Tampa Chapter

Sons of the American Revolution

Meeting Notice and News, October 2009



            Our next meeting of the of the Tampa Chapter SAR will be held on October 17th in the private meeting room of the Piccadilly Cafeteria, located at 11810 Dale Mabry Highway North, Tampa, Florida (813-963-1660). As is our custom, meetings begin at noon but members arrive as early as 11:30 for a time of camaraderie.

This month we welcome Rodney Kite-Powell of the Tampa Bay History Center. Rodney was unable to speak at our September meeting as had been planned but we look forward to hearing him speak this month.

            Below are a number of items that may be of interest to you. Thanks for taking the time to look them over. I hope to see you at this month’s meeting.




Kevin Yarnell

Secretary, Tampa Chapter


November Meeting

John Skillman has secured our speaker for November. Here’s John’s summary on what we can expect.

I urge all of you to put our November SAR meeting on your calendar (Nov 21st) and make every effort to attend. Our speaker will be Lt Gen (Retired) Jim Ellis and here is the focus and substance of his talk:

Modern resurgence of militant Islam has confounded Western leaders. The response to Islamic terrorism has been spotty and sometimes damaging to Western interests. In large part this confusion and uncertainty is due to a substantial ignorance of the Islamic religion, culture and history—especially the history of conflict between Islam and Western Civilization.

My focus is that 1400 years long conflict—highlighting the key events and the major shifts in the power struggle. For over 1000 years, Islam was in the ascendancy (from Mohammad’s death in AD 632 until the Turkish defeat at the gates of Vienna in 1683). For the past 300 years the West has been the dominate power in this “Eternal War”. Now the Islamic World is attempting to regain prominence. Our leaders could respond more effectively if they understood the history of the struggle.

He very well versed on this urgent topic and he is in the process of writing a book. I would like to see a good turnout for his presentation and look forward to seeing you there.


Florida Society SAR Board of Management Meeting

The next BOM will be held in Kissimmee October 23rd and 24th. All SAR members are welcome to attend. If you are interested in this or future state meetings you can find more information at the state website, www.flssar.org. You’ll see links regarding the meetings at the top of the home page.


Tampa Chapter Officers for 2010

As you’ll read below, Bob Yarnell is heading up the nominating committee that will present a slate of officers at our November meeting. Jack Bolen and John Sessums are also serving on the committee. They asked me to report that they have nearly completed their task save for one position.


The committee is seeking a nominee for President. [Alan is moving into the important roll of Registrar]. We appreciate that normally a member “works their way up” to this position but we wish to quickly point out that this is not necessary. You may have noticed the white notebook that Alan uses at meetings. This notebook contains just about everything needed by the president to effectively run the meetings. Also, the president benefits from lots of support. My role as state secretary provides quick access for us to anything related to the state society; Bob, as Vice President, provides the speakers; and there are several former presidents at each meeting willing to help (not criticize!) the current president.


So, if you have an interest or would just like to explore the idea more, please speak to Bob (rsyarn@aol.com) or one of the other members of the nominating committee.


Minutes of the September 19, 2009 meeting of the Tampa Chapter SAR


President Bell called the meeting to order at 12:03. Jack Bolen offered the invocation. Robert Koehler led the pledge to the flag and the President led the pledge to the SAR.


Members present: Jack Bolen, Marty Miller, John Sessums, Terrell Sessums, Allen, Bell, DeVeux McLean, Roger Quackenbush, Ira Ward, Chuck Copeland, Milton Alexander, Dick Young, Robert Koehler, Robert Yarnell, and Kevin Yarnell.

Welcome guests:  Judy Copeland, Lissette Young and prospective member Ralph Maples


The President introduced their guests.


The minutes of the May meeting were approved.  


The secretary read several emails received from members unable to attend and a thank you card sent by Dennis Spiker, the Brandon JROTC cadet who received our award in April. Bill Floyd suggested via email that we might add the names of the chapter members to the website. The secretary asked if this was agreeable to the membership. After a brief discussion the group thought a list of the members with their ancestors might be most appropriate. The secretary will post this to the website.


The Treasurer reported a balance of $2,164.73 and petty cash of $70.84. The balance is down due to our recent purchase of ROTC medals and other awards that will be needed in 2010.


Luke Lloyd was unable to attend but sent, via email to the secretary a note detailing his efforts on behalf of the chapter. [The report was printed in the last newsletter.]


Vice President Yarnell reported on the schedule of upcoming speakers. Several speakers have cancelled and so a few alterations were required. We hope to reschedule Rodney Kite-Powell for October and will do the Law Enforcement award in December along with our annual CAR joint meeting.


The President reported that the color guard marched in the Lutz 4th of July parade. Four members participated.


Jack Bolen asked for information about the ancestry database started by Rod Stebbins. The secretary reported that he thought he had the database file but not the program needed to access it. Jack suggested that perhaps a member with some expertise would like to take this on to provide a valuable resource for the chapter.


The President pointed out that the chapter must, at the September meeting, elect a nominating committee. Robert Yarnell agreed to chair the committee. He spent a few minutes discussing with the membership the duties of the various officers and committees. A number of chapter members are relatively new to the chapter and this review was helpful to them. The nominating committee as elected was Robert Yarnell, Jack Bolen, and John Sessums.


The President presented Roger Quackenbush with the membership certificate for his son Thomas. Thomas lives in NY but will be in Tampa later this weekend and so Roger will present the certificate on our behalf.


As Terrell Sessums and Chuck Copeland were present, the President inducted them as our newest members.


The meeting recessed for lunch.


Chuck Hawley, also a recently approved member, arrived a bit late and was not noticed by the secretary until lunch. President Bell inducted Chuck following the reconvening of the meeting.


The President called on Vice President Yarnell to provide the program on the battle of Pensacola. Bob began by giving some detail on how Florida had been partitioned prior to the Revolutionary War. In 1763 Spain ceded Florida to the British as a result of the treaty ending the Seven Years (French & Indian) war. The territory was divided into East Florida with the capital at St. Augustine, and West Florida with the capital at Pensacola. The Apolachicola / Chattahoochee Rivers marked the dividing line.


Spain offered the English a deal whereby they would not get involved in the war if the English gave them Florida and Gibraltar. The English didn’t take this deal. Spain never signed an alliance with the patriots or France. Instead they just declared war on England in large part just to retake Florida.


Don Bernardo de Galvez, Governor of Spanish Louisiana was waiting for an opportunity to march on Florida so when the chance came he moved quickly. In fact he got to Baton Rouge before the British knew war had been declared. Thus the capture of the city was easy as was the capture of Mobile. Galvez then moved to Pensacola. Approximately 1100 men defended the town including about 100 British regulars, colonial loyalists that had joined the British, and about 600 German mercenaries. Galvez had 7000 regulars as well as ships and able supplies.


The Spanish had some internal command issues especially with the fleet commanders, but for the most part the battle was uneventful. A shot by the Spanish guns that hit the British power magazine clearly helped the battle. Bob retold a possible story on how the Spanish hit the magazine but pointed out that the story may not be reliable.


Following the surrender of Pensacola, Spain effectively controlled West Florida. As it turned out, the Spanish sent 800 of the British troops to New York. Since this reinforced the troops opposing the colonial revolutionaries, Washington was quite concerned. Bob pointed out that he demanded and received an apology from the Spanish government.


The fact that Spain never joined an alliance with the revolutionaries accounts for the fact that some do not consider the Battle of Pensacola as part of the American Revolution but rather a side issue between Spain and England.


Bob answered a few questions from the membership.


Jack Bolen won the 50/50 and donated the proceeds to the chapter. Thus $17.00 was added to the treasury.


The President led the recessional, Jack Bolen gave the benediction, and the meeting adjourned at 1:37 pm.


Respectfully submitted,


Kevin Yarnell

Chapter Secretary