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chapter history The name Ruth Wyllys was adopted by Connecticut’s third DAR chapter to recognize the wife of  General Samuel Wyllys, who fought in the Revolutionary War, and his father Col. George Wyllys, who served as Secretary of the Colony and State of Connecticut. The name was also adopted in recognition of the prominent position held by the Wyllys family in Hartford for nearly two hundred years. Ruth Belden was born in 1747, and married Captain John Stoughton of Windsor, Connecticut. He had served in the French War, 1755-63, and for his services, received from the Crown a grant of land between Lakes George and Champlain -- still known as the Stoughton Patent. He settled there with his wife and they had one daughter together. Just a few years later, he died by drowning while crossing Lake George in a storm. In 1777, Ruth married her cousin, Samuel Wyllys, a colonel in the Continental Army.  She shared a soldier’s life with him and, during the winter of 1780, they were quartered along the Hudson River with General Washington and his army. Together they had 4 children:  Oliver, Mary, Samuel, and William. Samuel graduated from Yale in 1758 and became a Colonel in the Continental Army, Major General of the Connecticut Militia, and eventually succeeded his father as Secretary of the State, 1796-1809.  In 1781, Samuel retired as “General Wyllys” and they moved back to Connecticut to assist his father. They resided at the famous Wyllys estate in downtown Hartford, home to the majestic white oak tree famously known as the Charter Oak. In 1796, his father was buried at Main and Gold Streets in Hartford in what is now known as the Ancient Burying Ground. This area adjoins the First Church of Christ, established by Thomas Hooker. Ruth Wyllys died on September 2, 1807, and was interred in the Ancient Burying Ground. Her husband died 16 years later and is also buried in the Ancient Burying Ground near his wife.   85 years later, the Ruth Wyllys DAR chapter was organized on Nov. 18, 1892, adopting the name of this prominent Hartford woman.  The chapter’s first Regent, Emily Seymour Goodwin Holcombe, spearheaded the chapter’s first project:  to restore the Ancient Burying Ground. In just four years, the Ruth Wyllys Chapter significantly improved the site. They preserved and restored headstones and, in 1896, had the grounds enclosed with a wrought-iron fence designed by renowned architectural firm McKim, Meade & White. Chapter members also worked to clear the slums that existed along adjacent Gold Street at that time. Mrs. Holcombe came to be known as the “Gold Street Lady," and was granted the rare privilege of being laid to rest in the Ancient Burying Ground, along with her husband and daughter.                        
The Wyllys Family Estate, Hartford The famous Charter Oak tree
stood on the Wyllys estate
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