All Daughters of the American Revolution are descended from patriots and soldiers of the Revolutionary War. For most members today, tracing your lineage may require going back five, six, even nine generations. So imagine what it must have been like if you could join the DAR through the patriotic service of your own father?
This was the distinct privilege of a Real Daughter. Not to be confused with the “daughter of a Revolutionary war soldier or patriot,” a Real Daughter was distinguished because she was a DAR member as well as the actual daughter of a patriot during the American Revolution. As stated in an article titled “Born to Greatness: The Daughters of the First Patriots” in the September/October 2007 edition of American Spirit, the National Society's official magazine, many of these women “were the youngest daughters of a large family or the result of a marriage late in life.”
In the early years of the National Society, a DAR chapter who could name one or more of the 767 Real Daughters among its members was extremely proud of this living link to the American Revolution. Jersey Blue was one of these chapters, and in 1919, was proud to include Mrs. Mary Walton, the last surviving Real Daughter in all of New Jersey, as a member.
Who Was Mrs. Mary Walton?
In 1919, the Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine wrote about Mrs. Mary Walton in their May issue. Much of the information below is attributed to that article.
Mary Suydam Walton was born in the Village of Middlebush in Somerset, New Jersey in November 1834, the youngest child of Cornelius Suydam and his third wife, Margaret Perrine. Her father, born in 1761, was but a boy when he took up arms in defense of his country as a private of Middlesex County, New Jersey in the Revolutionary War.
At the time of Mary's birth, Cornelius Suydam lived at Middlebush, but moved to a large farm located on both sides of the Matchaponix Creek when Mary was about five years old.
This tract of land, it is believed, was in the possession of the Suydam family at the time of the Revolution, since portions of a desk made in 1772 of wood grown on the place is still in existence. A deserter from the British army sought refuge with the Suydams of that place, and being a cabinet maker by trade, he made the desk, with the date inlaid, in gratitude for the protection he received.
Cornelius Suydam died on March 17, 1859 and was buried in the churchyard of the Reformed Church in Spotswood, New Jersey. His tombstone bears the following description:
Died March 17, 1851.
Aged 89 years, 11 months, 11 days.
This life's a dream, an empty show,
But the bright world to which I go
Hath joys substantial and sincere.
When I shall wake and find me there.
Mary later went on to marry Richard Walton (b. 1827 and d. 1903) in February 1854 at Madison Township, New Jersey. In 1918, she became a member of the Jersey Blue Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. At the time of the article's printing in 1919, she was living with her daughter, Mrs. James Davison, in Millbridge, New Jersey. She died in Madison Township, New Jersey in 1922.
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