Chapter History

Our Name

The Caloosahatchee Chapter of DAR was named after the "River of the Calusa."  At one time, the lush valley in southwest Florida was home to the Calusa Indians.  The river waters were filled with fish and the shoreline provided game.  Their canoes gave them access to much of inland Florida up to Lake Okeechobee.  The navigable river runs into the Gulf of Mexico about ten miles from the old military post of Fort Myers.  The Calusa were also called the "Shell People," using shells as foundations for their settlements, as tools and jewelry.  Shell mounds can still be found in the Fort Myers area today.

Our History

Each DAR chapter is unique, reflecting the location and the women who have been members.  Our chapter was founded in 1927, the first regent  was Kate Roberts.  Mina Edison, wife of Thomas Edison, was instrumental in organizing the chapter.  The Edison and Ford Winter Estates, now a jewel of historic preservation; attracted dignitaries, business partners, and scientists; contributing to the economic and cultural growth of Fort Myers.  Many outstanding citizens and descendants of early settlers of Fort Myers have been  members.  The chapter placed a marker in the Telegraph Building in Punta Rassa, where the news of the sinking of the USS Maine was first received.  Our chapter published six books on "Burial at Ten Cemeteries in Lee County." We also erected a plaque to Billy Bowlegs on Palm Beach Boulevard.  We have assisted a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) graduate with preparations to attend West Point.  We have collected donations for veterans at the Fort Myers VA Clinic and homeless veterans in Punta Gorda and Fort Myers.  We have supported Paws for Patriots, the Florida State Regent's program to provide seeing eye dogs for injured veterans.

In his farewell address, President George Washington wrote that the success of democracy depends on educated citizens.  Our chapter has long supported this


Edison home in Ft. Myers

Edison and Ford Winter Estates

ideal, recognizing Lee County High School students and JROTC members for their scholarship and good citizenship.  In 2002, the chapter established a scholarship for non-traditional students at Florida Gulf Coast University who are studying American History.   For many years we have donated books on genealogy and history to the Lee County Library. 

Now in our 90th year, our chapter looks forward to the future.