Minutes of the February 18, 2006 meeting of the Tampa Chapter SAR


President Bolen called the meeting to order at 12:04. Chaplain Richard Hardesty offered the invocation. John Skillman led the pledge to the flag and President Bolen led the pledge to the SAR.


Members present: Jack Bolen, Marty Miller, Luke Lloyd, Ed Neugaard, Ken Skillman, Richard Hardesty, John Skillman, Allen Bell, Robert Yarnell, and Kevin Yarnell.

Welcome guests: June Bolen, Jeanne Lloyd, Shelley Jakes, Roger and Kathy Quakenbush, and John Sessions. Both Roger and John are prospective members.


The president introduced the guests and, for the benefit of our speaker, recessed the meeting for lunch.


President Bolen reconvened the meeting and introduced our speaker Shelley Jakes. Mrs. Jakes spoke on Mount Vernon during the Civil War years. She began, in honor of Washingtonís upcoming birthday, by donating a wonderful, framed portrait of Washington to the chapter.


The woman credited with establishing the Mount Vernon Womenís Society in 1853 is Pamela Cunningham. Her mother, on a visit to Mount Vernon, was appalled at the state of the home. She was instrumental in raising a substantial amount of money which allowed some restoration to begin. When the war started Miss Cunningham, a southerner, had to return to the south to assist her family.


The home was left in the care of two individuals- one man, Mr. Upton, a southerner, and one woman, Sarah C. Tracy, a northerner. The perception that this created is not to be overlooked and the society had to reassure interested persons that everything was appropriate. The fact that the pair represented both sides of the conflict turned out to be a significant advantage. The speaker shared several stories to illustrate this point.


Money to sustain the property was, at time, difficult to obtain as visitors had a hard time getting to the home. In the first year of the war almost no visitors were allowed. After that time visitors were allowed by boat. Passengers paid $1.50 for passage and additional money to see the home.


In order to keep Mount Vernon neutral in the conflict soldiers were not allowed to wear their uniforms or the uniforms were covered. This neutrality was crucial for survival and patrons did not feel like the admission fee was supporting one side or the other.


They had some trouble with visitors taking souvenirs and thus degrading the property. This led to the idea of selling items for guests to take with them. Items included wild flowers and pictures of the visitor at Washingtonís grave. This latter was, to the mind of the speaker, rather expensive.


Mr. Upton and Miss Tracy married after the war which added a small romantic angle to the story.


A short question and answer session followed and the President presented Mrs. Jakes with a certificate of appreciation from the chapter. The significant applause for Mrs. Jakes reflected the appreciation of the membership for the presentation.


The meeting proceeded with the business portion.


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


The secretary received acknowledgement for our donation of $86.65 to the Endowment Trust Fund. These funds were collected from members as an additional donation with the dues. A thank you phone call was received from the Riverview JROTC unit in response to our donation.

The treasurer reported a balance of $2226.19. Marty Miller reported his audit of the chapter accounts. He made a suggestion to the treasurer regarding a better way to record one transaction and assured the chapter that the books were in order.


Luke Lloyd, as registrar, submitted a written report which is summarized here. Seven members have applications in process. He brought up several items for consideration.

-         a new member is needed to maintain the ancestry database started by Rod Stebbins

-         a new webmaster is needed

-         supplies are needed from National; specifically a computer program to aid in typing applications


The secretary reported on his activity with the chapter webpage. Rod Stebbins was handling the site but recently indicated that he was no longer able to do so. The secretary has had the appropriate accounts transferred to him and is currently working on a new website. He asked for suggestions for content.


The President reported on plans to visit other SAR chapters to observe how they contact their meetings. The goal is to take the best ideas and incorporate them into our meetings so as to make the gatherings more enjoyable to the membership and guests.


Next month Grant Wallin from the Clearwater chapter will be present to explain to the members how we might form a color guard.


Marty Miller won the 50/50 drawing. He donated his share to the treasury which was thus enriched by $19.00.


President Bolen led the recessional. Chaplain Hardesty gave the benediction. The meeting adjourned at 1:28pm.


Respectfully submitted,


Kevin Yarnell

Chapter Secretary