SHEPHERDSTOWN — With 106 years of service, the Pack Horse Ford Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) celebrated its anniversary with a luncheon May 14 at the Bavarian Inn in Shepherdstown.
Due to the pandemic, the Chapter’s annual anniversary celebration has been postponed from February to recently. The chapter was organized on George Washington’s birthday, February 22, 1916, by former regent Anna “Pink” Chapline Phillips.
Regent Cindy Nicewarner and Previous Chapter Regent Kathy Sholl led the ritual, replacing Chaplain Lois Kimble. Chapter member Judi Yost conducted the Pledge of Allegiance. Chapter member Becki Hill directed The American’s Creed. The blessing of the meal was given by Sholl.
The chapter has celebrated every anniversary since the 100th with a special personalized candle-lighting ceremony, which is traditionally led by the chapter historian. In the absence of historian Sarah Lustrea, the chapter’s first vice-regent, Marlyn Keesecker, led the candle-lighting ceremony. The members who lit candles were from three generations: Barbara Nickell, her daughter Amy Jacobs and Amy’s daughter Anne Jacobs.
Candle 1: The Past, illuminated by Barbara Nickell. Keesecker read the poem “Pack Horse Ford” by Grace Yoke White, the regent of the eighth chapter. This poem was first read at the chapter’s 50th anniversary celebration in 1966.
Pack Horse Ford, with its white speckled waves,
Still bubbles and sparks, while in their graves
The boys so real, with a love that knew
No other command but dare and do,
Lie asleep on the hill where the violets used to grow.
I like the place off the river
Where the soldiers crossed to the other side;
The trees that bend at the edge of the water;
The flowers growing on the mossy ledge.
Pack Horse Ford, with your white speckled waves,
I love you for the help you gave me.
Candle 2: The Present, enlightened by Amy Jacobs. This candle is dedicated to current Chapter members who carry on the tradition of service begun by our founders. By working together, members take advantage of opportunities to make a lasting impact in local cities, states and the nation. Members provide services to veterans; marking graves; place historical markers; provide scholarships; attend naturalization ceremonies; organize essay contests for American history students; award JROTC medals; sponsor the Henrietta Bedinger Lee Society, Children of the American Revolution; promote Constitution Week and much more. Members wave flags, wear pins and scarves, and distribute flags. Members celebrate, commemorate and participate.
Candle 3: The Future, lit by Anne Jacobs, represents the future of the chapter, dedicated to the next generation of DAR women in the hope that they will carry on the legacy of DAR. May they hold on to the memory and legacy of our patriotic Revolutionary War ancestors. The next generation will face great challenges but will succeed with loyal, faithful and watchful daughters.
Nicewarner said: “Today we commemorate the history of Pack Horse Ford Chapter, our heritage and our achievements. Together, we have successfully built on our 106 years of service.
A special part of the Chapter’s anniversary celebration included an image PowerPoint presentation designed by Chapter member Lauren Turco, showcasing the rich history of the Pack Horse Ford Chapter.
The presentation showed images of the chapter’s involvement in its community including various charity events such as Relay for Life; the Shepherdstown Christmas and 4th of July parades; Constitution Week and naturalization ceremonies; Project Patriot, which encourages and recognizes the crew aboard the USS West Virginia submarine by sending thoughtful cards and gifts; and burial inscriptions of deceased DAR daughters and patriots.
The presentation also included photos of founding members and members who have carried the DAR service through the years until today. The photos showed the chapter regents, past and current members of the chapter, members who served their country and in memory of deceased members.
Nicewarner said, “The Chapter is looking to the future with many more events to help others and our community.”
Member Carolyn Beyer, Chair of the Chapters Album, received a Certificate of Appreciation from Nicewarner in recognition of her continued support of the Chapter and her excellent performance as Chair. The chapter album contains the history of the chapter and provides a long tradition of state awards for the album and the press book. The 2021-2022 chapter album and press book received first place at the state conference in April and was available to members and guests.
Members of the album’s committee included Beyer, Dorrene Hale, Mary Gageby and Lauren Turco. The press releases were written by Sholl and Nicewarner with Turco assembling newspaper and internet articles into the press book. Katherine Genung compiled a record of all press releases, print and electronic, as well as social media posts written in 2021-2022 and submitted the list to the West Virginia State DAR.
The report from the DAR Project Patriot committee was presented by Treasurer Katherine Genung, who explained a new discovery she made about the chapter’s connection to the USS West Virginia that dates back to 1916, the year the DAR was founded. Pack Horse Ford chapter. West Virginia’s state regent was Mrs. Parks Fisher and her project was the battleship USS West Virginia. Phillips, of Shepherdstown, was Vice Regent of State at the time. Since Phillips’ husband was the paymaster for the Navy, it is believed that she may have been instrumental in facilitating the WV State DAR project.
A bronze plaque was dedicated in 1917 and placed on the original battleship by the state company WV DAR. When the ship was decommissioned after World War II, the plaque was moved to the State Capitol in Charleston. It is an ironic coincidence, however, that 106 years later, the Pack Horse Ford Chapter supports the USS West Virginia submarine as part of its Patriot project.
Over lunch, donations were accepted to help support the crew of the USS West Virginia submarine. Members and guests received several blank patriotic thank you cards to write personalized, encouraging notes to sailors from USS West Virginia. These cards were mailed with a package containing Memorial Day-themed items at the end of May.
Chapter National Defense Committee Chair Patty Stealey gave the National Defense Minute on Edith Nourse Rogers, who was featured in the May-June 2022 National Defender. She was a DAR member and business advocate veteran, from World War I, who served in the United States House of Representatives from Massachusetts. She was instrumental in the creation of the Women’s Army Corps and the GI Bill of Rights.
Chapter Registrar Dorrene Hale introduced Rosalind Grenfell, a new transferred member from Wyoming, and her guest Sharon Smith, who is a member of the DAR Chapter in Centerville, Virginia.
DAR’s vision is to inspire more people to recognize those who won our nation’s independence and to connect themselves with history through DAR service projects. DAR is steeped in history and forward-thinking, a dynamic service organization recognized around the world. Its mission is to promote historic preservation, education and patriotism. DAR has evolved to accommodate today’s women and serve contemporary communities at home and abroad. To learn more about the Pack Horse Ford Chapter, DAR, contact Nicewarner at [email protected] To learn more about the work of DAR today, visit www.DAR.org.