Minutes of the January 17, 2009 meeting of the Tampa Chapter SAR

 

In the absence of the President and considering that the Vice President was to provide the program, Secretary Yarnell called the meeting to order at 12:03. Jack Bolen offered the invocation. John Sessums led the pledge to the flag and the secretary led the pledge to the SAR.

 

Members present: Jack Bolen, John Sessums, Ira Ward, Walter Young, Marty Miller, Cy Gamber, Robert Koehler, Robert Yarnell, and Kevin Yarnell.

Welcome guests:  a prospective member, Chuck Hawley, June Bolen, Phyllis Ward, Grant Wallin of the Clearwater Chapter and his wife Pat.

 

The secretary introduced the guests.

 

The minutes of the December meeting were approved.

 

The secretary made several announcements:

-          a chapter directory is now available however an address change was reported after they were printed

-          The chapter received an acknowledgement of our recent donation of $94.65 to the Friends of the SAR Library. We are now members until Dec. 31, 2011

-          Several members sent notes to the secretary via email which he passed on to the members

 

The Treasurer reported a balance of $2,512.11 and petty cash of $159.16. Marty Miller has again agreed to audit the chapter books for 2008. The Treasurer asked for approval of the membership for this which was granted. Also, it is the practice of the chapter to retain financial records for only 3 years. Thus, permission was asked for the 2005 records to be destroyed. This too was granted.

 

The registrar, Luke Lloyd, sent an update on the status of those applying for membership.  

-          Two new names were moved into the “applications” category.

-          Richard Beatty’s application was sent to the state registrar for processing.

-          Chuck Copeland’s application is at National.

-          Chuck Hawley’s application is at the state registrar waiting for some further documentation

-          No new member applications were approved since the last meeting however supplementals for Dick Hurley and Luke Lloyd were approved. No other supplementals are pending at National.

 

The secretary asked Grant Wallin to install the chapter’s newest members Walter Young and Ira Ward. After taking the oath, Grant presented each with a rosette and their membership certificates.

 

There was no old business.

 

Under new business Vice President Yarnell discussed the issue of obtaining speakers. The size of our group has made it difficult to obtain quality speakers and various methods by which we might induce these speakers were discussed. Since several key members were not in attendance Jack Bolen suggested the issue be brought up again at the February meeting. The Vice President had one specific speaker in mind and asked for some guidance in this instance. After discussion John Sessums moved to give the Vice President authorization to spend up to $100 to obtain a speaker from the Seminole War Foundation for March. The motion was seconded by Jack Bolen and passed.

 

The meeting recessed for lunch.

 

The secretary reconvened the meeting and introduced Grant Wallin to install the 2009 chapter officers.

 

Vice President Yarnell then presented a review of the Revolution in east Florida. Members in attendance at the December meeting were nearly universally stumped by a question in the crossword puzzle solved by teams of SAR and CAR members regarding the battle of Alligator Creek. In light of this Bob thought a refresher course in Florida history was in order.

 

It is first necessary to remember that there were 15 British colonies at the time of the Revolution. Canada and Florida chose not to rebel with the other 13. There were several reasons for Florida’s loyalist stand but mostly it boils down to the fact that the economy in Florida at that time depended heavily on British government subsidies. About the only way to make a living in Florida was to be a soldier or sell supplies to soldiers. Further, there was not enough wealth in Florida to be taxed so the colony didn’t share the concerns over taxes with the other colonies.

 

The speaker then took the membership through the three “Florida Expeditions”. These were incursions by Georgia, a colony that rebelled, into Florida which remained loyal to the British. Notes from the speaker follow:

 

Revolution in Florida

British / Florida Leaders:            

-        Patrick Tonyn-Governor of Florida

-        General/Colonel Augustine Prevost, commander of 60th Regiment of Foot Col.

-        Thomas Browne-commander of the East Florida Rangers, (later the Kings Rangers).

 

Summer 1776 1st Florida Expedition

Col. William Moutrie organizes American/colonial forces to invade and capture East Florida. Due to disease and supply problems, the expedition does not make it south of the St. Marys River

 

Winter 76-77 Browne raids into Georgia

 

Spring 1777 2nd Florida Expedition

Co-commanded by Lachlan McIntosh and Button Gwinnett. Expedition crosses St. Marys and raids Amelia Island and along lower St. Johns. May 17, 1777 at Thomas Creek forces commanded by Browne defeat advance elements of the Georgia force. Georgians retreat across St. Marys River back into Georgia. McIntosh and Gwinnett fight a duel over who is to blame for defeat and lack of success. Button loses.

 

Spring 1778 Browne again raids into Georgia

 

Summer 1778 3rd Florida Expedition

Yet another American/colonial expedition crosses the St. Marys River and invades East Florida. After some raiding along the St. Johns, the expedition is defeated by elements of the 60th Foot and Browne's Rangers at Alligator Creek.

 

There are no more Colonial incursions into Florida. Some elements of the 60th Foot and some of the East Florida Rangers join with the British Army and participate in the British southern Campaign. A few are even present to surrender at Yorktown.

 

As a result of the Treaty of Paris, both East and West Florida are returned to Spain.

 

Location of Battle of Alligator Creek
 The Battle took place on the north side of Callahan where U S 301 joins with U S 1. There is a marker located on the east side of U S 1 in Callahan.  Callahan is located approx. 20 miles northwest of Jacksonville.

 

Location of Battle of Thomas Creek
The Battle of Thomas Creek took place in what is now part of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve. It is located approx. 13 miles east of  downtown Jacksonville and north of the St. Johns River.

 

Bob pointed out that for the most part this wasn’t patriots versus loyalist but rather Florida versus Georgia and he compared it to the Georgia / Florida football game.  As can be seen in the notes, Florida won that ‘game’.

 

The talk concluded with the recounting of how Bob found Thomas Brown’s diary while doing some moving for the Florida Historical Society. The diary stops after the battle of Alligator Creek. It ends with an entry by his son. The son recorded that Brown moved to Nova Scotia started an unsuccessful business and died there. A friend of Bob’s may have found Brown’s grave in a neglected cemetery in Nova Scotia where many graves were marked as belonging to Florida loyalists.

 

Ira Ward won the 50/50 drawing. The treasury was thus enriched by $8.00.

 

John Sessums gave the benediction, a prayer by George Washington for the nation. The secretary led the recessional and adjourned the meeting at 1:48 pm.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Kevin Yarnell

Chapter Secretary

 

 

Printed here are background notes on the Revolutionary War in the south provided by the speaker.

 

Brief chronology of the American war for Independence-Southern Phase

 

Dec. 1778      British capture Savannah

 

May 9, 1780 British capture Charleston Gen. Benjamin Lincoln denied "honors of war"

 

Aug. 16, 1780           British win Battle of Camden Cornwallis routs Americans-Gates flees the field

 

Misc. guerrilla activity by Francis Marion, Charles Sumter and Andrew Pickens

 

Oct. 7, 1780  Americans win Battle of Kings Mountain The "Over the Mountain Men" defeat force of Loyalist and British irregulars

 

Jan. 17, 1781            Americans win Battle of Cowpens Daniel Morgan out generals Banastre Tarleton

 

March 15, 1781        British win Battle of Guilford Courthouse

Gen. Greene and his men fight Cornwallis to a standstill in North Carolina "Another such victory would ruin the British Army" Charles James Fox Addressing the House of Commons after news of the battle reached London

 

Oct. 17, 1781            Cornwallis surrenders British forces at Yorktown