Tampa Chapter

Sons of the American Revolution

January 2018



          Meeting announcements

          December Meeting

          Revolution History note

          Wreaths Across America

          SAR Youth Protection Program

Program Schedule

          Misc. reminders and information


Meeting Announcements


The January meeting of the Tampa Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution, will held on Saturday, January 20th at The Rusty Pelican Restaurant from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. This is our annual officer installation and member recognition meeting.  Everyone is encouraged to attend.  The Rusty Pelican is located on Rocky Point.  The address is   2425 Rocky Point Drive, Tampa, Florida   33607.  This is a pre-set luncheon with a choice of Mahi Mahi or London Broil for $25.  The price includes a salad, iced tea, tax and gratuity. The use of the restaurant dining room is at no charge.  You should have already received an invitation and reservation form.  If you will be attending and you have not made a reservation, please contact Treasurer, Paul Ergler, as soon as possible.  Paul's email address is: paulergler@hotmail.com.



Please note that at the December Chapter meeting, the following officers were elected to serve the Tampa Chapter during 2018:


President                        John Goolsby

Vice President                 Dave Bryant

Recording Secretary       Jim Handly

Membership Secretary    Jason Krajnyak

Treasurer                       Paul Ergler

Chancellor                       Charles Klug

Chaplain                          John Sessums

Historian                        Bob Yarnell

Registrar/Genealogist     Brett Thomas

Sergeant-at-Arms          Dick Young

Members at Large (2)      Terry Doan and Jack Bolen


American Revolution Notes:

(ed. Note: For the History note this month I wanted to do something on the Morristown winter encampments.  While searching for information I came across this on the historynet.com page and decided to just use it, rather than try to re-write or paraphrase since it is written so well.)

The winter at Valley Forge two years earlier is a celebrated part of America’s Revolutionary mythology, while its sequel at Morristown is now largely forgotten. And therein lies a paradoxical tale. The climatic conditions the Continental Army faced at Valley Forge and a year later at Middlebrook, N.J., were mild compared to those they endured at Morristown during the harshest winter in American history

Soldiers trying to keep warm.

Soldiers trying to stay warm.

(Morristown National Park Visitors Center Mural)

In January 1780, fighting in the Revolutionary War came to a standstill as Mother Nature transformed America into a frigid hell. For the only time in recorded history, all of the saltwater inlets, harbors and sounds of the Atlantic coastal plain, from North Carolina northeastward, froze over and remained closed to navigation for a period of a month or more. Sleighs, not boats, carried cords of firewood across New York Harbor from New Jersey to Manhattan. The upper Chesapeake Bay in Maryland and the York and James rivers in Virginia turned to ice. In Philadelphia, the daily high temperature topped the freezing mark only once during the month of January.

The weather took an especially harsh toll on the 7,460 patriot troops holed up with General George Washington in Morristown, N.J., a strategic site 30 miles west of the British command in New York City. On January 3, the encampment was engulfed by “one of the most tremendous snowstorms ever remembered,” army surgeon James Thacher wrote in his journal. “No man could endure its violence many minutes without danger of his life.” When tents blew off, soldiers were “buried like sheep under the snow…almost smothered in the storm.” The weather made it impossible to get supplies to the men, many of whom had no coats, shirts or shoes and were on the verge of starvation. “For a Fortnight past the Troops both Officers and Men, have been almost perishing for want,” George Washington wrote in a letter to civilian officials dated January 8.

At Morristown “we were absolutely, literally starved,” Private Joseph Plumb Martin recalled after the war. “I do solemnly declare that I did not put a single morsel of victuals into my mouth for four days and as many nights, except a little black birch bark which I gnawed off a stick of wood, if that can be called victuals. I saw several of the men roast their old shoes and eat them, and I was afterwards informed by one of the officers’ waiters, that some of the officers killed and ate a favorite little dog that belonged to one of them.”

Throughout the war American soldiers kept themselves fed and alive however they could. By remembering Morristown, we acknowledge the can-do, rambunctious spirit that characterized Revolutionary soldiers and helped them carry on.


Wreaths Across America

On Saturday, December 16, the Tampa Chapter Color Guard was joined by the Jefferson High School (Tampa) Air Force JROTC Honor Guard in presenting the Colors at a Wreaths Across America Ceremony.  The Ceremony was held at the Veteran’s Cemetery owned and maintained by American Legion Post #5, USS Tampa.  This small Veteran’s Cemetery holds only about 700 gravesites and is covered with wreaths for this Ceremony.  Pictured are the combined Color Guards as they prepare to march up the Cemetery drive to present the Colors at the commencement of the Ceremony.  SAR Compatriots are (l-r) Terry Doan, David Bryant, John Sessums (with flag), Alan Bell (Commander) and Dick Young.  Other Compatriots who attended the Ceremony and participated in the placing of the wreaths were Jim Ledbetter (our photographer), Jim Handly and Bill Swain. After the WAA Ceremony, members of the Color Guard placed an extra wreath on the gravesite of a Vietnam Veteran at rest on the public side of this cemetery.  The Tampa Chapter is a Commemorative Partner in the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the Vietnam War and honors this veteran, otherwise unknown to the Chapter’s Compatriots, as one of its Commemorative events each year. 


SAR Knight Essay Contest Update

Through the efforts of Historian Bob Yarnell, the Tampa Chapter has an SAR Essay Contest participant this year, Peyton Macrina. In her essay she puts forth the thesis that Peggy Shippen, the young wife of Benedict Arnold is primarily to blame for his turning traitor.  As the only Tampa Chapter participant, she becomes the winner of the Chapter Contest.  Perhaps she can attend a future meeting and present her essay to the Chapter.  Her essay has been submitted to the Florida Society Knight Essay Committee as part of the State Essay Competition. 

SAR King Eagle Scout Contest Update

Tampa Compatriot Benjamin Bryant, son of Compatriot and Vice President David Bryant has again submitted his contest form and essay to the Florida Society King Eagle Scout Committee.  As the only Tampa Chapter representative in the Eagle Scout competition. Ben becomes the winner of the Chapter Contest.  You may recall that in 2017, Ben was the second-place finisher in Florida.  Perhaps Ben can also attend a future meeting and present his essay to the Chapter.


SAR Youth Protection Program

As part of our obligation to the future generations of our country, the National Society SAR has endorsed and encourages the use of a Youth Protection Program. At some point in the not to distant future, SAR Compatriots participating in any youth related activity will be required to successfully complete the Boy Scouts of America Youth Protection Program.  It is an on-line course that takes some 20-30 minutes to complete and provides a certificate of successful completion after a short exam.  The course can also be provided in a group setting.  More information will be provided at the Tampa Chapter February meeting and perhaps a future meeting will be used to present the training.    _____________________________________________________________

Program Schedule

Jan.   Officer Installation – Rusty Pelican

Feb/March—Tentative hopes for a joint meeting with the DAR and a speaker on genealogy and possibly SAR approved Youth Protection Training for the other.

April  JROTC recognition

May    perhaps Sept speaker re-scheduled; perhaps local museum speaker;     perhaps Rodney Kite-Powell of the Tampa Bay History Center


Miscellaneous Reminders

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. Another is to send a sympathy card to the family of a member who has passed away. If you know of anyone that should be the recipient of these cards please mention it to Chaplain Sessums or one of the other officers at our next meeting.


Chapter officers and committee chairman are encouraged to send any pertinent information they wish included in the newsletter to the editor.