Daughters of the American Revolution names its Women in History recipients for 2018

Color Country Chapter Daughter of the American Revolution's Women in History award recipients, L-R: Patrica Shoemaker-Glessner (2015) with Diane "Dixie Bell" Miller who is wearing the costume that placed 2nd in Best Dressed Lady single action shooting competition in the 2018 Huntsman World Senior Games , date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Valerie King, St. George News
ST. GEORGE — In recognition for years of going above and beyond in service to the community and history, Hortense McQuarrie Odlum and Diane “Dixie Bell” Miller were honored during the annual year-end luncheon of the Color Country Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution.
R-L: Color Country Chapter Member Diane “Dixie Bell” Miller presenting Hortense McQuarrie Odlum’s Women in History award to Teresa Orton, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers museum director, date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Valerie King, St. George News

The two women, Odlum posthumously, were presented with the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution Certificate of Award for Women in American History for having promoted some aspect of American history or significantly advanced the understanding of America’s past.

Odlum, a native of St. George, was born in 1891 and moved to New York City in 1916 with her husband Floyd where she began making her mark on the business world. In 1939, her first book, “A Woman’s Place” was published. It recounted her experiences as president of Bonwit Teller & Co. department store, saving it from bankruptcy and making it a leading fashion showcase for women.

That gained her a reputation as a successful business woman and features in many magazine articles about her accomplishments, despite scorn from her male counterparts who dominated the industry of the time.

However, Odlum was most known in St. George for being instrumental in the creation of the McQuarrie Memorial Hall, a museum dedicated to preserving early pioneer relics, photos and histories of the original families that settled Washington County under the direction of Brigham Young.

Portrait of Hortense McQuarrie Odlum currently hanging the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Museum, St. George, Utah | Image courtesy of Valerie King, St. George News

Not only did she donate $17,000 of her own money, but commissioned her personal architect to assist in the design and construction of the building named in honor of her pioneer grandparents.

It is currently manned by volunteers and owned by the Washington County Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. Every year on June 17 they observe Hortense McQuarrie Odlum day in her honor and her DAR recognition award and medal will be placed on display at the museum in the room where Odlum’s portrait currently hangs.  

The second woman to be celebrated was Miller, who helped facilitate the recognition of Odlum and was completely caught off guard with the surprise announcement made by chapter Regent Valerie King.

She has been a member of the Color Country Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution since 1991 and when she’s not working as a docent at the McQuarrie Museum, the cowgirl is probably busy winning multiple shooting competitions throughout the West, dressed with style in either Old West or Victorian apparel.

“It was pretty exciting to honor a Color Country Chapter member this year. She’s our very own Annie Oakley,” King told St. George News.

She said she was quite certain there has been no other 21st century cowgirl who has been recognized by the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution for her competitive single-action shooting skills, noting that Miller had competed and won many regional and national shooting competitions.

Miller even designed her own special action shooting rig that is known in the marketplace as the “Dixie Bell Rig.” She was inducted into the Single Action Shooting Society Hall of Fame in 2009.

“She stands out not only for her Hall of Fame acclaim but also for her authentic award winning costumes that she wears as a part of the competition,” King said.

“Dixie is definitely doing her part in preserving American history through her favorite pastime hobby.”

Diane Miller wearing her trademark “Dixie Bell” shooting rig that she sells, date and location unspecified | Photo courtesy of Valerie King,St. George News

This year, Miller competed in the Huntsman World Senior games in St. George for the 14th consecutive time, winning multiple medals (gold, silver and bronze) and placing 2nd for “Best Dressed Lady.” 

Miller’s recognition medal was pinned on by Patricia Shoemaker-Glessner, Color Country Chapter’s 2015 Women In History recipient, who turns 92 years old this year and King said is a force to keep up with.  She not only supports the DAR as a new member, she continues fundraising for many other local causes including Dixie Regional Medical Center, the Washington County Children’s Justice Center, Hope Pregnancy Care Center and the Dove Center.

“It was such a delight to have Pat Shoemaker-Glessner pin the Women in History medal on Dixie Miller this year,” King said.

The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution is a nonprofit, nonpolitical volunteer women’s service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history and securing America’s future through better education. Any woman 18 years or older who can prove lineal, bloodline descent from an ancestor who aided in achieving American independence is eligible to join.

For more information about the DAR and Color Country Chapter, contact colorcountrychapter@gmail.com or visit their website.

Email: apinckney@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews | @andrewjpinckney

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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