A monthly publication of The National Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association
JANUARY 2022 On the Web: www.w3r-us.org Vol. 2, No. 1
From the National Chair: 2021, the Year in Review
A special thank you to the W3R-US community for coming together in 2021 to support each other and our organization during this unrivaled year as we dealt with Covid. So many of you have performed above and beyond to make W3R-US successful, and it is incredibly inspiring.
2021 was a year that required that we stay connected virtually. We have all missed the interaction that the organization has shared at our meetings and special events throughout the year, along with uncertainties as we have endeavored to have events. This was a year of challenges, but we have come together as a team on multiple fronts. I wish space was available to cover each of your contributions but, regrettably, I will only cover significant highlights of the year.
A Year for Organization
There was a lot of hard work and tremendous teamwork and collaboration as we participated in La Salle University training and sifted through the La Salle Report as we continue to update our Bylaws and Policy Manual. The Leadership Council, established the previous year, continues to provide new knowledge, skills, talent and diversity.
It is noteworthy that two Heritage Areas are represented on the Council: New Jersey-based Crossroads of the American Revolution and the Baltimore Heritage Area.
A Year with Special Events
An event in Newport, RI, in September highlighted the participation of France in the American Revolution with the dedication of grave markers for two French soldiers who lost their lives in America.
The 700-mile Bike and Kayak Tour in August enlivened our state committees and united W3R-US as celebratory events occurred along the entire trail from Newport to Yorktown, VA, to celebrate the 240th anniversary of the March to Victory at Yorktown.
The Rochambeau Recognition Event in Yorktown, featuring the unveiling of the Rochambeau statue, was a highlight for the year and in perpetuity.
A Year with Growth
Under the leadership of National Vice Chair Julie Diddell, the W3R-US membership doubled this year. We have seen increases in state membership as well as national membership.
The W3R-US Board approved shared national and state dues. This has brought the organization closer together and has provided some funds and operating possibilities for state groups that are not 501(c)(3) organizations.
The membership categories have grown to include sites, museums and historic groups such as the Sons of the American Revolution and Daughters of the American Revolution. The Executive Committee is now working for membership to incorporate municipalities.
Donations and giving continue to increase with our regular Giving Tuesday and Alliance Circle campaigns. Our members have been generous with other donation requests as well.
It should be noted that all donations are applied to climbing the ranks of the Continental Army. We have several donors who have risen to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
A Year with State Committee Success
Delaware, under the leadership of Bill Conley, had many initiatives, and we recognize his efforts with education, inner-city youth and outreach to the Hispanic community.
Maryland elected new officers and we are looking forward to plans being developed by the new State Co-Chairs, Ellen Moyer, a former Mayor of Annapolis, and William Ridgely of Historic Tours of Annapolis.
New Jersey elected Julie Didell as its new State Chair and is actively involving the Garden State in state and national activities.
In New York, Janet Lee Burnet assumed leadership and rejuvenated the New York State committee. The state will benefit from her experience as past W3R-US National Chair and many years of devotion to our organization.
In Pennsylvania, John Michell has accepted the state leadership. The state has a dynamic history of leadership on the Trail, and we are pleased to see continuation under his hand.
In Virginia, congratulations on securing 501(c)(3) approval and to Dave Meredith for assuming the State Chair position. Virginia has a very active program and closely coordinates with W3R-US.
(States are invited to submit reports monthly to W3R-US and The Bulletin.)
A Year of Advocacy
Thanks to Brad Fay, W3R-US now has a high profile at the federal level with Representatives and Senators from every state along the Trail and has made contacts with many local political organizations. We are hopeful that this effort will improve funding opportunities for W3R-US.
A Year with Strides in Education
As a result of a grant from the National Park Foundation’s Open Outdoors for Kids program, secured by Executive Director Ellen von Karajan, a major new educational initiative is being developed by Randy Flood in Virginia. While this grant is for Virginia, it is planned that the educational programing will be applicable to all of W3R-US.
Be a Patriot – or Not was launched in November with an in-person program at the Maryland Veterans Museum. Education resources available on the W3R-US Web site include a 15-minute video, discussion questions and a 16-page activity resource book. This program can be used in all states. Funding for the program was generated through the Charles County, MD, Charitable Trust, the Maryland Veterans Museum and National Park Service pass-through grant funds. It was a $55,000 effort including in-kind donations.
A Year with Outreach
The January launch of The Bulletin under the editorship of National Recording Secretary Jeff Canning has been a highlight of the year as a communication tool for W3R-US. The Bulletin is published monthly and provides W3R-US news as well as news of the States.
The After Dinner Conversations continued from 2020 as a monthly lecture series, occasionally interrupted by lectures from the National Park Service and those of our many partners. This has been a great tool to present new themes and education to our followers. We have enjoyed some highly notable speakers.
A Year with New and Expanded Contacts
American Revolution Museum at Yorktown
Embassy of France
Embassy of Spain
French-American Chamber of Commerce, Washington, DC
French-American community, nationally and in France
Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and EduHam (about Alexander Hamilton), New York
Gloucester, VA, Museum of History
Le Souvenir Français
Maryland Center for History and Culture, Baltimore
Maryland State Department of Education
Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia
Noah Lewis, historical interpreter
Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, NC, SC, TN, VA
Revolutionary War Round Tables
Rochambeau Chapter, DAR, France
Society of the Cincinnati
South Carolina American Revolution Sestercentennial Commission
Virginia Department of Education
From the Committees
Randy Flood has become Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee. Randy has a well-founded educational and historical background. W3R-US is in the process of developing a new strategic plan for the organization and is in the initial phases of developing an updated Mission Statement.
Catherine Roberts has become Chair of the Media and Public Relations Committee. She brings valuable experience from the corporate world and has performed as a television personality.
As Chair of the Volunteer Hours Committee, Sam Meredith records the volunteer time worked for our organization. This is an extremely important committee as the time of volunteers is now counted as worth $32.19 per hour. This tally helps W3R-US receive funding from the National Park Service and other sources. We had several 1,000-hour volunteers this year. Sadly, more than two-thirds of our Board and Leadership Council are not reporting their time.
Ralph Nelson, Chair of the Signage Committee, has done an unbelievable job of documenting the signage for the Trail. As reported at the Board meeting in October, he has compiled an Excel spread sheet with data about the known 462 signs related to the Continental-French march.
Ellen Von Karajan continues to perform a magnificent role as Executive Director. As W3R-US continues to grow, increase its activities and have untold impacts on our followers, she remains the backbone of our organization.
Treasurer Dave Meredith has completed the transition to accountant-based bookkeeping. Our QuickBooks-based system automatically meets the requirements for year-end financial review and for Internal Revenue Service reporting. We are now prepared for a National Park Service audit.
I hope I have not overburdened you with some of the more important W3R-US accomplishments for 2021. I also regret that I could not have told more of our success stories and that I surely have left out some noteworthy accomplishments. It has been my pleasure and honor to serve as your Chair. We have worked together as a team and made some great strides despite Covid.
I am optimistic about our future. We are developing our Strategic Plan in 2022 – one of the goals our organization adopted. This is a consensus-based effort in which we come together to embrace our future. I am looking forward to working with you to fulfill our mission and Strategic Plan.
– Larry Abell, National Chair
Welcome to the Hudson River Patriots Chapter, NSDAR, our newest organizational member. This very active Chapter was organized Oct. 6, 2001, when three long-standing chapters merged to better meet the needs of women in southern Westchester County, NY. The three chapters – Tarrytown Chapter, Keskenkick Chapter of Yonkers and General Jacob Odell Chapter of Hastings-on-Hudson – were all located along the Hudson River, which was the site of many engagements between the British and the American patriots during the Revolutionary War.
“When Hudson River Patriots Chapter Regent Philomenia Dunn invited me to speak to her Chapter members on a Zoom presentation, I gladly accepted and then I invited the Hudson River Patriots Chapter to join W3R-US as a member organization,” said Julie Diddell, W3R-US National Vice Chair and Membership Committee Chair, after the Jan. 16, 2021, presentation.
“This NSDAR Chapter, and their growing and enthusiastic membership, will bring attention to the W3R-US mission and the story of the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail in the southern Hudson River Valley, where so much of the Trail’s historic events occurred. Already, I can see that the Hudson River Patriots Chapter members have embraced the Trail history as their own and they look forward to participating in our future events,” she said.
To make an online payment for your membership dues, please go to: Join/Renew W3R-US or print out the form and mail it with a check. The different membership category forms:
W3R-US Individual Membership Form
W3R-US Group/Organization Membership Dues Form
W3R-US Corporate Membership Dues Form
To access the forms, please visit: Membership – The Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route (w3r-us.org)
To members who have renewed already, sending you a big THANK YOU! It’s great to have such talented and terrific supporters among our growing membership ranks.
To our lifetime members, your investment of the lifetime dues you made continues to sustain the work of W3R-US. Thank you for your generosity and belief in W3R-US.
– 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 for 2021 as soon as possible, even if they have not been reporting regularly. Hours include meetings, phone calls, advocacy, research, planning, events, travel and the Bike and Kayak Tour, 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 (office space and computer use, for example, even if not reported on your tax returns). A suggested new year’s resolution: Please email your monthly reports to Sam at email@example.com by the fifth of the following month.
From the Editor
With this edition, The Bulletin begins its second year of publication. I hope you continue to enjoy it 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 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 9.)
Your comments, suggestions and questions are welcome. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
– Jeff Canning, National Recording Secretary
New York: Revolutionary Westchester releases new videos
Revolutionary Westchester 250 (RW250) is telling stories about the war’s events and sites within the county’s borders along with the historic contributions by the famous, infamous and often forgotten people who lived, fought and died there. The latest additions to the storytelling are three videos narrated by local youth in the Revolutionary People: Patriots & Loyalists series. In educational and entertaining fashion, the 3.5-minute videos capture the historic contributions of an entrepreneurial woman loyalist, a patriot soldier of color and a young patriot officer.
“We are increasing the awareness of, and appreciation for, the critical role that Westchester County played during the Revolutionary War era and the founding of the United States,” said Constance Kehoe, president of RW250 and a member of W3R-US. “By telling the stories of diverse people who were yesterday’s history-making residents, today’s residents can find a connection to their own lives.
“One of our goals is to reach the many diverse groups that live in the county by presenting these amazing stories in short, upbeat videos narrated by engaging young people,” she continued. “I’m hopeful they will engender discussion about the roles of women in history – often ignored – and those of people from many diverse backgrounds.”
The new videos feature the historic individuals Mollie Dobbs Sneden of Dobbs Ferry and Sneden’s Landing, John “Jack” Peterson from the area of Sleepy Hollow and Captain George Hurlbut, who was stationed at Dobbs Ferry and wounded in Tarrytown.
Piya Karthikeyan, 11, of Ardsley narrates the story about Sneden, who operated a family-run ferry service across the Hudson River from Dobbs Ferry to what became known as Sneden’s Landing in Rockland County before and after the Revolutionary War. https://youtu.be/ofSL8Wk7Ky4
Omar Mansouri, 11, of Edgemont tells the story of Peterson, who was raised in the family of Job Sherwood and lived along the old Albany Post Road north of the Old Dutch Church in what is now the Village of Sleepy Hollow. Jack enlisted in the Continental Army along with Isaac Sherwood. He fought in the Battle of Saratoga, where Isaac was killed. In September 1780, Jack was a member of the Westchester militia, serving with Isaac’s cousin, Moses Sherwood. On the bank of the Hudson River near Croton Point, his quick action played a part in foiling the traitorous plan of General Benedict Arnold to turn over West Point to the British. https://youtu.be/4CrFnIVnpB4
Lucy Richer, 15, of Hastings-on-Hudson explains the actions of Hurlbut, of New London, CT, who was serving in the Continental Army at Dobbs Ferry in 1781. The sound of cannon and musket fire was heard along the Hudson and the veteran of the Battle of Bunker Hill soon became engaged in a military action against the British near and on the river at Tarrytown alongside French soldiers. The successful cooperation between French and Continental troops foreshadowed the joint allied operation at Yorktown, VA, later that year. https://youtu.be/aad275cYpZw
The videos were produced by Nader Sadre and Skylar Apter. The historical integrity was supervised by Dr. Erik Weiselberg, Irvington’s village historian, the principal historian of RW250 and a social studies teacher at Irvington High School. The series was funded in part by the Maurice D. Hinchey Hudson Valley National Heritage Area.
The new videos, along with 16 others, can be viewed on RW250’s YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQOMXjRq2pXu71gy2k8TvRg. All these videos, as well as the new series, are free and available to the public on YouTube and the RW250 Web site.
Revolutionary Westchester 250 is a nonprofit corporation founded three years ago to build awareness and appreciation for the county’s revolutionary era history. To learn more, please visit https://rw250.org/.
– Constance Kehoe and Mike Virgintino
Revolutionary Westchester 250
In our attempts to get a foothold within the African American community of Wilmington, we have been reaching out to the Delaware Choir School, whose population is largely minority, in inner-city Brandywine Village. The school is having a concert in February honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and African American history and has agreed to consider adding a segment on African American Medal of Honor recipients provided by W3R-DE. (I recently purchased a collection of photos of every African American Medal of Honor recipient from World War II through Vietnam, which we would display in the foyer.) We would publicize the event to a large diverse non-Wilmington audience. This is the school’s first solid response to my never-ending pleas for inclusion.
We have also asked St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in the inner city if we can host a Veterans Day ceremony in the church in November to honor all Wilmington veterans. The church brought 12 city veterans to our Wreaths Across America ceremony Dec. 18, 2021.
Peg Tigue recently located a copy of a fantastic book about the Revolutionary War, The Black Regiment of the American Revolution, by Linda Crotta Brennan, published in 2004 by Moon Mountain Publishing and available on Amazon. As we try to create ways for teachers to weave a more diverse curriculum into America’s elementary schools, this is a fantastic vehicle. A teacher could read a segment in class over a period of days. This book could be a wonderful gift for schools along the Trail. Please contact me for more information.
– Bill Conley, State Chair
W3R-MD is working with the Patapsco Heritage Greenway on interpreting the September 1781 fording of the Patapsco River by the French army.
W3R-MD is also working with the Greenway on interpreting Lafayette’s April 1781 ferry crossing of the Patapsco River at Elkridge Landing.
– Robert E. Reyes, W3R-Maryland █