It was during the very beginnings of our organization that chapters were found to have members who were real daughters of patriots who had taken part in the great struggle for American independence. It was quite a distinction to have a member in any chapter. The Green Woods Chapter was so honored. Mrs. Mary Steele Cleveland was the daughter of John Steele, a Revolutionary Patriot from Connecticut. She was admitted to the National Society on December 2, 1897, as a charter member of the Green Woods Chapter. On her membership application she wrote, "I am in my eightieth year."
CTDAR state regents Marjorie Bissel Iffland, 1945-1948, and Lucia Tuttle Fritz, 1980-1983, were members of the Marana Norton Brooks Chapter.
Over the years, both chapters have carried out many historic preservation projects. Numerous markers have been placed to preserve historical sites or in memory of those soldiers of wars. Many trees, shrubs and laurel have been planted in memory of people of significance, to honor Arbor Day or to replace trees cut down. The list of these accomplishments is lengthy. Two examples follow. In 1929, a granite monument and four stone corner posts were placed on Wallens Hill in Winsted by the Green Woods Chapter. These were to mark the boundaries of the old cemetery where pioneers to the region were buried. In 1929, land was purchased at People's Forest by both chapters. Marana Norton Brooks acquired three acres and Green Woods acquired one acre. This land contained the site of an Indian village. The Green Woods Chapter contacted the CTDAR State Regent, Mrs. Charles B. Gilbert, and the CTDAR State Chairman of the American Indians Committee, Mrs. Allison Curtis, and persuaded them to cause a deteriorating wooden marker to be replaced with a stone plaque near the entrance to the trail to the village. It has the DAR insignia at the top and the following inscribed, "This portion of the People's Forest was given by the Connecticut Daughters of the American Revolution, 1929. Near this spot was an Indian Village."
Both chapters have been involved in education with many contributions to student scholarships. Since 1953, there has been active participation with the DAR Good Citizens Award Program. Currently, five area high schools are involved. Each year an award is presented to a deserving JROTC cadet at Torrington High School. In past years, the NSDAR American History Essay Contest has been sponsored in area schools. Each year, the chapter observes Constitution Week receiving proclamations from town officials and erecting educational displays in local libraries and other public venues.
Patriotic activity has been important from the start. The first work of the Green Woods Chapter was providing sheets and pillow cases, delicacies, and other items for soldiers of the Spanish American War. In 1907, a granite boulder with a bronze tablet was placed at the entrance of the Central Cemetery in Winsted to honor the soldiers of the American Revolution who are buried in the town of Winchester. In 1923, a similar memorial was erected at the entrance to Forest View Cemetery in Winsted to honor the memory of the sixteen soldiers from Winchester who died in World War I. Each December, the chapter sponsors a Wreaths Across America ceremony at the entrance to Forest View Cemetery. Current projects include sewing over one hundred tote bags for the Veterans Stand Down in Torrington and a rural cemetery clean-up in Winchester.
In 1921, The Marana Norton Brooks Chapter purchased a fountain from Olmstead Brothers of Brookline, Massachusetts, for $5,000. Its original use was as a watering trough for horses and stood in Center Square at the corner of Main Street and Water Street. It has moved twice since. First to Coe Park and then to its current location in front of City Hall in Torrington.
After over one hundred years of existence our DAR chapter continues, somewhat changed over time but adhering to the ideals of our founders.
On March 24, 1896, the Torrington Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution was organized. The creation of this chapter was largely due to the efforts of Marana Norton Brooks. Poor health prevented her from becoming the chapter's first regent. She died on January 27, 1905. Subsequent to that, the Torrington Chapter was renamed the Marana Norton Brooks Chapter in her honor.
The Green Woods Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution was organized on December 22, 1897. The name "Green Woods" was in memory of the Green Woods Turnpike; a road that passed through a luxuriant growth of pine, hemlock and laurel which remained green all year long. This was a primary route used for the transfer of troops and munitions between Hartford and Albany.
The Brooks - Green Woods Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution was formed on October 4, 2008, with the merging of the Marana Norton Brooks Chapter with the Green Woods Chapter.
DAR Monument in front of City Hall