Wolcott Historical Society News - September 2012
By Florence Goodman
Each month as I begin to think about a topic for my next article, I spend a lot of time looking through old newspaper stories in our Historical Society's archives. As I was perusing a scrapbook of articles, I came across one particular story from March 20,1930 Waterbury newspaper titled "King's Daughters have 34th Banquet - Mrs. Frisbie's Birthday Also Celebrated By Group At Dinner." The article piqued my interest and thought it might be one to share with you.
So what was the "King's Daughter's," when did it originate, and who were its members? From my calculations, since this was the 34th annual banquet of the King's Daughter's Circle and the article was written in 1930, the group was established in Wolcott in 1896. This group was the local circle of an organization that today is international and also includes sons.
By doing some research on the web, I learned that the King's Daughters began in 1886 in New York City at the home of Margaret Bottome, a minister's wife. She was well known in her Congregation for her Bible study talks and prayer meetings, and she felt that the time was ripe for organizing a "sisterhood of service" group. So she invited ten of her friends to an organizational meeting to explain her idea of women helping those in need. One of the women, an educator in New York City, suggested the name the King's Daughters. Their church affiliations were Episcopal, Methodist and Presbyterian. The group's motto was: Look up and not down, Look forward and not back,
Look out and not in, And lend a hand represents faith, hope and service to others. Her idea took hold quickly and more groups were formed throughout the country.
The Order had a booth in the Women's Building of the 1893 World's Fair where literature and badges were on display. By 1896, there were Branch organizations in 26 states and circles in nearly every country in Europe, Japan, China, Syria and India. Canada had nearly 6,000 members. The headquarters for the organization remained in New York City until 1972 when it was moved to Chautauqua, New York where it continues today. Presently the organization is referred to as KDS (Kings, Daughters, Sons) and is an interdenominational Christian service organization located mainly in the United States and Canada, with approximately 5000 members. Their focus is to lend a hand in service to others. They support and or own/run hospitals, thrift shops, homes for the elderly, and child care centers. They also provide scholarships to people in those areas.
The Wolcott chapter of the King's Daughters Circle was established in 1896 under the leadership of Mrs. Mary R. Carter. That first organizational meeting was held in the home of Mrs. Tuttle, which was located on the corner of Woodtick and Nichols Roads, across from the Senior Center.
Mrs. Cora Matthews was one of the earliest members of the group. Other group members included Mrs. Berkley L. Frisbie, Mildred E. Frisbie, Mrs. Henry L. Norton, Mrs. Charles C. Rogers, Mrs. Leroy Cabbage, and daughter, Mary Ione, Mrs. Grace Webber, and daughter, Helen, Mrs. Lena M. Cole, Mrs. Olga Barrere, Mrs. Dewitt C. Cole, Julia C. Cole, Mrs. Claude V. Badger, Mrs. Evelina Frisbie Munson, Mrs. Cora Matthews, and Mrs. Helen Frisbie Douglas, who lived in Waterbury.
The Wolcott Chapter founder, Mary R. Carter, was born in Wolcott on 155 Bound Line Road on March 29, 1840. She was the daughter of Stiles and Ann Hotchkiss. She married Henry B. Carter in 1860 and they had a son, Charles in 1862. Mary was an active member of the Wolcott Congregational Church for seventy-seven years. She loved journalism and served as a correspondent for The Waterbury American and The Waterbury Republican, The Connecticut Farmer, The Christian Secretary, and The Berlin News. In 1913 Mary wrote a story about life on early farms since she spent most of her years living on farms in Wolcott.
On March 19, 1930, when the 34th anniversary and annual banquet of the King's Daughters was held, Mrs. Berkley L. Frisbie, who was the leader of the group hosted it. Although the article headline stated that it was Mrs. Frisbie's birthday, it was also the birthday of Mrs. Cora Matthews, who at the time was the oldest member of the group. Mrs. Mary R. Carter, the group's founder was also celebrating a birthday that month. She was turning 90, but because she was living in Bristol with her daughter's family, she could not attend the meeting.
This organization must have been quite notable because as I read through several old obituaries, if the person was a member of King's Daughters, it was mentioned. I would like to close with a letter dated May 23, 1941, that I found in Freda Higgins's scrapbook. "Resolutions on the death of Mrs. Helen F. Douglas, whereas, our Heavenly Father in His wisdom has called from among us Mrs. Helen F. Douglas, our friend and esteemed member of Every Day Charity Circle King's daughters. Resolved that we count it a privilege and joy to have been associated with Mrs. Douglas in the work of the order. Her pleasant and genial personality, always an inspiration, her attitude to others kind and helpful. A woman of Christian ideals. Be it further resolved that a copy of these resolutions be sent to her nieces and one placed in the records of the Circle and a notice sent to the Silver Cross Magazine." It was signed Mildred E. Frisbie and Julia C. Cole, Committee, The Every Day Charity Circle King's Daughters, Wolcott, Conn., May 23, 1941.
As I looked over the names of the members, I realized that many of the women were related by blood or marriage. I also noticed that most of the woman lived in the Woodtick region of town. If any readers have information about this group or relatives that were members, I would appreciate hearing from you at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-879-9818.
I would like to thank Mark McDonald for his help with supplying the articles used in this article. Mark has scanned hundreds of articles found in scrapbooks belonging to the Clarence Atwood family to preserve them for the Wolcott Historical Society's archives.
(Information from this article was taken from articles found in The Waterbury American Newspaper and The Waterbury Republican Newspaper articles from the 1930s, and a 1930 article from The Bristol Press, Samuel Orcutt, The History Of Wolcott, Connecticut From 1731-1874 and information found in an old scrapbook that belonged to Miss Freda Higgins.)
Our Schoolhouse Museum, which is usually open in the fall on Sunday afternoons, will be closed for several months this fall and winter because of painting. You may visit the Museum in the spring when it reopens by calling Carl Hotkowski 203-592-8237 or Flo Goodman 203-879-9818.
Berkley Frisbie home where the 34th Anniversary meeting was held. His wife was Mildred Matthews Frisbie.
The Frank Munson Home on Munson Road in 1894. From left to right: Lena Munson Cole, Frank Munson with Grace Munson Webber on his lap, unidentified housekeeper, Miss Edna Mix, boarder and teacher at Old Stone School, Mrs. Evelina Frisbie Munson, and two hired hands. Lena, Grace and Evelina were members of the King's Daughters later in life.
The Charles C. Rogers house located at 155 Bound Line Road was where Mary R. Carter was born and grew up. She and her husband, Henry, purchased the house from the family around 1885.
Mrs. Tuttle's home where the first organizational meeting was held.
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