A monthly publication of The National Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association
FEBRUARY 2022 On the Web: www.w3r-us.org Vol. 2, No. 2
Travel App Moving Ahead
Contracts to develop a travel app for the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail have been finalized and work has begun. Funded by the National Park Foundation and through W3R-US’ Task Agreement with the Trail, the app will serve as a trip planner and feature a number of themed itineraries with seven hours of narrated stories and interviews associated with approximately 70-100 high-potential sites along the Trail. Trail Administrator Johnny Carawan is finalizing the long-awaited official Trail list of high potential sites. Secondary sites and other points of interest may be part of the app text but will not be narrated. The finished product will incorporate all the sites on the W3R-US Web site’s interactive map that meet the criteria set in the National Trail System Act of 1968.
Historians Dr. Iris de Rode and Dr. Robert Selig will write the scripts for the narrated stories associated with the selected sites. Lantern, the app developer, is providing storytelling training and support for them so these historical narratives will capture the attention and imagination of prospective visitors. Both scholars will utilize primary sources in diaries and journals to tell the stories, with Dr. de Rode telling many stories through French eyewitness accounts. Dr. Selig will also draw from many eyewitness sources and focus on the lesser known stories of the water trails, especially the Hudson River and Chesapeake Bay. STQRY will provide the app platform for the audio tour.
Envisioning the Future of W3R-US
A four-part series of values/vision/strategic planning workshops with the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement (DANA) will enable members of the Board of Directors and Leadership Council to plan more effectively for the future of W3R-US as the Association sharpens its focus and sets its priorities. Discussion topics during the series, which began Nov. 30, 2021, and concluded Feb. 2, 2022, included target audience; long-term impact; conditions needed to attain short- and long-term outcomes; organizational values; mission statement; vision statement; strategic goals; measures of success; human, material and financial resources needed to reach these goals; and next steps. DANA will review all the discussion and input during the four sessions and provide a draft strategic plan to the Board in advance of a fifth and final session, to be scheduled in March, with a goal of finalizing its approval. Of the 57 Board and Leadership Council members invited to participate, 34 attended at least one session and 12 attended all four.
Candidates Sought for Officers, Board of Directors
The terms of all five officers of W3R-US and 11 members of the Board of Directors will expire at the 2022 Annual Meeting (details to be announced), tentatively scheduled Saturday, April 23. While many are willing to continue in office, others have indicated that they are ready to move on to other forms of service. So, we are looking for some members in good standing who are passionate about the Trail and are willing to work hard and get their hands dirty on its behalf (no wallflowers, please). If you are interested in helping preserve a great, but little-known, piece of our history, or you know somebody who might be, please email name and contact information to Executive Director Ellen von Karajan, email@example.com, for an information packet on board service requirements, and a member of the Nominating Committee will be in touch. Any member of the organization can recommend a potential candidate but please request the information packet first. Thanks in advance.
The 2022 edition of the Committee, appointed by National Chair Larry Abell, includes Bill Conley, Shauntee Daniels, Elaine Lawton, Dave Meredith and Ingrid Wood, with me as Chair and Larry and Ellen ex officio. Thanks to Janet Lee Burnet, Julie Diddell and Blanche Hunnewell for their previous service.
– Jeff Canning, Nominating Committee Chair
Thanks to Our Volunteers
The definition of volunteer – an individual or group freely giving time and labor for community service. W3R-US is no less in need of volunteers than any other organization and, in many ways, with nine states and the District of Columbia (DC) as our extended community, W3R-US needs a variety of talented, experienced, energetic and enthusiastic volunteers!
To start our year off, we send many thanks to all the volunteers who have participated in the many events across our nine states and DC along the Trail. Our new year has started off with a very nice showing of volunteer hours; some people reporting 30, 60 and 100+ hours during January! Kudos! Great job! Many thanks!!
Please continue to send your volunteer hours to me each month at firstname.lastname@example.org by the fifth of the following month. – Sam Meredith, Volunteer Hours Committee Chair
During this Black History Month, we honor the brave patriots of African descent who helped secure our country’s liberty.
Welcome to all who join and renew membership in W3R-US. Your membership helps to support the work to celebrate this story.
– Julie Diddell, National Membership 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 email@example.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.
New Brochure to Engage French Audiences
The Franco-American Committee plans to create a brochure in French, geared to French audiences, about W3R-US and the Trail and is looking for events such as Les Journées du Patrimoine (Heritage Days) to distribute copies. Agreements have been received from the Rochambeau estate and the City of Vendome, the general’s birthplace.
We are also communicating with the Domaine de Montmarin near Saint Malo on the English Channel; classified as a Historic Monument, it is known for its 18th century shipyard where some of the Bougainville boats were built. It sponsors annual historical events with re-enactors, among them the Corps Royal de la Marine, which sailed to Newport, RI, in de Ternay’s fleet. Yorktown at Montmarin is the theme of the 2023 production.
Thanks to Blanche Hunnewell for funding the printing of the brochures.
Les Journées du Patrimoine allow visitors to see buildings and monuments that are usually closed to the public. The Days were created in 1984 by the French Ministry of Culture and take place annually during the third week of September, attracting 12 million visitors each year. For more information, please visit:
– Nicole Yancey, Franco-American Committee Chair
W3R-US Historian to Receive French National Order of Merit
Dr. Robert Selig, W3R-US Historian, has been nominated for the rank of knight in the French National Order of Merit. This prestigious honor recognizes his eminent work in the development of the Washington-Rochambeau Trail. The nomination was published in a decree signed by French President Emmanuel Macron Feb. 7, 2022, and the French Consul General has informed Nicole Yancey, Chair of W3R-US’ Franco-American Committee, that Dr. Selig will receive an official letter.
The French National Order of Merit (Ordre National du Mérite), founded in 1963 by President Charles de Gaulle, honors distinguished civilian and military achievements by French citizens and foreign nationals. The medal is tentatively scheduled to be presented to Dr. Selig during this year’s Yorktown Day ceremonies in Yorktown, VA, Oct. 19.
Two years ago, Dr. Selig was one of the recipients of La Renaissance Française medal but the award ceremony was canceled because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The award is now scheduled to be presented in early May at the Washington residence of the French Ambassador. La Renaissance Française, founded in 1916, recognizes persons who, in their countries, have promoted French language, culture, arts and science. It is awarded under the high patronage of the French President. Dr. Selig is recognized as a leading authority on France’s major contribution in helping the United States win its independence.
“Huzzah! or, in French, Pip-pip Hurrah!” Nicole said.
From the Editor
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 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 10.)
Your comments, suggestions and questions are welcome. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
– Jeff Canning, National Recording Secretary
Resolutions Note How Spain Blocked Aid to Cornwallis
The importance of French aid to the infant United States may not be widely known but the critical work of Spain in North America and the Caribbean is even less familiar. General Bernardo de Gálvez, commander of Spanish forces in Louisiana during the Revolutionary War, captured a British force in May 1781, preventing those troops from going to the aid of British General Charles Cornwallis and, in the process, dismantled a supply chain between the British ►
and their Native American allies, according to Hector L. Diaz, who portrays Gálvez. Mr. Diaz, who participated in a Bike and Kayak Tour ceremony in Baltimore in August 2021, drafted a resolution adopted by the Maryland Legislature in 1997 (please see Pages 6 and 7) about the importance of Hispanic efforts. With the help of Robert Reyes of W3R-Maryland, he shared this resolution, and a resolution drafted by educator Frank de Varona and adopted by the Florida Legislature in 1990 (Pages 8 and 9), with The Bulletin in response to a request from W3R-Delaware Chair Bill Conley for material to share with the Wilmington area’s Hispanic community about the role of Hispanics in the war for U.S. independence. (Please see the State Report from Delaware for more information.)
New Jersey: Nanticoke Tribe in Spotlight at Trent House
For W3R-NJ and our partners, February has been chock-full of educational and event planning and coordinating Zoom meetings. One Zoom was offered by The Trent House Association, which works in cooperation with the City of Trenton with programming, research and stewardship of the William Trent House Museum, an important site on the Trail. They produced a wonderful program Jan. 23, Ties That Bind: Nanticoke and Lenape Language and Revitalization, presented by Karelle Hall, a member of the Nanticoke Indian Tribe. Ms. Hall, a graduate student in anthropology at Rutgers University, is working to research and revitalize the ancient Nanticoke language. “Her methods to fill in the gaps and her laser-targeted effort to string together the all but lost Nanticoke language is cutting-edge and significant to the history of these first inhabitants of the land upon which the Trent House sits,” said W3R Leadership Council member and Trent House Association Treasurer Sam Stephens. Ms. Hall’s presentation offered a fresh and unique perspective for an audience that might thirst for knowledge about the Nanticoke Lenni Lenape Tribal Nation, its traditional language and the scholarly initiative to prevent it from becoming extinct. Check out the Trent House’s Web site: www.williamtrenthouse.org. Learn more about Karelle Hall on YouTube: Karelle Hall’s Foot Prints: Language Journey
W3R-NJ is proud to share a snip-it from the recent Westfield Chapter DAR Regent’s annual report. which was submitted to the New Jersey State Society of the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution. W3R-NJ Chair Julie Diddell is also the 250th Committee Chair for the Westfield Chapter DAR.
Huzzah to W3R-NJ Treasurer Galina Chernikova! For the past several months, Galina has taught herself how to make updates to the W3R-NJ Web site, www.W3R-NJ.org. Her work takes visitors to a 2022 Web site rather than one that was stuck in 2019.
Her work continues and Galina says, “I’ll be making some more minor changes, creating updates about upcoming events and posting photos of our events.”
Join us in thanking Galina for her perseverance to help W3R-NJ shine!
In other news, the W3R-NJ Board holds monthly Zoom meetings to work on details for 2022 events, have some hearty laughs and stay connected as a team that supports a vision to preserve and commemorate the important French-American alliance story that occurred in New Jersey. We welcome new members, sponsors and supporters. Stay tuned for event announcements in future editions of The Bulletin and on www.W3R-NJ.org.
– Julie Diddell, State Chair
New York: Odell House Focuses on Archeological Study
The Odell House Rochambeau Headquarters (OHRH) is launching its landscaping plan with an archeological study of the grounds in Hartsdale. “To design outdoor spaces, we need to know more about the early days of the property, from John Tompkins’ days in 1732 – ‘surrounded by friendly Indians’ – to 1781, when the house served as General Rochambeau’s residence, to the period of John Odell’s ownership, there are many things we could learn,” said Susan Seal, President of the Board. “We may find Native American artifacts, French regimental buttons, or even French wine bottles. From 1800 to 1820 the census listed enslaved people on the Odell farm. Where did they live? Are there remnants of their living quarters and daily lives?” Work will begin as soon as the weather allows.
Meanwhile, Steve Tilly and Associates is working on the final plan for the physical restoration of the house. The first step is a new roof and the restoration or replacement of windows and doors. The Boards of OHRH and the Town of Greenburgh (which includes Hartsdale) recently held a joint meeting to discuss a vision for a state-of-the-art museum.
Thanks to Westchester County Legislator MaryJane Shimsky, OHRH has been awarded county funding to study slavery at the site. Emily Yankowitz, the Ph.D. candidate at Yale who created the finding aids for Odell family documents now at the Westchester County Historical Society, will work with OHRH. Census data from 1790 to 1850 are being studied as well as the effect of the manumission laws on enslaved people and their descendants. A report is expected by the end of the year.
Historian Norm Desmarais, a member of the W3R-US Leadership Council, has identified the names and regiment (Royal Deux Ponts) of the four French soldiers who died while camped in Greenburgh. The American Society of Le Souvenir Français, USA, has pledged funding to erect a memorial to these soldiers at OHRH when the grounds are ready.
Scholar Dr. Iris de Rode, who is translating some never-before-seen letters from the Marquis de Chastellux, is scheduled to visit New York sites, including OHRH, in March.
Research is beginning on the Native American presence in Greenburgh, particularly in the area around OHRH. Still in a storage container on the OHRH property are wooden bowls and other items supposedly originating with the indigenous people.
– Susan Seal, Board President, Friends of Odell House Rochambeau Headquarters
Also in New York
Westchester County’s African American History and Heritage Guide features 14 sites in the county, including the monument in Yorktown to the 1st Rhode Island Regiment. “Erected in 1982 as a result,” the text reads, “of the pioneering research and activism of John H. Harmon, this monument is dedicated to the valiant and courageous soldiers of the First Rhode Island Regiment, which was composed predominantly of enslaved African American soldiers who had enlisted in the American Continental Army to earn their freedom. During the American Revolution, these men fought courageously to defend American liberty against the aggressions of British tyranny. Several dozen soldiers of the regiment were killed and wounded at the Battle of Pines Bridge in Yorktown on May 14, 1781.” The monument stands on the grounds of the First Presbyterian Church on U.S. Route 202.
To read or download the guide, please visit https://www.visitwestchesterny.com/things-to-do/history/african-american-history/
To order a free copy, please visit https://www.visitwestchesterny.com/plan/order-free-guide/
► The online Journal of the American Revolution includes a Feb. 3, 2022, post, Prelude to Yorktown: Washington and Rochambeau in New York, by Benjamin Huggins. The post explores in detail the summer 1781 reconnaissances the generals conducted of the British defenses around New York City, which helped lead to the decision to go south to confront Cornwallis in Virginia instead of besieging Clinton in New York. The reconnaissances also gave the French and Continentals valuable experience in conducting joint operations – a key to the success of the Yorktown campaign. To read the post, please visit https://allthingsliberty.com/2022/02/prelude-to-yorktown-washington-and-rochambeau-in-new-york/
– Janet Lee Burnet, State Chair
W3R-DE had a very successful January as we spread the group’s mission across the state.
- We are continuing discussions with St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in inner-city Wilmington about a November 2022 ceremony highlighting the contributions of Wilmington veterans. We are excited that our planning team has added several enthusiastic minority members as a direct result of our 2021 Wreaths Across America ceremony.
- We have met with the Chairman of the Delaware Military Order of the World Wars and the event coordinator of the Delaware Military Heritage Museum to explore events in which they are eager to participate. Like W3R, they are both very interested in an expanded diverse and multicultural membership and we can greatly assist.
- Vice President Peg Tigue is finalizing our plans for a group trip Aug. 10, 2022, to the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia.
- We continue to meet with the new leadership of the historic Cooch home on the Trail in Newark regarding shared events and Web site information.
- Peg Tigue has conducted meetings with duPont family members on potential support for the pending May 11, 2022, visit to Wilmington by the French Ambassador. The Embassy has acknowledged receipt of our request and is monitoring the Ambassador’s schedule.
- Plans for a fall speaker series continue to firm up as we have enlisted Tom Welch, who will share the stories of Washington’s cavalry commander, Col. Allan McLane, who moved to Wilmington after the Revolutionary War.
- We have successfully met with the director of Old Swedes Church in inner-city Wilmington regarding the use of its conference room for a potential presentation in March by a re-enactor of Martha Washington.
In other developments:
- After our successful inaugural Wreaths Across America ceremony in December 2021, we are planning for an even bigger event in December 2022. One of the primary goals of W3R-DE is to share American history with urban children, and the wreath ceremony is a fantastic vehicle for that mission. The mission of National Wreaths Across America Day, observed annually in December, is to remember fallen U.S. veterans, honor those who serve and teach children the value of freedom.
- We are developing a plan to reach out and engage our Hispanic community along the Trail, especially in Wilmington, as we march toward 2026. We have contacts but we need material about the contributions of Hispanic Americans during the Revolutionary War to share, especially with teachers – such as the Maryland and Florida resolutions reprinted on Pages 6-9.
- We will make a presentation to Wilmington area Hispanic leaders this spring as part of our efforts to bring all the cultures along our Trail into the W3R sphere of influence by 2026.
– Bill Conley, State Chair
W3R-MD is working with the Mount Clare and Bush Tavern sites to design and develop wayside marker concepts.
– Robert E. Reyes, W3R-Maryland █