Chapter History

JMADAR at the Beginning

Our chapter, the José Maria Amador Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (JMADAR), was formed in 1973 as the 151st chapter in the California Society. Our first organizational meeting was held February 10, 1973, in the Community Room of the Franklin Savings and Loan Association, 561 Main Street, Pleasanton, California. Mrs. Robert H Swadley, the recording secretary, was a strong leader in the formation of the chapter with a call for membership that began in 1972. The installation program was held on Saturday, May 19, 1973, in the Garden Room of the Pleasanton Hotel, 855 Main Street, Pleasanton. Mrs. Patrick J. Freeman was the first regent. We were officially accepted at a National Board meeting on June 19, 1973.

Our Namesake

We are named for José Maria Amador (December 18, 1794 – June 12, 1883), a nineteenth century valley pioneer who had much to do with history in this region. Amador was short of stature but cast a long shadow over the Amador-Livermore Valley. José Amador was the son of Sgt. Pedro Amador, a member of the Portola Expedition and one of the original explorers to discover the San Francisco Bay in 1769. Pedro and his wife, Ramona, traveled by mule from Mexico to San Francisco, and settled at the Presidio, where José was born in 1794. 

For many years, José followed his father’s footsteps in the military and in exploring and developing Northern California. In the 1820s, José participated in the charting and naming of the Sacramento, Stanislaus, and Mariposa Rivers. In the late 1820s, his career peaked with his appointment as Major Domo (superintendent) in the Spanish Army of the mission at San Jose.

In about 1830, José moved ‘inland’ when pirates threatened the San Francisco coast. He became one of the first white settlers in the valley. His contributions to its culture, development, and progress earned him the first land grant (over 16,516 acres) in the valley he loved. He called it Rancho San Ramon. José raised cattle and obtained permission to build a manufacturing company to produce harnesses, saddles, soap, and tools.

Major Amador passed away at the age of 88 and is buried at Old St. Mary’s Cemetery in Gilroy. On August 14, 1976, the JMADAR chapter marked the previously unmarked grave with one of two bronze plaques on a granite monument. Stephen Graham, the great-great-great grandson of José, and the Amador County Historical Society were involved in the marking of the grave site. It was a big occasion. In Dublin, a spring surrounded by Redwood trees where José roamed over a hundred and twenty-five years ago is marked as a tribute and memorial to José Maria Amador.


Today, the JMADAR chapter is devoted to education and patriotism. We participate in a wide range of events to serve the community. We take great pride in honoring local students who win Good Citizenship and American History Essay Awards in a special ceremony that we sponsor each year which is attended by families, local politicians, and teachers.

We strongly support our veterans. Over the years we have volunteered hours at the welcome desk and in the kitchen at the East Bay Stand Down at the Alameda County Fairgrounds. Yearly, in November, we march in the Pleasanton Veterans Day parade. We support many special events at the Livermore Veteran's Hospital on Veterans Day and Halloween. Last year, our chapter regent spoke at Pleasanton community events such as Memorial Day honoring fallen soldiers and POWs and the Fourth of July event recognizing women’s efforts in the fight for freedom. Our vice regent, along with her Canine Companions puppy-in-training, spoke on Veterans Day in the VA Hall ceremony marking the contributions of "Canines on the Battlefield and at Home."

We learn and have fun. Our chapter meetings involve field trips like a visit to the Rosie the Riveter Museum and special speakers on varied topics like the Vietnam War, the history of Women in the Valley, Seaweeds in Mendocino County, and Washington Spies. And, of course, we join together for socializing at a Holiday Luncheon, a Spring Luncheon, a 4th of July picnic, Girls Night Out, and casual lunches after monthly chapter meetings.

We welcome any woman over eighteen who has reason to believe she is descended from a person who served with loyalty the cause of American independence either in a military or civilian capacity.