed with the Oregon Trail marker in Gardner. Patch, known as “Aunt Mary Patch” by locals, was a pioneer of the Oregon Trail, who settled in Gardner as a young girl. She celebrated her 99th birthday in July 1957. Submitted photo

Mary Patch, named Gardner’s Centennial Belle in 1957, was 99-years-old when she posed with the Oregon Trail marker in Gardner. Patch, known as “Aunt Mary Patch” by locals, was a pioneer of the Oregon Trail, who settled in Gardner as a young girl. She celebrated her 99th birthday in July 1957. Submitted photo

Mica Marriott-Ward
Special to The Gardner News
Eighty-five years ago in June of 1930, the Olathe Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution raised funds to place a red granite monument, which still stands today in downtown Gardner.
The front page of the June 4, 1930 addition of the Gardner Gazette reported a fundraiser quilt sale in Topeka held June 3, 1930 successfully raised enough money to “permanently mark a historical site saved for future generations.”
The Topeka Capital Journal in June 1930 reported there were a total of “124 old hand-woven quilts displayed.” Some quilts were more than 150 years old at the time of sale.
The red granite marker was placed in November 1930 at the intersection of Washington and Center Streets, the current day location of Blazers Restaurant and Cornerstone Park, to commemorate the sacrifice and memory of those pioneers who traveled westward along the Oregon Trail in the 1800s. The late Elizabeth C. Moody had just begun her term as regent/president of the Olathe DAR Chapter at the time of the marker’s placement.
Currently the Kansas State DAR organization has records of more than 80 sites of similar historical markers throughout the state of Kansas placed by local DAR chapters.
The local monument was moved one block east in 1950 where it still stands today on the southeast corner of Elm and Washington Streets, sharing ground with Gardner Elementary.
Mary Patch, a pioneer of the original trail whose family settled in Gardner when she was a young girl, celebrated her 99th birthday in July 1957. On August 30, 1957 she was deemed “Gardner’s Centennial Belle,” and the 99-year-old woman known to locals as “Aunt Mary Patch,” had her picture taken during the festivities standing beside the marker.
The Olathe DAR Chapter formed on Nov. 11, 1921, Armistice Day, which is now recognized as Veterans Day. The Olathe DAR Chapter is still active and their current Regent/President, Kimberly Patrick was in Washington DC this past week to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the NSDAR. The current members of the Olathe DAR Chapter said they are very aware of the 85- year-old monument in Gardner and are proud of the efforts made to preserve history by the chapter’s former members.
The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) was founded Oct. 11, 1890 in Washington, D.C. Because of their exclusion from men’s organizations during the time, women formed the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) to express their patriotism and “perpetuate the memory of their ancestors who fought to make this country free and independent,” according to the history on their website, www.dar.org
History, education, and patriotism, are the three objectives laid forth 125 years ago at the very first DAR meeting. Their motto: “God, Home, and Country” still guides local chapters throughout the nation and internationally today.
Every member of the Daughters of the American Revolution can trace her lineage to an ancestor who either fought in the American Revolution as a patriot or assisted the cause of gaining independence from British rule in the 1770s.
Housed at the national DAR headquarters in Washington, D.C. are military records, upon other such records proving their ancestors signed “oaths of allegiance” to the cause, thus committing treason against Great Britain.