Minutes of the February 19, 2005 meeting of the Tampa Chapter SAR


President Bolen called the meeting to order at 12:00. Chaplain Lloyd offered the invocation. Ken Skillman led the pledge to the flag and the President led the pledge to the SAR.


Members present: Jack Bolen, Rodney Stebbins, Ed Neugaard, John Skillman, Kenneth Skillman, Chuck Grant, Luke Lloyd, Cy Gamber, and Kevin Yarnell.

Welcome guests: June Bolen, Ellie Skillman, and John Potter a USF student


President Bolen then asked the secretary for his report. He read several pieces of correspondence received.


The treasurer reported a balance of $2285.63. He requested that Marty Miller be allowed to audit the chapter books for 2004. Marty and the members agreed. He’ll report his findings at the March meeting.


Under old business, President Bolen reported on behalf of Dwight that the Liberty Tree is still on track.


Luke Lloyd asked the secretary for a listing of names and address of those who are homebound or in nursing home for the purpose of possible visits and phone calls by him on behalf of the chapter.


John Skillman asked if a more formal dinner meeting with wives was ever done or might be considered now. A discussion followed including possible joint meetings with the DAR or other SAR chapters. One issue raised was the need for the members to get to know each other, not only in this chapter but with some of the other local SAR chapters. The consensus was for a combination of a joint event with the St. Petersburg SAR chapter and the wives. The president will make some initial inquiries.


In response to some comments from the previous discussion the president then asked all the members to introduce themselves.


Following lunch the president introduced Vice President Ed Neuguaard who in turn introduced our speaker Dr. Philip Levy. Dr. Levy is a professor at USF and his topic was the early home of George Washington in Fredericksburg.


Professor Levy’s talk was most informative. Some highlights are provided here for those not in attendance. The professor’s hunt for the home began in 1995. Washington lived in 4 places during his lifetime: Pope’s Creek 1732-1735; Hunting Creek 1735-1738; Ferry Farm 1738-1752; and Mount Vernon, 1752-1799. Ferry Farm is the site of interest to Dr. Levy. It has undergone significant changes including a Christmas Eve, 1740 fire that burned the house to the ground. By 1832 none of the original buildings are standing. The large amount of change at the site makes the excavation and subsequent identification of the home more difficult.


Dr. Levy then looked briefly at the various paintings and images that have been purported to be Washington’s boyhood home. These pictures that have become iconic but none of them are based on any factual issues. A few Civil War era photographs provide the best early look at the site but none of the Washington era buildings are standing at this point in history.


The excavation began in 2001 and they have found the remains of three Washington era buildings. Dr. Levy discussed some of the items they’ve found and how they help to establish the time period of the buildings. They are not yet ready to name one of them as Washington’s boyhood home. Over the next 7 years they hope to finish the excavation and begin a reconstruction of the home.


A question and answer session followed. In response to one question Dr. Levy touched briefly on the cherry tree story. It turns out the original story is that Washington ‘barked’ not ‘chopped down’ a cherry tree. He pointed out that there is no evidence to support or refute the story but it is a plausible story and therefore should not be dismissed quickly as simply legend.


Click here to read an article published in the Tampa Tribune July 4, 2008 regarding Dr. Levy’s work.


Chuck Grant won the 50/50 drawing. The treasury was enriched by $9.50


President Bolen led the recessional and Chaplain Lloyd the benediction. The meeting adjourned at 2:10pm.


Respectfully submitted,


Kevin Yarnell

Chapter Secretary