EASTON, PA – You weren’t seeing things if you saw a group of women dressed like Colonials ringing bells on the corner of 4th and Ferry Streets in Easton last Saturday. A local Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) chapter was there to commemorate the 235th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution.
To mark the event, on September 17, the chapter held an open house at the Parsons-Taylor House, which they own and maintain. The home, which was built in 1757 by William Parsons, is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the oldest buildings remaining in Easton. Parsons was a surveyor who laid out the city and is known as the “Father of Easton.”
Parsons died in 1757, and the house was later occupied by George Taylor, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. After Taylor’s death in 1781, there were various occupants, but in 1906, the chapter purchased the home and restored it.
For four hours on Saturday afternoon, George Taylor Chapter members clad in colonial period dresses welcomed visitors in to learn about the Constitution as well as the history of the home itself.
A poster of the Constitution was on display and pocket-sized versions were available for visitors to take with them. Many of those who stopped in did so out of curiosity, stating that they live in the area and always wondered what was inside.
At 4 p.m., the ladies stood outside on the sidewalk and rang bells as part of Bells Across America, an annual celebration of the signing of the U.S. Constitution.
When the Constitution was signed at 4 p.m. on September 17, 1787 in Pennsylvania’s State House (now Independence Hall) in Philadelphia, church bells rang throughout the city.
The DAR started the tradition of celebrating the Constitution in 1956 after petitioning Congress to set aside September 17-23 for an annual observance of Constitution Week. The resolution was signed into law on August 2, 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The DAR website says the goals of Constitution Week celebrations are to:
- Emphasize citizens' responsibilities for protecting and defending the Constitution.
- Inform people that the Constitution is the basis for America's great heritage and the foundation for our way of life.
- Encourage the study of the historical events which led to the framing of the Constitution in September 1787.
The chapter also participates in Easton’s Heritage Day, held annually in July, during which the Parsons-Taylor House is open for tours.
The DAR is a non-profit, non-political volunteer women’s service organization whose members’ ancestors fought in, or aided the cause of, the American Revolution. Its objectives are promoting historic preservation, education, and patriotism.
To learn more about the Daughters of the American Revolution, visit their website.