The object at left looks like a police badge, but it is in fact a small metal plaque used to dedicate a Rockville tree to the memory of James Perry, one of the first Montgomery County Commissioners. 

The Janet Montgomery Chapter of the DAR, founded in 1909, was the first DAR chapter organized in Montgomery County.  (Its name honors Janet Livingston Montgomery, wife of General Richard Montgomery, after whom the county is named.)   On September 6, 1921, the Chapter dedicated ten trees at the County Courthouse in honor of the first County Commissioners (Montgomery County was created on September 6, 1776). 

What happened to Mr. Perry’s tree?  I’m not sure yet.  The tree’s marker was donated to the Historical Society in 1976, by the Janet Montgomery Chapter.  The trees – or maybe just Mr. Perry’s tree? – may have fallen victim to Rockville’s Urban Renewal in the 1960s.  Like the MAUS letters off the Masonic Hall (from a previous post), the marker could have been detached from its tree for many years before it was donated.   Oddly enough, James Perry is not listed as a 1776 Commissioner in A Grateful Remembrance, a political history of the county published in 1976.  Maybe his marker was removed because he didn’t actually belong?

P.S. Today’s post is brought to you by Arbor Day, celebrated on the last Friday in April.  As usual with these posts, the artifact started out simple – yay, it’s related to trees! – and turned out to need more research.  If I track down Mr. Perry’s – or any of the other gentlemen’s – trees, I’ll post an update.  I’m sure you can’t wait!

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