Preserving the Heritage of the Signers, Since 1907

The Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence is a proud society dedicated to upholding the memory and works of our ancestors—and our history proves that mission.

The Beginnings of the DSDI

The first active steps toward the formation of the Society were taken on July 4, 1907, at the Jamestown Exposition near Norfolk, Virginia, where descendants of the signers of the Declaration of Independence had gathered upon invitation of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association and the Exposition officials to assist in an impressive celebration of the 131st anniversary of the “Immortal Declaration.” After the public exercises of the day over 150 descendants, representing a majority of the 56 signers, assembled in the Pennsylvania State Building on the Exposition grounds, and a temporary organization of the Society was effected. View scans of the minutes from that first meeting.

The meeting was then adjourned to October 19th when a large number of those who first assembled, and many others, met in the Maryland State Building on the Exposition grounds, adopted a Constitution, and elected officers for the current year to end July 4, 1908.

The officers elected were Mr. Albert McClellan Mathewson of New Haven, Connecticut, President; Mr. Thomas Jefferson Randolph of Norfolk, Virginia, Secretary; and Mr. William Shields McKean of Washington, D.C., Treasurer.

The First Congress of the Society was convened at Philadelphia on July 3 and 4, 1908, with meetings being held in the old State House, generally known as “Independence Hall,” in the room in which the Declaration of Independence was adopted and signed. The Society has continued an unbroken sequence of activities and meetings since then.

The Annual Congress of the Society shall be held every year in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, whenever possible in Independence Hall, on a Saturday between May 9th and June 13th or on a July 4th weekend.

Past President Generals | 1907 – Present

The DSDI wants to thank all those who have served as our President General. We greatly value their leadership and commitment to DSDI.

Judge Albert McClellan Mathewson1907-1909
Dr. Henry Morris1909-1912
Peter Vivian Daniel Conway1912-1913
Brigadier General Charles Lukens Davis1913-1915
W. Gordon McCabe1915-1918
Russell Duane1918-1922
Carl MaGee Kneass1922-1927
John Calvert1927-1930
Carl MaGee Kneass1930-1933
Russell Duane1933-1937
Major Samuel B. Scott1937-1939
Franklin Steele Wiltse1939-1941
Rev. Francis Hopkinson Craighall, Jr.1941-1945
Percy Hamilton Goodsell1945-1963
Marsden Churchill Smith1963-1964
Rear Admiral Schuyler N. Pyne, USN, Ret.1964-1967
Franklin Bache Satterthwaite1967-1972
W.B. Shubrick Clymer1972
Mrs. Lionel T. DeForest1972-1975
The Reverend Frederick Wallace Pyne1975-1978
Percy Hamilton Goodsell1978-1981
William Ward, IV1981-1984
Mrs. Philip Kennedy1984-1987
Rieman McNamara, Jr.1987-1990
Mrs. William G. Kalbfleisch1990-1993
Richard H. Corson, M.D.1993-1996
Allan M. Heyward1996-1998
Richard H. Stromberg2001-2004
Thomas G. Heyward, Sr.2004-2007
Donald Crosset Ward, Sr.2007-2010
John Curtiss Glynn Jr.2010-2013
Lawrence McMahon Croft2013-2015
Hope Middleton Wood2015-2017
Robert Bruce Warden Laubach2017-2020
Lucy Duke Tonacci2020-2022
Nancy McBride Wark2022-Present