Minutes of the February 15, 2003 meeting of the Tampa Chapter SAR

 

President Tetrick called the meeting to order at 12:00. Chaplain Jim Washburn offered the invocation. The secretary led the pledge to the flag and the president the pledge to the SAR.

 

Members present: Dwight Tetrick, Jack Bolen, Dan Stutzman, Marty Miller, Jim Washburn, Bob Yarnell, and Kevin Yarnell.

 

Welcome guests: June Bolen, Janett Tetrick, and Don Middleton- potential member. Bob Spencer from the Detroit area SAR also joined us.

 

The president introduced the guests.

 

The SAR membership approved the minutes of the February meeting as published in the newsletter.

 

The secretary had no report.

 

The treasurer reported receiving $153.00 from the Endowment Trust Fund for reimbursement of our ROTC expenses. The chapter’s current balance is $2,265.12.

 

Marty Miller reported on the audit he performed of the chapter books for 2002. He concluded

Jack Bolen reported on Fred Patton’s health condition. He is home and still under doctor’s care.

 

Vice President Bolen reported on Fred Patton who is currently in the hospital. Fortunately, he is making good progress and may be returning home soon.

 

Under old business the President returned to the idea of purchasing a digital camera for the chapter. In the past month he purchased his own digital camera which he will bring to meetings and thus we will delay the purchase of a camera for the chapter.

 

The president asked for volunteers to present JROTC medals at the local high schools. The chapter will continue to hold the awards luncheon- in April this year, but it would still be nice to have a member present at their awards ceremony. Bob Yarnell and Jack Bolen agreed to help as their work schedule allows. Kevin Yarnell will coordinate the assignments with Dwight and the others. Dwight will be handling the senior ROTC medals for the college units.

 

There being no other business the meeting recessed for lunch.

 

President Tetrick introduced Vice President Bolen who spoke on the events and forces that shaped George Washington.

 

Jack began with some background on Washington’s ancestry beginning seven generations prior to George. The family began in Sulgrave, England. Jack provided some details about the family leading up to George’s birth.

 

His early childhood was spent in the frontier areas and this setting did much to form his character. George’s education was mostly home schooled from his other brother Lawrence and was not substantial. The family was not in anyway well off. George caught the attention of a Lord Fairfax who arranged to get George into the Royal Navy. However, George’s mother would not allow this. Instead the Lord Fairfax got George a job on a survey crew. This led to his first purchase of land.

 

At twenty, George succeeded his brother as a militia leader. This was as much a political position as a military one. The Ohio valley was a contested area between the French and England. Washington was sent as an emissary to the area delivering a message from the English King for the French to leave the area. George delivers the message which was ignored and survives an attempt on his life by one of the guides on the return journey.

 

Washington, with no military experience, next travels with a group of soldiers to the Ohio valley. The commander of this group never actually catches up with the force leaving George in charge. Washington makes several errors ending with his defeat at Fort Necessity. He tries unsuccessfully to get a commission in the British army but this doesn’t work out.

 

A second trip into the Ohio valley by the British will George attached as a non-military person ends in another defeat. One might think that Washington would not be well thought of after these two unsuccessful ventures. However, in both cases the Virginians think George as done the best he could under trying circumstances and he continues to gain respect. Further, it is clear that he learned a great deal from these early encounters.

 

George married a rich widow, Martha Custis, and begins a career as farmer and plantation owner. Tobacco was the major cash crop at the time but it had significant drawbacks in that it needed to be sold in England and the price paid was not in the control of the farmer. So, he converted the land at Mount Vernon from tobacco to wheat and also started a system of crop rotation. This last was an example of the many innovations that Washington employed.

 

Jack reviewed Washington’s views on slavery. These changed as he aged. Increasingly he saw slavery as a significant issue for Virginia and later the new country. All of the slaves at Mount Vernon were freed on George’s request after his death and before Martha’s death. This was done in a way so as to make the transition as smooth as possible.

 

The speaker concluded with a few comments on George’s death.

 

President Tetrick expressed the thanks of the chapter for Jack’s research and presentation.

 

Kevin Yarnell won the 50/50 drawing. Thus the treasury was enriched by $6.00.

 

President Tetrick led the recessional and Chaplain Washburn benediction. The meeting adjourned at 2:05 pm.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Kevin Yarnell

Chapter Secretary