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Riverside CA Chapter-History

The Riverside Chapter Sons of the American Revolution was formed in 1943 during World War II. Carl Noble Helmick Sr provided the leadership which led to the chapters presentation ceremony on February 22, 1944 at the Historic Mission Inn in downtown Riverside, Ca.

Carl Noble Helmick was born April 29, 1907, at Cedar Vale, Kansas and began a 43 year career as a Boy Scout Executive in 1929. In 1937 Carl took a position with the Boy Scouts of America in Riverside Ca moving his wife Marguerite and his children to Riverside Ca. Carl had a strong interest in family history and began doing genealogical when he discovered the SAR in1940. On December 14, 1940 Carl was admitted into the California Society of SAR Los Angeles Chapter. The distance from Riverside to Los Angeles precluded Carl from be an active member in the Society and he was a member at large.

In Riverside he had met Mrs. Frank Miller, the widow of the Mission Inn founder. Mrs. Frank Miller was a member of the DAR, Aurantia Chapter and a State Officer. He would also become friends with Mrs. Joesph (Anna) Rice Boardwell, a native of Riverside and a member of the Rubidoux Chapter of DAR. Together these three individuals began to develop a plan to identify a group of men who would be eligible for membership into the SAR and ultimately become the founding members of the Riverside Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.

On constitution Day September 17, 1943, penny postcards were sent to a long list of prospective members in the Riverside area announcing a meeting that was going to be held at the Mission Inn. A. N. Bud Scott of San Francisco, President of the California Society of the Sons of the American Revolution was the guest speaker at the meeting. The meeting was exceptionally well attended and a vote was taken to determine if the group should proceed to form a new chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. The motion was well received and the group voted to move ahead with the formation of the chapter; officers were elected and a notice was sent to the National Headquarters of SAR which indicated the intentions of the Riverside Ca group of men and SAR membership.

On February 22, 1944 the California State Society President Bus Scott presented the new Chapter with its Chapter, at the first official meeting held at the Mission Inn. President Bud Scott presented the new chapter president with a gavel and Vermont Marble base on behalf of the San Francisco Chapter and the California State Society. President Bud Scott was the honored speaker and gave a talk on "George Washington." 

Richard Estate, a Riverside photographer took the installation photographs which later appeared in the the NSSAR National Magazine. The total dues collected by CASSAR was $10 of which $1 was returned to the chapter.

The son-in-law of Mrs. Marion Mills, DeWitt V. Hutchings was then the Master of the Mission Inn became a Charter Member of the Riverside Chapter along with his son Frank Miller Hutchings. The husband of Anna Boardwell, Joseph Shipp Bordwell and their son, Dr. Alden S. Bordwell also became charter members. The organist at the Mission Inn for more than 40 years Newell Parker's wife was in the Aurantia Chapter of DAR and his two sons, Newell and Wayne Parker became Charter members. John S Goddard, the controller at the Mission Inn became a Charter Member and was President of the Chapter. Mrs. J. W. Neblett, a member of DAR had three eligible sons and two of the three became charter members, Dr. Ed. Neblett and his brother Dr. Walter Neblett. The two sons of Mr. and Mrs Smith became charter members and two charter members whose names were not listed were serving in the war effort also became charter members.

Mr. L. Carl Andrews, who had joined the Maine Society of SAR in 1907, became a charter member by transfer. Mr Andrews later expressed a desire to create a protocol for funeral services for SAR members that had passed. With assistance from CASSAR and NSSAR Mr. Carl Andrews developed a format to honor such service. At his death, he was honored at the gravesite with a SAR official service in Olive Wood Cemetery.

The Riverside Chapter has a tradition of meeting for luncheons and met for lunch on the third Friday of the month at the Mission Inn from 1944 to 1963. After 1963 the chapter met at the Riverside Elk's dining room, and several other places and times. Meetings have been held in San Bernardino, Redlands, Riverside, Sound City, Hemet as well as March AFB, Norton AFB and the Canyon Crest Country Club Riverside.

The Riverside Ca Chapter has changed names multiple times over the years, from Riverside County Chapter from its inception in 1943 until about 1970. The Chapter had several of the members  that resided outside of the city, living in San Bernardino and the surrounding county. The name changed to Southern California Chapter in Riverside around 1970 until 1990. With the formation of the Redlands Chapter in 1992, the name changed to Riverside Chapter and in the mid-1990's to it the current name, Riverside Ca Chapter of SAR.


While there have been some suggestions that the Chapter should change its name again to be more representative of its vast membership, the majority of members still find themselves living in the greater Riverside County area and so the name has remained the same to this date.

In the early years it was customary for the chapter to host an annual picnic with the DAR on Flag Day. The Riverside CA Chapter would host a BBQ around the patio of Carl Helmick or Dr. Robert Bingham. This was also an annual fund raising event and the chapter would charge $2 for each meal to cover the expenses which cost about $1 and the rest of the money would go into the general fund of the chapter. The money raised at this event would cover the cost of the awards and medals that were presented by the chapter.

When the Freedom Train visited Riverside CA on March 9, 1948, the Riverside CA Chapter of SAR took on the project of being the host and providing tours for the visitors, this was the first major community outreach project for the chapter. Then, a Freedom Program was conducted at the Municipal Auditorium, Carl Helmick and inferred Waite were the co-chairmen of the program. Groups from the Sherman institute and the Hispanic and Black Communities were present.

In 1973, Mayor Ben Lewis appointed Carl Helmick a d Dale Rosenkrans to the Riverside Bicentennial Commission where they were the representatives for the Sons of the American Revolution, Riverside CA Chapter for three years. At the time the new Riverside City Hall had just been completed and an American flag was needed in the Ceremonial Room, which the Riverside CA Chapter loaned to the City of Riverside where the Bicentennial Commission met. The Chapter also loaned the city its large 13 star Betsy Ross flag on May 5, 1975. The used the Betsy Ross flag for 9 years before returning the flag to the Riverside CA Chapter on November 21, 1984 by then Mayor Ab Brown, who expressed his gratitude to the Riverside CA Chapter, SAR for its generosity in lending the flag to the city.

In a time capsule at Ben Lewis Hall, Riverside Community College, the 1976 membership roster of the Riverside CA Chapter was sealed inside by Oliver Smith of San Bernardino then Chapter President and Carl Helmick and was buried. 

Since it formation, the Riverside CA Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution has been actively involved in the communities of Riverside and San Bernardino and stretching out into eastern Los Angeles County and to the boarder of Northern san Diego County. The chapter continues this legacy today with its many youth based programs and its proud heritage of being actively involved in the community for which we live and serve.

In 2018 the chapter broke over 100 members and continues to thrive and grow as it strives to meet the challenges of it changing membership.

History updated 02/07/2018 based upon some new information found in the History Archives. 

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