W3R-US Bulletin May 2021


The Bulletin

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

MAY 2021           On the Web: www.w3r-us.org           Vol. 1, No. 5

11 Elected Directors in Class of 2021

Congratulations to the 11 public-spirited men and women who were elected or re-elected to the Board of Directors for three-year terms during W3R-US’ virtual Annual Meeting April 24. The six Directors re-elected are National Chair Larry Abell (additional term with waiver), Recording Secretary Jeff Canning (second term), Denise Dennis (additional term with waiver), Vice Chair Julie Diddell (second term), Charles “Chuck” Schwam (additional term with waiver) and Ingrid Wood (additional term with waiver). The five new Directors are Shelly Bell, Tina Betz, Duane Jackson, Catherine Roberts and Margaret “Peg” Tigue. Their election brings the number of Directors to 28 (of a maximum of 30). As noted in the Bylaws, the Board’s responsibility is to “manage the general affairs” of W3R-US.

Ten new members of the Leadership Council were approved – Elaine Buck, Bob Burns, Shauntee Daniels, Bruce Donald, Brad Fay, Dr. Marion Lane, Beverly Mills, Sam Stephens, Mitchell Yockelson and Dr. David Young. As noted in the Bylaws, the purpose of the Council is “to provide human resources necessary to implement programs on a wide range of topics.” It consists of members of W3R-US “who, while unable to commit to service as Officers or Directors, are willing to serve on a time-limited, project-specific basis.” Members serve for an indefinite time.

Three Board members completing their terms transitioned to W3R-US’ Trailblazers group, the outgoing and former members of the Board who have helped build W3R-US into the organization it is today. Receiving this automatic honor upon leaving the Board were Veronica Eid, Kathy Faulks and Alan Hoffman. A fourth departing Board member, Kevin Vincent, opted to remain active through the Leadership Council.

Please see below for additional news from the Annual Meeting.

Meet Maya Wilson, W3R-US’ New Intern

Maya Wilson, a social media specialist with the Peale Center in Baltimore, began working April 5 as a W3R-US intern, bringing with her a love of history and sensitivity to our Association’s need for absolute integrity in information. Her responsibilities will include W3R-US’ social media platforms and training Board members in the ways of social media. Initial tasks will include developing a calendar of events related to the Trail and contacting sites to develop an email list. She will work closely with Executive Director Ellen von Karajan.

Maya Wilson

Maya, a Baltimore native, has a degree in political science from the University of Pittsburgh, with specializations in Africana studies and theater arts. Her work in these disciplines allows her to combine her passion for social justice with an interest in community organizing and engaging inner-city youth in the social and political process. She previously taught middle school social studies and currently teaches ninth and 11th grade Humanities for Baltimore City Public Schools, working with general and special education students. She has worked as an Urban Ranger with the Baltimore National Heritage Area, as well as with the Edgar Allen Poe Museum and Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park in Baltimore. She is an avid social media user and thrives on creating interest around the topics and places she loves, particularly current events and the history and culture of the African Diaspora.

Maya was referred to Ellen by Shauntee Daniels, a new member of the Leadership Council and Executive Director of the Baltimore National Heritage Area, and by Nancy Proctor of the Peale Center, with whom W3R Director Robert Reyes and Ellen worked on the MuseWeb project a few years ago. These links will enable W3R-US to have a closer relationship with Heritage Area and to develop one with the Peale Center, both of which, Ellen said, are all about reaching out to segments of the community with which W3R-US wants to engage.

Maya’s internship was made possible by a $9,285 matching grant from the Partnership for the National Trails System.

The Southern Campaigns

In recent months W3R-US has been increasing its outreach to the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, the Liberty Trail and other organizations and officials south of Virginia in an effort to increase awareness of the crucial, but often overlooked, southern component of the Yorktown story.

Jeff Lambert, co-founder and chief operating officer of the American Revolution Consortium for Civic Education (ARCCE), succinctly underscored the importance of the Southern Campaigns this way during our Annual Meeting – there would have been no victory at Yorktown if Cornwallis had not been driven out of the Carolinas. “All roads lead to Yorktown,” he said.

Randy Flood, co-founder and chief executive officer of ARCCE, is organizing a May 24 webinar focusing on the interrelationships of the Washington-Rochambeau Trail, the Liberty Trail and the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail in the overall story of the Yorktown Campaign. National Chair Larry Abell noted the importance of collaboration among the trail organizations to preserve the extant portions of the trails before they disappear.

In a related matter, Randy, who also chairs W3R-US’ Strategic Planning Committee, told the Annual Meeting about ARCCE’s Open Outdoors for Kids program, which is funded by a National Park Foundation grant and seeks to help students understand the march to Yorktown. The program is a blend of outdoor, distance and classroom learning, “screen time and green time,” with a focus on grades four and eight. The four phases of the program, initially keyed to Virginia, are planning and organizing; online learning; tours of historic sites; and post-Covid. The next step is teacher focus groups to determine what the educators need to enhance, and fill in the gaps of, the education of their students. A key question, Jeff added, is: Beyond re-enactments, how can we teach the story better?

Become a Patriot – or Not?

Education Committee Chair Elaine Lawton told the Annual Meeting that the activity book, Become a Patriot – or Not? has been completed and features 10 Trail- and Yorktown-related activities geared toward families with young children, with a focus on ages 7-10. The interactive activities (as opposed to formal lesson plans) seek to tell untold stories from the Revolutionary War. The book, designed by two fourth-grade teachers and a social studies content specialist, was funded through the Maryland Veterans Museum and the Charles County (Maryland) Public Schools and a grant from the Charles County Charitable Trust and the National Park Service. The companion video, A March to Victory, is in the editing stages and is scheduled for launch Nov. 6, 2021.

Looking ahead, a grant application is pending for a Baltimore City Public Schools pilot program, open to 300 students, in which eighth-graders will learn about local Revolutionary War history as it relates to the Yorktown Campaign. The program, featuring classroom and on-site experiences, will include teacher training from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History; a field trip to the Maryland Center of History and Culture in Baltimore; and performance art experience based on the musical Hamilton. All educational activities will enable students to “rise through the ranks” of the Continental Army, culminating in an opportunity to sail on the ship Pride of Baltimore.

A grant is pending for an interactive learning experience, geared to middle- and high-school students, featuring a 10-page online adventure. Content will include the contributions and roles of France, Spain, African Americans, women, indigenous peoples and the Southern Campaigns as well as the Washington-Rochambeau march.

National Chair Larry Abell noted that the Committee’s activities, which began as local projects, can be modified for use all along the Trail.

Alliance Still Going Strong After 243 Years

Nicole Yancey, chair of the Franco-American Committee, reminded everyone at the Annual Meeting that the alliance and friendship between France and the United States – the new nation’s first and longest – is a rarity in history because it continues to endure after 243 years. … Work continues in both nations on the “Gallery of Portraits” of unsung heroes. Please contact Nicole if you have any images that may be useful: ngyancey@verizon.net.

Nicole is also exploring various ways and venues in France and the United States for developing interest and participation in W3R-US and the French Alliance. Unfortunately, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has affected her efforts; with infections soaring in France and the economy slumping, plans for any events there are in limbo.

Despite uncertainties linked to the pandemic, plans are proceeding for a July 8 flyover by the French Air Force in Yorktown and for the Oct. 18 unveiling of a new statue of Rochambeau on the Yorktown waterfront, followed by the annual Yorktown Day observance (even if downsized) the following day.

Building Back Better and Other Advocacy

Brad Fay, one of the new members of the Leadership Council, told the Annual Meeting that the W3R-US stimulus proposal – https://w3r-us.org/the-trail-that-connects-americas-founding-cities/ – comes at a key moment in U.S. history, when the nation needs a more complete understanding of itself and needs a common memory to help build community. The Trail is in an excellent position to address these needs, he said, with its compelling stories of diversity and its route through venerable diverse cities that have fallen on hard times, lack abundant connections with nature and need the lifeline that “infrastructure with a message” can provide. The stimulus proposal is designed to engage residents of these cities with their heritage while improving their physical environment.

Brad has held 77 Zoom meetings in the past six months and has found receptive ears among members of Congress and their staffers for supporting the proposal and for increasing funding for trails in general and WARO in particular. Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-CT, has agreed to lead the effort to increase WARO funding to $700,000 in Fiscal Year 2022 (which begins Oct. 1, 2021) in the Senate and Congresswoman Jahana Hayes, D-CT, has agreed to do likewise in the House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, as part of the annual Hike the Hill lobbying effort aimed at members of Congress and their staffers, Executive Director Ellen von Karajan has been leading W3R-US’ advocacy efforts directly and in conjunction with the Partnership for the National Trails System. Goals include the increased line appropriation for WARO as well as additional general funding for planning, research and interpretation for all trails. She and her fellow advocates have emphasized that trails help support the economic and physical wellbeing of communities as well as preserve their history and culture. Ellen was part of a meeting with Shannon Estenoz, Assistant Secretary of the Department of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, and was the only representative of the nation’s 19 National Historic Trails to make a presentation.

Improving Connections Among Us

W3R-US is teaming up with Constant Contact, a Waltham, Massachusetts-based online marketing company, whose bulk email services will help our organization generate and transmit our growing number of mass emails efficiently and effectively. Constant Contact claims the industry’s highest delivery rate – upward of 95 percent – along with software and templates that are easy to use, backed by unlimited access to a support staff. W3R-US plugs in the content and Constant Contact does the rest. The service removes duplicate addresses – a frequent concern when addresses are culled from multiple lists – and includes analytics. National Vice Chair Julie Diddell, who researched several such companies, said the service should improve appearance and delivery of The Bulletin, After Dinner Conversations notices and other announcements after a training session is held.

Membership Memo: Welcome, Melzingah Chapter NSDAR

In April, W3R-US welcomed not only many new Board and Leadership Council members but our newest organization member, the Melzingah Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, based in Dutchess County, New York. “W3R-US is so thrilled to partner with the Melzingah Chapter NSADR with their rich history and the fact that the current NSDAR President General, Denise Doring Van Buren, calls the Melzingah Chapter her home base,” said W3R-US National Chair Larry Abell.

Recognized as one of the most active chapters in New York and the nation, these Daughters know that they have a responsibility to ensure that the freedoms won by our ancestors are appreciated by Americans of today and tomorrow. Check out their Web site: https://www.melzingahnsdar.org/

Please consider becoming a W3R-US member if you are not one already. And invite a friend or a like-minded organization to join us! Visit https://w3r-us.org/w3r-us/membership/

Julie Diddell, Membership Committee Chair

Fundraising Fun: Volunteer for the Continental Army

Bet you’re curious to hear how fundraising can be fun! Fun is exactly what W3R-US National Chair Larry Abell had in mind when he devised “Volunteer for the Continental Army,” a colorful, unique way that donors can earn a rank of distinction in W3R-US’ Continental Army.

Take a look at this eye-catching graphic and notice the detail in the Insignia Rank column. Larry used pictures of the accouterments the Continental Army uniforms would have as ranks increased in importance – from a single chevron on the left arm of a Private to the epaulets on both shoulders of a Major and all the way to the full uniform of the Commander-in-Chief. Larry even gave our student members a rank of Drummer!

Want to know where you are in the Continental Army ranks? As you renew your membership, join as a member or donate to W3R-US, we are cheering you as you climb in rank. And yes, W3R-US has a few Lieutenant Colonels who are approaching the Colonel rank! Thanks to all of you who have donated already and to all of you who will donate to help W3R-US keep bringing the story of the French-American Alliance and the March to Yorktown to the world!

So, track your rank, imagine wearing your uniform, tell your friends about it and have some fun!

To donate to W3R-US please click on this link: https://w3r-us.org/ways-to-help/

Julie Diddell, Fundraising Committee Chair

Notes from the Annual Meeting

National Chair Larry Abell noted as he welcomed everyone to the Annual Meeting that, as the nation prepares for the 250th anniversary of Declaration of Independence in 2026, W3R-US has been in the midst of the activity on many fronts, external and internal, experiencing a banner year despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. Among activities not mentioned elsewhere in this edition:

  • Teaming up with WARO on a Travel App, with special thanks to Trail Administrator Johnny Carawan and Executive Director Ellen von Karajan.
  • Improved financial record keeping and reporting, led by Treasurer Dave Meredith.
  • Accomplishments in member recruitment and fundraising, led by Julie Diddell, chair of the Membership and Fundraising Committees.
  • Updating the Bylaws and other organizational reforms.
  • Team building with likeminded organizations and sites.
  • Efforts to bolster state groups, including shared dues, events and training. New dynamic state leaders include Janet Lee Burnet in New York and Julie Diddell in New Jersey.
  • In addition to the importance of assistance to the United States from France, acknowledging the importance of aid from Native Americans, African Americans, Spain and the Netherlands.
  • Increased attention to JEDI concerns – Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
  • As a result of national and state-level advocacy efforts, “Legislators, sites, groups and individuals know who we are in a way that would not have been imaginable a year ago.”

From the Trail Administrator

Trail Administrator Johnny Carawan’s wide-ranging presentation at the Annual Meeting included the following accomplishments and goals:

  • Signage. Johnny helped get a sign at the gateway to the Maryland Veterans Museum at Patriot Park in Newburg and is trying to obtain signs for other sites along the Trail. He has $30,000 available for this work and hopes to spend it by the end of the summer.
  • “Visitor ready” continues to be a key theme of helping sites prepare for the 250th, with rehabilitation, painting and educational work, as well as planning for exhibits and programs. Pop-up banners have been well received.
  • Amplify presence on social media.
  • Hold high-profile signature Trail events and programs that will attract media as well as local visitors and tourists.
  • Build an identity for the Trail.
  • Be competitive for grants.
  • The National Park Service’s Harpers Ferry Center for Media Services has designed a new Trail brochure, whose 300,000 copies will include a supply in braille.
  • The new $92,000 mural by Don Troiani of the First Rhode Island Regiment marching past Independence Hall will be unveiled Sept. 2, 2021, at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia.
  • Countdown to 2026, Johnny’s monthly series of first-Wednesday Trail planning meetings, will complete its first year with the May 5, 2021, program.
  • Videographer Dr. Iris de Rode, who did her doctoral work on unpublished papers of the Marquis de Chastellux, is giving a monthly lecture series from April through October 2021.
  • Analytics indicate that only 37 percent of the 300 recipients of Johnny’s quarterly newsletter open it.
  • As a legacy project, the Connecticut state library is scanning 31 volumes of the papers of Governor Jonathan Trumbull, the state’s chief executive during the Revolutionary War.
  • “Filet Rochambeau” is on the menu of at least one eatery in New Orleans, leading to plans for a possible cooking event to elevate the profile of the French commander.
  • Development of a Trail Passport that visitors could have stamped at sites.
  • Development of a periodic WARO newspaper/magazine.

Volunteers sought

National Chair Larry Abell is seeking volunteers to serve on four broad-based committees:

  • Planning for the 240th anniversary of the victory at Yorktown (October 2021)
  • Update and review W3R-US’ Statement of Inclusion
  • Develop a draft W3R-US Community Assumptions and Agreement for Meetings
  • Develop a draft Statement of Values for W3R-US

French Alliance Day Celebrated at Chapel at Valley Forge

Rosalyn Fennell at the chapel.

A May 2 ceremony at the Washington Memorial Chapel in Valley Forge National Historical Park in Pennsylvania recalled the day in 1778 when Congress received the signed text of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce from France, formalizing an alliance that has lasted centuries.

Rector Tommy Thompson and WARO Trail Superintendent Rosalyn Fennell presented the welcome, with the Superintendent speaking about her commitment to involving young people in carrying this proud history forward. Michael Scullin, Honorary Consul of France in Philadelphia and Wilmington, gave greetings from the French Ambassador. The address was given by M. Thierry Chaunu, President of the American Society of Le Souvenir Français, who spoke about the alliance and described the relationship between France and the United States as “a love affair and marriage that had endured, through good times and bad.”

The joy and solemnity of the commemoration were enhanced by the Service of Evensong, under the direction of the organist and choirmaster, Charles Grove, with choir members singing through their Covid masks. The service began and ended with the 58-bell carillon, the lower half of whose bells were cast in an American foundry, the upper by the Fonderie Paccard, Annecy, France. The carillon had been funded by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Wreaths were placed at Lafayette plaque.

Re-enactors from the Philadelphia Sons of the Revolution formed the color guard and led the procession to a wreath laying at the Lafayette plaque outside the chapel.

In attendance were W3R-US Trailblazers Lanny and Ann Patten and Wayne Strasbaugh. When Ann noticed a plaque named for her ancestor, George Rogers Clark, at a previous ceremony, she reached out to DAR headquarters in Washington, DC, to see who had funded it. It turned out to have been her own mother.

W3R-US and W3R-PA made donations toward the production and distribution of a film about the ceremony. The film, which will include vignettes from various dignitaries and organizations supporting the event, is scheduled to be released Sept. 30, 2021.

To learn more about the Washington Memorial Chapel, visit www.wmchapel.org

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 monthly. Hours include meetings, phone calls, advocacy, research, planning, events and travel, among other items, both national and state/local. Sam’s template includes space for donations in kind (office space and computer use, for example, even if not reported on your tax returns). Please email your monthly reports to Sam at memogroup1127@gmail.com by the fifth of the following month.

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 favorable comments and other kind words.

State leaders are invited to provide information (by the end of each month for the following month’s edition) about their activities, which will be presented in a separate section of The Bulletin. (Please see the reports from New York and Delaware, below.)

Your comments, suggestions and questions are welcome. Please email me at historicaljeff@aol.com – Jeff Canning, National Recording Secretary

State Report

New York: Dr. Eric Weiselberg, principal historian of Revolutionary Westchester 250, will explore the pivotal encampment of the allied armies in Westchester County during a virtual presentation at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 8. Toward Yorktown: The French & American Armies in Westchester County in the summer of 1781 is sponsored by Saint Paul’s Church National Historic Site in Mount Vernon. The hour-long program is free and open to the public; please register by clicking on this calendar entry.

The program will include insightful profiles of the leading figures – Generals Washington and Rochambeau – as well as the dramatic efforts to deceive the British about their destination. The decisive victory over Cornwallis at Yorktown followed in October.

Delaware: The Cooch’s Bridge Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution presented Wade Catts with the National DAR’s highest award May 2 in appreciation for his three decades of research and preservation of Revolutionary War battlefields. Dr. Robert Selig (Trail Historian), Judge Richard Cooch and W3R-DE Chair Bill Conley provided background material for this prestigious award.

On May10 Bill will join Brad Fay and Ellen von Karajan in a discussion with Vince Watchorn of the new Friends of Cooch’s Bridge about the Building Back Better stimulus proposal.

Syl Woolford, a member of the Leadership Council, will present a program May 20 to the Brandywine Village Partners Association and W3R-DE on several African-Americans who participated in the Revolutionary War. He will focus on James Armistead, a slave in Williamsburg, Virginia, who was chosen by the Marquis de Lafayette to spy on British General Charles Cornwallis’ army in North Carolina. The information Armistead provided helped the Continental and French armies triumph at Yorktown. Syl serves on the Delaware Historical Commission and focuses on the inclusion of all cultures in the celebration of Revolutionary War history.

Peg Tigue, vice chair of W3R-DE, and Bill met recently with Kyle Hill, the new principal of Howard High School of Technology in Wilmington, reviewed Delaware’s role in the Revolutionary War and told him about the Pencader Heritage Museum in Newark. The principal offered his auditorium for a production of the musical Hamilton should Brandywine Village Partners – of which Peg is president – be able to secure the rights. Bill said Peg, who was just elected a Director of W3R-US, “is doing a fantastic job introducing me to key players in the inner-city Brandywine Village.”

– Bill Conley, State Chair █


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