Welcome to the Baron DeKalb Chapter

image descriptionOn Friday, November 22, 1912, a group of women met at the home of Miss Catherine R. Dillon in Clarkston, Georgia, and formed the Baron DeKalb Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.

The chapter was named for Baron Johann de Kalb. He was neither a baron nor a Frenchman as his name implies. He was born June 29, 1721, Johan Kalb, sometimes called Hans Kalb, the son of a "sojourner and peasant of Huttendorf, Germany." After a little schooling in his native village, he became a waiter, and at the age of 16 left home to seek his fortune in France. By 1743 he had taken the name Jean de Kalb and was a lieutenant in the Regiment Lowendahl French Infantry. He trained in the military school of Marshall Saxe, called “the Professor of all the generals of Europe” by Frederick the Great.

During the Seven Years' War, he served as a lieutenant colonel in the French army. When the war was over, the Ministry abolished his office. As a secret agent appointed by Choiseul, he visited America in 1768-69 to inquire into the feeling of the Colonists toward Great Britain. He returned to France with a report favorable to the American Cause. Late in 1775, he received permission to volunteer in the army of the American colonists. He sailed with eleven other officers on the ship fitted out by the Marquis de Lafayette and arrived in Philadelphia in July 1777. The Continental Congress granted him the rank of major general, and in October he joined the Army.

De Kalb was with Washington at Valley Forge. During the spring of 1780, he received his first field command. He led the American army to relieve besieged Charleston, South Carolina. At the battle of Camden later that summer, he was mortally wounded and captured by the British. De Kalb died on August 18, 1780. He fought three hard years for America. He lies buried today in front of the Presbyterian Church in Camden. There in Camden in 1825, Lafayette laid the cornerstone of a monument to De Kalb. In 1837, a statue of him by Ephraim Keyser was dedicated at Annapolis, Maryland.