The Story of Piety Hill Chapter’s
Gavel and Sounding Block
On October 8, 1935, Mrs. Mark Harris told this story:
“Approximately a hundred years before this community was called Piety Hill, a
couple of acorns found their way into the soil of this neighborhood. When these
tiny acorns became sturdy oaks, they fell under the axe of the pioneer in the
very early development of this community. One of them found its way into the 2½
inch planks of which one of the first frame houses was built about 1825 and
the other found its way into the beams of a barn.
“When Deacon Fish decided to locate north of what is now Birmingham, he obtained
this house and barn, which were in different locations, and brought them
together on what is now known as the Benedict Homestead. The old frame house,
which was built more than one hundred years ago, is still standing but with a
brick addition in the front of it. Three or four years ago the barn fell down
but even that did not destroy the oak timbers. The house has been remodeled this
year and out of it came some of the 2½ inch planks.
“This year, also, was organized our Piety Hill Chapter of the Daughters of the
American Revolution and concurrently was appointed our Regent, Mrs. William L.
Graham. Naturally it was the desire of the Chapter to confer upon her the
outward symbol of authority which should be passed on to each succeeding Regent.
Therefore, a committee was appointed comprising Mrs. Irwin R. Biggert and Mrs.
Mark Harris, to secure a gavel representative of such authority.
“In their desire to have the gavel taken right out of the very history of this
community, an effort was made to have these acorns represented in the gavel.
Through the generosity of Miss Clara Benedict, one of the beams from her old
barn and a plank from the house were donated and Mr. Mark Harris offered to hand
hew these old timbers into the gavel and sounding block which we have here. The
gavel was made from the plank coming from the house and the sounding block from
a beam of the barn.
“It is with real pride that I present to you, Madame Regent, this gavel and
sounding block which are representative of the traditions of the Daughters of
the American Revolution. May it be passed on to those who follow you in office
as their symbol of authority.”