Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: March 8, 1850 or 1851 - Mary Desha


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From The Kentucky Encyclopedia -
One of the founders of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), Mary Desha was born in 1850 or 1851. Her parents were Mary (Curry) and John Randolph Desha, a Lexington physician. The family's pro-Southern leanings during the Civil War caused young "Molly" (as she was known) and her mother to flee to Canada. On their return, the family suffered financial reverses and Molly contributed to their support by teaching in the private and public schools of Lexington. She briefly attended State College (University of Kentucky ).

Fiercely Democratic and the sister-in-law of Rep. W.C.P. Breckinridge , Desha gained a minor post in Washington, D.C., in 1885. Three years later she accepted a government teaching position in Alaska. Soon back in the nation's capital, Desha worked there the rest of her life, first as a clerk in the pension office, then as a copyist in the Office of Indian Affairs.

On August 9, 1890, Desha and two companions organized what became the Daughters of the American Revolution. She served as one of the original vice- presidents general and as a member of the executive committee, suggested the DAR's seal, and signed the group's incorporation papers in 1891. The DAR congress of 1898 officially recognized her as one of the organization's founders. A controversy with another DAR vice-president general, who attacked Desha's suffragist sympathies, ended in the resignation of that official, and thereafter the strong-willed, energetic, and eloquent Desha focused her attentions on United Daughters of the Confederacy and DAR work. During the Spanish-American War , she served as assistant director of the DAR hospital corps. Desha died on January 29, 1911, and was buried in the Lexington Cemetery.

JAMES C. KLOTTER, Entry Author

Selected Source from UK Libraries:

Breckinridge, Issa Desha., and Mary. Desha. "The Work Shall Praise the Master" a Memorial to Joel T. Hart, the Kentucky Sculptor, from the Women of the Blue Grass. Cincinnati: Press of R. Clarke, 1884. Print. Beyond the Shelf, Serving Historic Kentuckiana through Virtual Access (IMLS LG-03-02-0012-02) ; B92-53-27061982.
B H2521B, Special Collections Research Center - Biography Collection

Lindsay Family. Lindsay Family Papers, 1794-1932, 1867-1930 (bulk Dates) (1794). Print.
54M59, Special Collections Research Center - Manuscripts Collection

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