In celebration of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR)’s 125th anniversary, members of the Drum Hill chapter will participate in a nationwide day of service on Sunday, Oct. 11.
“The Daughters of the American Revolution are asking all the women in the DAR to donate a million hours of service on that day,” said Mary Bendix, regent of the Drum Hill chapter and a DAR member for 14 years.
“It can be through a specific project that the chapter itself does or individuals within a chapter can donate volunteer hours on that day.”
The Drum Hill chapter was organized in 1957 and currently has 79 members, ranging in age from 18 to about 85, from Wilton, Ridgefield, Redding, and Weston.
Bendix said most of the chapter’s Wilton members will volunteer at the Minks to Sinks Fall Sale on Oct. 11, while other members will either work on individual service projects or help with the chapter’s Comstock Cemetery restoration project.
The Drum Hill chapter has taken on the task of restoring the headstones at Comstock Cemetery on Ridgefield Road — a project Bendix said will take “several years.”
Comstock Cemetery opened in 1782, making it the third oldest burial yard in Wilton, where seven Revolutionary War soldiers and more than 60 of the town’s forefathers are buried.
“Most of the headstones have been broken — they are in horrible disrepair and a lot of them are buried,” she said.
“It takes a tremendous amount of work to restore gravestones. You have to handle them very carefully because when you clean them, you can destroy them.”
Bendix said the goal is to “restore the burial ground to its original state, or as close to its original state” as possible.
Drum Hill Vice Regent Sara Champion is spearheading the restoration project and has been working with the Connecticut Gravestone Network to make sure the headstones are handled properly.
Champion has also worked with local Eagle Scouts to clean up and clear out a lot of the brush in the area, said Bendix.
“There are a number of cemeteries around town that are quite significant, but this cemetery in particular has fallen into disrepair,” said Bendix. “It’s quite a project that we’re undertaking.”