VASSAR observed Black History month by leading a ceremony at the Elam Baptist Church Cemetery in Ruthville. VASSAR, in 2008, placed a monument to the 26 Patriots of Color from the community at this same location. President Jeff Thomas gave greetings, and the Rev. Helen Washington-Randall, Pastor of Elam Baptist Church, served as Chaplain. Judith Ledbetter, Director of the Charles City County Richard M. Bowman Center for Local History, spoke on the history of these 26 Patriots and how they were identified. A descendant of one of the patriots also spoke at the ceremony. Paul Walden, VASSAR Public Education Chair, served as Master of Ceremonies. Regrettably, the turnout was small given the restrictions on public gatherings due to the pandemic. In the photos below, President Jeff Thomas and Judith Ledbetter speak at the event. Submitted by Paul Walden
WASHINGTON'S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATED IN WINCHESTER, VA BY THE COL JAMES WOOD II CHAPTER & THE FRENCH AND INDIAN SOCIETY
On 20 February, the Colonel James Wood II Chapter of the Virginia Society Sons of the American Revolution cosponsored with the French and Indian War Foundation a commemoration of George Washington's 289th birthday. This was a virtual event based in Winchester to honor the Father of our Country and the 1st President of the United States. He was a key figure in both the French and Indian War and the American Revolutionary War. During the presentation we had visits from James Wood (by Steve Resan), the founder of Winchester and his son James Wood II (by Brett Osborn) who were both well known by Washington and fought with him during the respective wars. George Washington spent a good portion of his young life in Winchester helping survey the Fairfax land grant for Thomas Lord Fairfax, as well as performing surveying work for Wood. James Wood (1707–1759), a large landowner in the area, was the first citizen of Winchester. He acquired a track of land "on the branches of the Opequon" and became the first court clerk of the county. He laid out 26 half-acre lots from his land with survey assistance laid out by Washington, which became Winchester. Wood was a Colonel in the Frederick County Militia and served with Colonel George Washington in the 1754 campaign against the French. In 1756, on land granted by James Wood, Colonel George Washington designed and began constructing Fort Loudoun, which was occupied and manned with guns until the start of the Revolutionary War when it was used to house British and Hession Prisoners of War. In 1758, Washington stood for election to the House of Burgesses. His campaign was managed by Colonel James Wood (Senior), who procured 160 gallons of alcoholic drinks and distributed them gratis to 391 voters in Frederick County. Wood was then chosen to sit in for Washington at the polls on election day. Washington won the seat and again in 1761, serving Frederick County until 1765. James Wood, Jr.
(1741-1813) met Washington through his father. Wood, like Washington was a surveyor and soldier. At age 19, he was appointed deputy clerk of Frederick County and represented the county in the Virginia House of Burgesses from 1766 to 1776 and in the Virginia Constitutional Convention in 1776. Wood was commissioned a captain of Virginia troops in 1774, eventually attaining the rank of Brigadier General in the Virginia Militia, serving General George Washington and the colonies throughout the war. In 1789 Wood was chosen as an elector from Hampshire District for the 1789 election for President. He was among 10 Virginia electors who cast a vote for his friend, George Washington as President. At the commemoration, we next heard from Scott Straub about Fort Loudoun. Colonel George Washington was the commander responsible for protecting the back country from incursions by the French and Indian allies. In 1756, the Virginia House of Burgesses approved the construction of a chain of forts to defend the colony's frontier. The Fort Loudoun at Winchester was selected by Washington as a strategic location for this installation. He drew the plans and supervised its construction. This included his oversight of the 103 foot deep well that was dug in 1757 and still exists at the site. The fort was built between 1756 and 1758 with Washington managing its construction from his office in Winchester until sufficient construction allowed him to move into his headquarters at the fort. In December 1758 he announced he was resigning his commission and returned to Mount Vernon where he stayed until the beginning of the American Revolutionary War. Attending the commemoration for the Colonel James Wood II Chapter were President Marc Robinson, Vice President Thomas "Chip" Daniel, Sean Carrigan, Paul Christensen, Dale Corey, Erick Moore, Brett Osborn, Dennis Parmerter, Allan Phillips, Eric Robinson and Jim
Simmons. Participating from the French and Indian War Foundation were President David Grosso, Dale Corey, Erick Moore, Jim Moyer, Steve Resan, Marc Robinson and Scott Straub. The picture is a collage of attending members provided by Thomas "Chip" Daniel.
On 20 February 2021, the Colonel James Wood II Chapter, Virginia Society Sons of the American Revolution participated in a virtual commemoration of the Crossing of the Dan, an important event that lead to victory in the American Revolutionary War. The crossing of the Dan River by General Nathanael Greene's Army from North Carolina into Virginia was a climatic moment in the race to the Dan. As winter descended on the Carolinas in December 1780, the British under Lt. General Charles Lord Cornwallis were on the verge of victory in the South. Charleston had fallen and the American Army had lost a significant battle at Camden, South Carolina. General Greene was sent to salvage the situation and arrived to find he was severely outnumbered and what remained of the American Army was starving, poorly clothed and barely equipped. Rebuilding the Army, he undertook a daring strategy of dividing his Army. On 21 December, he sent General Daniel Morgan into South Carolina with one wing of his
Army. Morgan was pursued by the British under Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton. He turned on the British at the Battle of Cowpens on 17 Jan 1781, destroying Tarleton's command and then retreated rapidly north into North Carolina. Gen. Green also turned his wing of the Army north, knowing Cornwallis would pursue quickly to destroy the American Army. This began the "Race to the Dan". Greene and Morgan moved rapidly north, destroying boats and ferry crossings with Cornwallis close behind, on occasion only hours behind the retreating Army. Gen. Greene aimed his Army for the Dan River, . a wide and important natural barrier near the line dividing North Carolina from Virginia. If he could cross the Dan, he would meet up with a large American force and prevent Cornwallis from crossing. Greene reached Boyd's Ferry on the Dan River. On 14 February 1781, he moved his men across the river, using a flotilla of all the boats they could find, carrying men, wagons, supplies and cannon to safety on the other side. There were no boats left on the North Carolina side of the river for Cornwallis to continue his pursuit. The Crossing of the Dan was a brilliant success. The American Army would go on to reconquer much of the South, while the British would march on to ultimate defeat at the Battle of Yorktown. The ceremony had 166 participants from nine States and 75 chapters of descendants of the American Revolution. Participating from the Colonel James Wood II Chapter based in Winchester were President Marc Robinson, Vice President Thomas "Chip" Daniel, Sean Carrigan, Paul Christensen, Dale Corey, Kelly Ford, Art LaFlam, Erick Moore, Brett Osborn, Dennis Parmerter, Allan Phillips, Eric Robinson and Jim Simmons. Additional participants included dual members Ken Bonner, Charles James, Bill Schwetke and Mike Weyler. Pictured are the participating members of the Colonel James Wood II Chapter courtesy of Thomas "Chip" Daniel.
On Feb. 5 the Williamsburg Chapter presented a Flag Recognition Certificate for exemplary patriotism in display of the American Flag to Three Rivers Country Club (TRCC) in James City County. Pictured L to R are Stephen McGuffin, Chapter Vice President; Samantha Chategas, Clubhouse Manager of TRCC; John Hilker, General Manager and COO of TRCC; and George Corbett, Chapter Flag Appreciation Chairman.
submitted by Harley Stewart
Photo by Karen Corbett