Tampa Chapter

Sons of the American Revolution

November 2015



          Meeting announcement

          Notes from the President

          Revolution note

          Program Schedule

          Misc. reminders and information


The November meeting of the Tampa Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution, will be on November 21st at the Piccadilly Cafeteria, located at 11810 Dale Mabry Highway North, Tampa, Florida (813-963-1660). This is our annual joint meeting with the Fort Brooke Society of the C.A.R.  In addition to their presentation, we will be awarding our Law Enforcement and Fire Fighter Commendation Medals. Prospective members and guests are always welcome.


October Meeting

Mr. John L. Smith made an excellent presentation on Benjamin Franklin with an emphasis on his "examination" in the "cockpit" by the Privy Council of the British Parliament in 1774 and how that experience led Dr. Franklin to switch his loyalty from the crown to the cause of independence for America.  Mr. Smith is published in the 2015 Journal of the American Revolution.  A copy has been ordered and will be donated to the John Germany Library in Mr. Smith's name.  He is also a prospective member and we hope to see him at future meetings of the Tampa Chapter.



Notes from the President:


Wreaths Across America

The Chapter is an official sponsor of Wreaths Across America and this cemetery.  Anyone interested in purchasing a wreath for placement at this, or any other veterans' cemetery can do for $15, but you are encouraged to use the Chapter order form so we will get credit for your donation.    A copy of the order for with the Chapter and American Legion Cemetery codes preprinted is attached.  Copies will also be available at our November meeting.   You can go to the WAA website www.wreathsacrossamerica.org for more information.  The Wreaths Across America is also a Color Guard Opportunity as the Hillsborough River Camp (Tampa Chapter) will present the colors at this impressive ceremony.


December Officers Installation Luncheon

Following the tradition started by Past President John Skillman in 2012, the Officer Installation meeting will be held at a location other than the Piccadilly.  This year arrangements have been made to meet at the Rusty Pelican Restaurant at 2425 N Rocky Point Dr. in Tampa.  The price of the luncheon is $25.00 each.  Reservations, meal selection and payment must be made in advance and no later than December 7.  You have a choice of menu items of mahi-mahi or London Broil.  A copy of the reservation and menu selection form is attached and copies will be available at the November meeting.


Colonial/Revolutionary Era note.


This month we once again turn our attention to books about the war that answer questions that have intrigued students of the war.  You’ll recall that last year we dealt with the serendipity experienced by William Willcox when he stumbled onto the papers of Henry Clinton at Michigan State and was able to give an answer to the question of why Gen. Clinton was seemingly asleep at the switch as Washington moved his army from New York to Yorktown in the fall of 1781.  This month to go to the early stages of the war and the questions surrounding Gen. Sir Wm. Howe’s decisions during the battles around New York in the late summer of 1776 (allowing Washington’s army to escape Long Island and then escape into Pa.) and then again his failure to co-operate with Burgoyne in the fall of 1777—going south to Philadelphia instead of north to join Burgoyne as ordered.  In 1972 Ira Gruber, Ph. D. professor of History at Rice University published The Howe Bothers and the American Revolution.  In the book he puts forth the thesis that Wm and his brother Richard (commander of the British Fleet in America) did not want to crush the rebellion but merely to inflict enough damage to persuade the colonists to come to a negotiated settlement.  In the book he provides more than ample evidence to support his thesis while at the same time providing considerable background on the lives of the two brothers and how that led them to their views of the conflict.  Dr. Gruber also points out that they were being insubordinate and either did not fully grasp that George III and his ministers wanted a crushing victory or were hoping to negotiate a settlement and then sell it to the powers that be in London.  Over the years I have often wondered why this book and this thesis have not gained more traction than they have. (In the interest of full disclosure I must add here that I had the chance to meet and hear Dr. Gruber present a paper on his book while I was at Penn Sate doing graduate work.  My minor was American Colonial History and the History Dept. brought in Dr. Gruber to speak.)  I think part of the answer is that many Americans don’t want to think of the miraculous escapes during the fall of 1776 as being aided by conscious decisions of the British commander.  Now, to be clear, even assuming (as I do) that  Howe pulled his punches in 76 and 77 that does not detract from the extraordinary effort of the Gloucester regiment in rowing Washington’s army to safety after the disaster on Long Island nor does it detract from the bravery ands skill of Morgan’s riflemen at Saratoga.  What it does do is to help us realize that what Howe did, inadvertently while trying to bring the war to a negotiated conclusion, was to help set the table for the successes at Trenton, Princeton and Saratoga.  So, did Howe’s decisions based on his view of how the war should be conducted in disobedience to his orders help the American cause—absolutely.  But it was still necessary for Washington and his army to take advantage of the openings they were given in the winter of 76 and the fall of 77.






December - Officer Installation


January       Compatriot Jack Bolen speaking on the Battle of the Cow Pens 

February     A return visit from Rand Sholet of the Alexander Hamilton Awareness (AHA) Society 

March         Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemoration and recognition of Vietnam Era veterans

April          JROTC Recognition

May            Tampa Bay History Center (tentative)

Misc. Reminders and notes:


Chapter Website—remember you can find information about the chapter and programs on the chapter website.      http://www.tampasar.org/


One of the duties of the Chapter Chaplain is to send cards to our members that are sick. If you know of anyone that I need to send a card to, please contact Chaplain John Goolsby and/or mention it to him or one of the other officers at our next meeting. Another duty is to send a sympathy card to the family of a member who has passed away.