W3R-US Bulletin April 2022

May 3rd, 2022 Bulletin

The Bulletin

A monthly publication of The National Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association


APRIL 2022           On the Web: www.w3r-us.org           Vol. 2, No. 4


 

 Grand Reconnaissance Helped Decide Allies’ Next Move

National Chair Larry Abell and three other officers won new two-year terms April 23 during the Annual Meeting of W3R-US. Also re-elected were Recording Secretary Jeff Canning, Corresponding Secretary Elaine Lawton and Treasurer Dave Meredith. Bruce Donald was elected Vice Chair, succeeding Julie Diddell. 

Re-elected to three-year terms on the Board were Bill Conley, Carol “Sam” Meredith, Dave Meredith and Nicole Yancey. Newcomers Lynn Briggs and Brad Fay were elected to three-year terms. 

A full report on the Annual Meeting, held at the Somerset County Business Partnership in New Jersey, will appear in the May edition of The Bulletin, along with a roundup of associated events.  

French Exchange Students Visit Port Tobacco, Learn about Trail

 A presentation about the Trail by W3R-US officers in historic Port Tobacco, MD, was a highlight of a week spent by French exchange students in the Washington, DC, area. The 30 students, from Saint-Omer, France, also spent a day at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, visited Annapolis and toured the Anderson House, the national headquarters of the Society of the Cincinnati in Washington, during their visit from March 30 to April 6, 2022. For a change of pace, they attended a baseball game one evening. 

The Port Tobacco component of the trip began with a visit to St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church, whose congregation dates from the mid-17th century. A dinner party for the students was hosted by a member of the Port Tobacco Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Candice Quinn Kelly and her husband, Edwin Kelly, own Chandler’s Hope in Charles County, MD, the birthplace of Archbishop Leonard Neale, who established the Visitation Convent in Georgetown and Carmelite Convent in Baltimore. The archbishop, who succeeded John Carroll as archbishop of Baltimore in 1815, and all seven of his brothers were sent to Saint-Omer or elsewhere in Europe to study for the priesthood. 

Participants in the dinner party at Chandler’s Hope gather for a photo at the historic site.
Photo by John R. Quinn

Some of the adults at the party were dressed in Colonial period costumes. The dinner menu consisted of Southern Maryland fried chicken, Southern Maryland crab cakes, assorted salads, fresh vegetables and a popular assortment of desserts. 

Port Tobacco is located in horse country, so after-dinner activities included a demonstration of how an aristocratic lady rode side saddle. Costumed historians presented an interactive skit for the visitors. 

Larry Abell, W3R National Chair, gave a presentation on the Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail, focusing on how the French assisted with the U.S. victory at Yorktown, VA, in 1781. Elaine Lawton, National Corresponding Secretary, discussed the Trail through Southern Maryland. Wayside signs were reviewed with the students and they were in awe that they stood in the 1781 footsteps of French soldiers. 

After a second helping of dessert, the students received favors that included National Park Service Rochambeau posters rolled with ribbon. Attached were silk poppies to represent French and Belgian fields and fallen soldiers of World War I. Attached to the posters were W3R-US logo pens – the perfect touch for an evening of history. 

The students went shopping at National Harbor, a convention and entertainment center in Southern Maryland across the Potomac River from Alexandria, VA, the next day before heading to New York City.

– Elaine Lawton, National Corresponding Secretary 

 

Yancey Elected to Board of Le Souvenir Français 

Nicole Yancey File Photo

W3R-US Board member Nicole Yancey has been elected to a three-year term on the Board of the American Society of Le Souvenir Français Inc. She will also serve as Regional Coordinator for Yorktown and Virginia. Nicole is W3R-US’ Liaison to France, chairs our Association’s Franco-American Committee and was elected this month to a new three-year term on the Board of W3R-US. 

Nicole served as an Honorary Consul for France for 25 years and has been awarded the French Legion of Honor, the French National Legion of Merit and the Gold Medal of the Renaissance Française for “Culture, Solidarity and Francophonie.” She considers the creation of the French Memorial in Yorktown to be her proudest achievement. 

Nicole was asked by various agencies of the American and French governments to assist in organizing and promoting activities on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean for the U.S. Bicentennial celebration, 1976- 83 (Treaties of Paris and Versailles). In 1981 she organized the events for the 200th anniversary of the victory at Yorktown, and again in 2006 for the 225th anniversary. She has acquired a lifetime of knowledge about the French Alliance and maintains ongoing relationships with scholars, agencies, the military and other key partners both stateside and in France. 

She is a founding member of W3R-US and was the founding chair of the W3R-VA chapter. For nine years beginning in 2000, she worked closely with the French community in the United States and abroad to lobby Congress to have the Washington- Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail officially designated by the National Park Service, which it was in 2009. 

Each year since 1989 she has organized the ceremony at the French Memorial monument on the Yorktown Battlefield on Surrender Day, October 19, and was instrumental in having it created and installed there, having been mandated by the former French Ambassador to the United States, Emmanuel de Margerie, to plan and oversee the construction and dedication of the memorial in 1989. 

She has also been involved in the creation of a new statue of General Rochambeau for the Yorktown waterfront, which was unveiled on Oct. 18, 2021. The sculpture, which joined earlier statues of General Washington, Admiral de Grasse and General Lafayette, was a joint project of Les Amis de Rochambeau, The American Friends of Lafayette, W3R-US and the Washington- Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail. 

Born in the Berry region of France and raised in Orleans, Nicole has worked with the Holocaust Museum to recount her family’s (Gugenheim) experience during the Occupation. She has an ardent and personal commitment to the Franco-American Alliance, which has endured from the American Revolution through the World Wars to today. 

Membership Memo

Welcome to all of our new members! Thank you to all of our renewing members!

This month we are pleased to welcome the Oakland (NJ) Historical Society as a new organization member. Its mission is to support the preservation and interpretation of the history of the Van Allen House and Colonial Dutch life in Oakland.

“I remember several years ago, costumed marchers passed by the house,” President, Klaus Angermueller said. “They were coming from Rhode Island and headed to Yorktown, VA, as they commemorated the 1781 march to Yorktown.”

The Van Allen House is listed on the W3R-US Web site as a site on the Trail. It is under renovation currently and therfore it is temporarily not open to the public.

W3R-US welcomes the Oakland Historical Society. To learn more, please visit: oaklandhistoricalsociety.org

New members are always welcome and membership renewal season continues. Please visit: W3R-US Membership or print the membership form, Individual Membership form W3R-US, and mail it with payment.

Julie Diddell, National Membership Committee Chair

  Museum Highlights Diversity of Revolutionaries

The Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia is a major institution with a large collection of artifacts, well-displayed and interpreted. It develops and publicizes pamphlets, research reports, live presentations and videos on many aspects of the American Revolution. I lived nearby for decades and was both a visitor and a donor. Here are links to two of the museum’s series, which support the theme that many communities and individuals were important for the success of the American Revolution.

Meet the Revolution: The museum works to answer questions about who was involved in the American Revolution. In the Meet the Revolution series, you will hear compelling stories about the diverse people and complex events that sparked America’s ongoing experiment in liberty, equality and self-government from costumed historical interpreters whose work revolves around helping us get to know these important historical figures. Please click here to Meet the Revolution Today!

Artisan Field Trips: Have you ever wondered what, exactly, a Revolutionary-era blacksmith’s day-to-day work looked like? Or how everyday products such as books and shoes were made? In the 1700s, young people served seven-year apprenticeships to learn skilled trades. Just like today, people had specialized jobs. The Artisan Field Trips feature video interviews with living history artisans and makers as they demonstrate their Revolutionary-era crafts. Please click here to Start Watching Now!

– Ralph Nelson 

 Connecting with Local French Communities

I hope you continue to enjoy The Bulletin and find it helpful in keeping abreast of the activities of The National Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association on numerous fronts (so many that this edition is being published later in the month than usual). Thank you for your assistance, suggestions, comments and otheLe Réservoir is a monthly social newsletter that covers events of interest to the French and Francophile community in Washington, DC, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware. It is supported by the Maison Française, Consulate of France in Washington and Villa Albertine. Among other content, it includes opportunities to meet like-minded people and get involved with French and Francophile communities in your area; a calendar of upcoming cultural events and entertainment; and opportunities to watch the best of French cinema and television in the United States. A recent edition included a preview of the French presidential election and details on how to vote. To sign up, please click the link in the box below.

For additional information about the French and Francophile community, please visit: ambafrance.us.org@gmail.com

-Nicole Yancey, Liaison to France and Franco-American Committee Chair 

An Invitation: Visit Our Online Store

Director Sam Meredith, Chair of the Earned Income Committee, invites shoppers to visit the W3R-US online store. The newest merchandise includes logo shirts and pens. Suggestions for merchandise should be sent to Sam at memogroup1127@gmail.com
To visit the online store: https://w3rus.qbstores.com/a/login
In another online shopping matter, you can support W3R-US when you shop at Amazon. Here’s how. Instead of going to amazon.com:

  1. Enter smile.amazon.com in your browser address bar.
  2. Shop and place your order.
  3. Amazon will donate a percentage of your order to W3R-US.

Tracking Volunteer Service

Director Sam Meredith, who compiles the volunteer hours worked by W3R-US members, encourages state and committee chairs, as well as individuals, to report at least an estimate of their hours monthly, if possible, even if they have not been reporting regularly. Hours include meetings, phone calls, advocacy, research, planning, events, travel and reading emails and documents from the national office, among other items, both national and state/local, and the totals affect efforts to obtain grants and other external support for W3R-US. Sam’s template includes space for donations in kind (such as office space and computer use). Please email your monthly reports to Sam at memogroup1127@gmail.com by the fifth of the following month.

From the Editor 

This edition was delayed so it could include at least a couple of headlines from the Annual Meeting and Election April 23. A full report will appear in the May edition.

I hope you continue to enjoy The Bulletin and find it helpful in keeping abreast of the activities of The National Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association on numerous fronts. Thank you for your input, assistance, suggestions, comments and other kind words. To keep up with all news of our Association, please check our Web site regularly: www.w3r-us.org

State leaders are invited to provide information (by the end of each month for the following month’s edition) about their activities, which are presented in a separate section of The Bulletin. (Please see the reports beginning on Page 7.)

Your comments, suggestions and questions are welcome. Please email me at
historicaljeff@aol.com

Jeff Canning, National Recording Secretary

 State Report

 New York: Digging into Rochambeau’s Headquarters

The first phase of the Big Archeology Dig at the Odell House Rochambeau Headquarters began April 13 when a five-member team from Hargen Archeology Associates dug 32 holes, carefully lifting each scoop of soil and putting it through a large screen sifter. In addition to the holes, about four feet deep and two feet in diameter, two large trenches were dug with the help of equipment from the Town of Greenburgh’s Department of Public Works. By the end of the day, the team had found 18th century pottery, the location of the 19th century privy, the foundation of an icehouse and a beautifully preserved kitchen hook for hanging pots over the fire.

By examining the soil stratification, the archaeologists were able to understand what the original topography was. That knowledge will inform eventual landscaping plans so that any important places are not inadvertently destroyed. This is a vital part of the process to landscape the site of General Rochambeau’s headquarters during the summer of 1781 and make it usable for events and education.

The team will return for more digging and then will compile a full report of all the findings as restoration of the historic site continues.

DAR grant: A $5,000 matching grant from the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution has been awarded to help with the cost of restoring the windows and doors of the Odell House. The Friends of Odell House Rochambeau Headquarters will provide the match for a total of $10,000. We expect that work to be completed this year. A big thank you to Philomena Dunn and the Hudson River Patriots Chapter of the DAR.

Susan Seal, Board President, Friends of Odell House Rochambeau Headquarters

 Virginia: Identifying and signing the route

W3R-VA is nearing completion of an extensive project to identify the precise historic route and driving route of the Trail in Virginia. Discussions are ongoing with Trail Administrator Johnny Carawan and the Virginia Department of Transportation to begin re-signing the Trail in the Old Dominion State and adding signage.

The Virginia legislation for the Trail recognizes only the route from Mount Vernon, the site from which Washington and Rochambeau together departed on their three-day journey to Yorktown to begin the siege. The actual trail in Virginia begins farther north, at the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Arlington.

Presentation to DAR: Dave Meredith, W3R-VA Chair and W3R-US Treasurer, and his wife, Sam Meredith, a member of the Boards of Directors of both W3R groups, presented a program on W3R March 12 for the Augustine Warner Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, in Gloucester County. The 12 attendees were briefed on the status of the organization and its multifaceted programs and projects. The program included a slide presentation and a showing of the informative film, “Battle of Yorktown Animated Map.” As a result, the chapter enrolled as one of our newest nonprofit group members. Welcome, ladies!

To learn more about the map, please visit:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1p4sYzgLnUuR1xC8ZN90kmyEc7SJJda3s/view

To download and view the briefing slides, please visit:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1IDk5EKXMQZAHJlXB9NW8lrwA23Z0UD3u/view

Revolutionary experience: A coalition of historical groups is planning Gloucester 1776: A Revolutionary Experience, a free educational and interactive program, in mid-May. The program is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 14, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, May 15, rain or shine, at the Gloucester Museum of History, 6539 Main St., Gloucester.

Activities will include cannon and musket firings, military music, soldier and civilian life, Colonial cooking and activities for children.

The program is made possible in partnership with the Gloucester Historical Society, Friends of the Museum, 7th Virginia Regiment and Gloucester Parks, Recreation & Tourism.

Dave Meredith, State Chair

New Jersey: Sowing Seeds for Historical Harvest

W3R-NJ board members are busy planning, coordinating and collaborating with historic sites and other organizations for several events scheduled for the next months. To keep abreast of developments, please visit our Web site: www.W3R-NJ.org

Julie Diddell, State Chair

Delaware: Building Relationships

W3R-DE has been focused on building several new alliances.

  • We have created a solid relationship with the Hispanic community. Led by Wilmington Councilwoman Maria Cabrera and her city contacts, we are sharing W3R-US and National Park Service research on Hispanic heroes of the Revolutionary War. The city’s Latino community sits along the Trail in the St. Paul’s Church area. Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long’s staff is monitoring our efforts.
  • Working alongside Julien Isher and the City of Wilmington, we will be dedicating a new Lafayette historical sign in Old Brandywine Village. The sign will mark his 1824 return visit to the Quaker flour millers of Wilmington. Peg Tigue chaired this project.
  • We continue to reach out to local school districts along the Trail on ways to include Revolutionary War history in their crowded curriculum. Meeting with the staff of the Hispanic immersion school at Aspira Academy was a significant inroad.
  • We continue to discuss with St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church (along the Trail) the creation of an inner-city youth color guard to participate in our W3R ceremonies. Brenda Burns, director of music ministry at the church, continues to assist here.
  • We coordinated with Wreaths Across America to schedule our second annual ceremony Dec. 17, 2022, which will highlight inner-city veterans. W3R-DE is the first WAA group to focus on an inner-city population along the Trail and they are very supportive of our initiative. Jeanie Hayes of the Wilmington Senior Center Board assists.
  • We continue to meet monthly with the leader of the Cooch’s Bridge Battlefield/Home. Thanks to Vince Watchorn, president of the Friends of Cooch’s Bridge, for his efforts. Please see below for more information.
  • Inspired by W3R-US Director Ralph Nelson’s creative suggestions, we have discussed with the Delaware Boy Scouts of America the creation of Scout cleanup projects along the Trail.
  • Vice Chair Peg Tigue continues her efforts to share the W3R story with the charitable organizations of inner-city Wilmington by hosting quarterly meetings. We are targeting “Reeds Refuge” as a city student-focused organization with great interacting potential.
  • Our new 2022 Summer/Fall speaker series continues to grow with new topics. Peg Tigue is coordinating this venture.

Sharing Cooch History: W3R-DE is working with the new supervisor of the recently purchased Cooch home. We have been sharing the history of the 15 monuments, historical signage and flag poles that had been erected by the Pencader Heritage Area Association on the adjacent state battlefield property since the original state purchase in 2006. We have been meeting monthly with Vince Watchorn, president of the newly formed (2021) Friends of Cooch’s Bridge. The Cooch home is undergoing a massive 12-month state structural repair project. Upon completion, it is anticipated that a variety of stories of the entire diverse Colonial-era population of Newark will be shared. W3R-DE anticipates a wonderful relationship with the new Friends organization.

To learn more about the battle and home, please visit:
https://history.delaware.gov/2018/12/12/state-of-delaware-to-acquire-historic-property-at-coochs-bridge-the-site-of-the-states-only-revolutionary-war-battle/

Ambassador to visit: Final preparations are in progress for a scheduled May 11 visit by Philippe Etienne, Ambassador of France to the United States, to Howard High School of Technology in downtown Wilmington. The program will focus on Lauzun’s Legion of the French army, which was stationed in Wilmington after the 1781 victory at Yorktown, and is part of an effort to share the story of the Revolutionary War with urban youth. In a related development, Dr. Iris de Rode, author, lecturer, scholar and historian of the Washington-Rochambeau Trail, has indicated her eagerness to support W3R-DE’s outreach to urban students and plans to visit Delaware for a presentation.
The scheduled May 11 visit by the French ambassador to a high school in Wilmington, DE, has been postponed because of the world situation. 

Band on the battlefield: W3R-DE Board member George Widger filmed the Fort Mifflin Guard Band on the Cooch’s Bridge battlefield April 2. The event was sponsored by the volunteers of the Pencader Heritage Museum. George later shared with me a display about his efforts to preserve an abandoned Revolutionary War cemetery in Pigeon Run. Fifteen veterans of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 were buried before the Presbyterian Chapel burned down and wasn’t rebuilt. George has 15 18th-century ancestors buried there-proud Scotch-Irish immigrants to Colonial America. Pigeon Run Cemetery lies a few miles south of the Trail.

George Widger with the Fort Mifflin Guard Band. Photo by Bill
Conley

Award for supporting veterans: The Brian Conley Resiliency Center (Warriors Helping Warriors), a transitional housing facility for veterans established three years ago by the Conley family, will receive a Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary award in June. The Middletown center opened in May 2019 and almost 80 veterans have stayed with us for 1-15 months; 85 percent of them now live in permanent housing. We provide these proud men with food, clothing, assistance with VA medical care, job placement, family reunification and Social Security. The home was the vision of our son Major Kevin Conley, a U.S. Army engineer, who was 100 percent disabled as a result of his deployment to Afghanistan in 2010. The home is named in honor of our son Brian, who died after a 27-month battle with a brain tumor. We normally have nine men each night in the home, which is staffed 24/7 by a team of seven employees.

Bill Conley, State Chair