Saturday, November 19, 2016

Society Saturday - Flight of the WASP

At our recent Colonial Dames 17th Century meeting, we met Amy Danford-Klein.  She gave a most interesting program about her research into the Women's Airforce Service Pilots, or WASP's.  She has researched them extensively, has spoken with some of them who are still alive, and has written a screenplay that she hopes to have produced.

The Women's Airforce Service Pilots were formed during World War II in response to the independant efforts of Jacqueline Cochran and Nancy Harkness Love.  They both had separate ideas of what was needed, and approached it through different channels, but the end result was the WASPs.

World War II was a time when women stepped up to fill traditionally male roles while the men were off in combat.  The classic example is the "Rosie the Riveter" who worked in the factories.  WASPs were female pilots who stepped in to fill the void left when the male pilot went to combat.

Their role was to fly test planes, tow banners for target practice fly cargo and ferry planes.  They were trained the "army" way at Sweetwater, Texas, where they learned everything the male pilots did except for combat techniques.

Unfortunately, they were not officially a part of the military, and when WWII ended, they were simply disbanded.  Their records were sealed for 35 years, so few knew about them.  Gradually over the years, they have been granted increasing veterans' benefits including the ability to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Some interesting facts about the WASP are:

  • 25,000 women applied, 1830 were accepted and 1074 earned their silver wings.
  • They had to pay their own way to and from their training base.
  • Altogether they flew 60 million miles in 77 types of aircraft.
  • 38 were killed in service to their country but received no military honors.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Society Saturday - Inaugural Meeting of Descendants of Cape Cod and theIslands

A brand new society, the Descendants of Cape Cod and the Islands, held their inaugural meeting on the cape.

We met at the Dan'l Webster Inn in Sandwich. This was a typical New England Inn and they were very welcoming.

Our first event was a meet and greet on Friday evening.  There were several members there who I had not meet before, along with spouses and other guests.

We had our inaugural business meeting on Saturday morning.  Founder Shari Worrell did a marvelous job getting us off and running.  We were proud to announce that we have 125 members honoring 133 ancestors.  Several members have proven more than one ancestor, one has proven 21!

After the business meeting, we walked down the street to the Sandwich Glass Museum.  There we learned the history of this cape industry and had a glass blowing demonstration.

One of us even got the chance to assist the glass maker.

We found a seafood restaurant for lunch where the pagers looked like lobsters.  And of course, I had a "Lobstah Roll".

We were on our own in the afternoon.  This was spent shopping at an old fashioned general store, a bookstore with floor to ceiling books, and just walking in this quaint New England town.

At dinner, we were entertained by local historian Jim Coogan.  He is an expert on Sandwich and Cape Cod history and had many interesting stories to tell.

The weekend was a lot of fun and I can't wait to go back next year.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Society Saturday - Spies at Mount Vernon

The National Project of the Daughters of American Colonists is to fund the production of a smartphone app for visitors to Mount Vernon. At our fall board meeting, we were able to try it out.

I have been to Mount Vernon several times, but this trip was a little different.  First, we had a guided tour of the mansion plus a visit to the cellars (not normally included).  We saw where Martha Washington kept her food supplies and learned about the various beverages enjoyed by their guests.  Unfortunately, there were no photos allowed inside, so all I have is an exterior view.

And a view of the river from the mansion.

During lunch we were entertained by Nelly Parke Custis, step-granddaughter of George Washington.  She told us about her life on the plantation.

Then we set off to try our hand at spying.  While George Washington's spies operated primarily in New York, and Connecticut, we were able to learn some of their techniques.  The smartphone app starts by giving us our assignment by Agent 711 (Washington himself).  To complete it, we had to travel to various locations on the estate, find secret messages, use invisible ink, eavesdrop on British troops, encode secret messages, and signal for message pickup.  All without being caught!  Since we were operating in secret (and it was pouring rain at the time) I don't have any pictures of us on our mission.

I can show you that I completed the mission and am ranked in the top 10 spy list.

We concluded our visit with a tour of the mill and distillery on one of Washington's adjacent farms.  He operated the mill to make a profit with wheat flour, and to provide corn meal to the slaves and farm animals.

The distillery was recently restored and is fully operational.  They even sell the peach and apple brandy in the gift shop.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Society Saturday - Yorktown Day

The Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America held their fall board meeting in Yorktown, Virginia to coincide with the Yorktown Day celebration.  Our hotel was right on the York River with a lovely view from each room.

Our first stop was the Grace Episcopal Church - originally built in 1697.

Several prominent people are buried in the church cemetery including Thomas Nelson (hero of Yorktown) and Nicolas Martiau (Huguenot founder of Yorktown).


The church was originally built of marl (center) from the York river bank, then reinforced over the years.

Our next stop was the Rosewell Ruins.  This was the former home of Mann Page and his descendants, all prominent men of early Virginia.  Thomas Jefferson was a family friend and frequent visitor and is said to have  penned part of the Declaration of Independance while staying there.

The mansion was destroyed by fire in 1916 and is currently the site of an ongoing archeological project.

Drawings and models at the visitor center show that it was quite a mansion when it was built.

The next day was Yorktown Day - the 235th anniversary of the surrender of the British.  There were several wreath layings and other patriotic celebrations throughout the day.  A parade down main street was led by a group of reinactors and consisted of several patriotic groups.

This was followed by a ceremony at the Victory Monument with representatives from several patriotic groups, as well as the consul from France.  A huge wreath was placed on the monument.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Society Saturday - Baltimore and the War of 1812

The National Board of the US Daughters of 1812 spent a day touring some historic sites in Baltimore.

Our first stop was at Fort McHenry, site of the August 1814 bombardment that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the "Star Spangled Banner".

We learned what life was like during the past 200 years of the fort's existence, saw the soldiers' quarters, looked out over the ramparts, examined the cannons, and of course, saw where the flag stood.

That afternoon, we visited the Star Spangled  Flag house, where we learned all about Mary Pickersgill, and how she made the flag.   There is a museum next door with a wall showing how big the flag actually was - 30 x 42 feet.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Society Saturday - Columbus Day 2016

It was a beautiful day in Washington DC when several patriotic and historical groups gathered to celebrate the 524th anniversary of Columbus landing in the new world.

The Children of the American Colonists were represented by their National President and President General, along with a few members.

The National winner of the NSDAR Columbus Essay is the State President of Pennsylvania CAC.  She read her essay to the crowd.

Then all of the organizations presented their wreaths.

thanks to NCCA and Susan Meer for the photos.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Society Saturday - Feeding the children of Haiti

To celebrate the 126th anniversary of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, every chapter was asked to do a community service project this week.  Our chapter chose to go to Feed My Starving Children.

This is a non-profit agency that uses volunteer groups to pack food that is sent to third world countries.  The food is dried rice, soy, vegetables and a vitamin powder. Because of the recent hurricane Matthew, the food we packed was sent to Haiti. 

Several members of the Isle a la Cache chapter DAR, along with members of the Pierce Downer C.A.R., had a fun and productive morning for our #DAR #dayofservice. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Society Saturday - Heritage Weekend

The Illinois Heritage Alliance held their Fourth Annual Heritage Weekend last week.  This year, there were 18 societies represented, inlcuding a few new societies - new to the state or just new to the weekend.

Members gathered Friday evening for a meet and greet.  This is always a good opportunity to meet new people and reacquaint with old friends.

Saturday morning started with a color guard supplied by the local Sons of the American Revolution chapter.  We had a color guard from a local Naval Sea Cadet unit on Sunday morning.

Each Society held their meeting in an open format so that others (especially prospective members) could attend.  They gave basic information about their society, such as dates and locations of meetings, and membership requirements, in addition to conducting their own business.

Everyone joined together for lunch and dinner on Saturday.  Our luncheon speaker was Betsy Jones, the Governor General of the National Society Sons and Daughters of the Pilgrims.  She attended Heritage Weekend as part of her official visit to the Illinois Branch.  She gave an entertaining talk on the "Colorful Ladies of Tombstone".  It was an entertaining look at some of the early residents of that famous old western town.

Our speaker that evening was Kathryn Harris.  She gave us a first person interpretation of Elizabeth Keckley, who was the dressmaker for Mary Todd Lincoln.  We learned another aspect of that first lady.

On Sunday morning, there were 6 more meetings.  Everyone went home with a sense of satisfaction after that weekend.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Society Saturday - Children of the American Colonists meet in Lexington

The 76th Annual General Assembly of the Children of the American Colonists was held in Lexington, KY.

These were cupcakes!

Our "Fun Day" began with a trip to the Kentucky Horse Park.  There, the members (and adults) learned about horse racing, and the history of domesticated horses.  Some went for horseback rides.

The afternoon was spent at Spindletop estate.  This is the private club for Alumni of UK.  We enjoyed a picnic buffet, swimming, and touring the house.

In the evening, members enjoyed pizza and swimming, then had fun in the hospitality room.  As usual, all participated in making a Christmas gift to be delivered to our veterans in December.

On Saturday, we conducted the business meeting.  National President Reagan Zolman did an excellent job of presiding.

The meeting ended with a memorial service for one Honorary President General and several Life Promoters who died this past year.  Anthony P. played taps.

In the afternoon, we traveled to the Jack Jouett House.  Jack Jouett was known as the "Paul Revere of the South".  He traveled 40 miles to warn the Virginia legislature that British Dragoons were on the way.  After the Revolutionary War, he retired to Versailles, Kentucky.  Our CAC National Project this year was to place a marker and flags at his house.  We dedicated the marker and flags on a beautiful sunny (and warm!) afternoon.  After the dedication, we enjoyed refreshments provided by the Kentucky Daughters of the American Colonists.

In the evening, we held our Candlelight Banquet.  Awards were given out, we were entertained by the singing of member Molly M., and new officers were installed.

Reagan is now a Kentucky Colonel.
New Life Promoters

The evening ended with fellowship and plans to attend next year's General Assembly in Missouri.