By Stephen Smoot
Approximately 240 years have passed since the Treaty of Paris officially ended the American War of Independence. The good work of that generation’s patriots continues in the hearts and minds of Americans today, inspiring hard work and sacrifice for community, state, and nation.
The Pendleton County Historical Society met late last month in part to inform members of how they may join these illustrious groups that have done so much to preserve the history of the Revolution.
Approximately 35 gathered at the Pendleton County Library to observe the society conduct business and to attend the presentation. Paul Clayton, president of the historical society, welcomed attendees and shared information. After the reading and approval of the minutes and financial report, the board voted to end the business meeting and go straight to the presentation.
First up came Bonnie Myers, representing the Tri-County chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The DAR came into existence 125 years ago and, according to its website, members “honor their heritage as well as make a difference in their communities across the country and the world.”
Additionally, the website explains that members’ “common bond is their lineal descent from patriots of the American Revolution – any woman, regardless of race, religion or ethnic background, who can prove this lineage is eligible to join.”
To become a member, the applicant must prove a familial connection to a patriot of the era. This starts with an interested applicant 18 years of age or older filling out a membership interest form. As Myers explained, “patriot” need not be a person who served directly the Continental Army, naval forces, or state or other militia units. “Patriot” could refer to “someone who performed public service at that time.”
On the national website, the DAR provides a list of accepted “patriotic services,” including ministers who preached patriotism, those who provided general medical assistance outside their own families, foreign nationals who aided the American cause, signers of patriotic oaths and petitions, and more.
For those who do not have easy access to their personal genealogical information, the DAR offers access to an extensive database.
Next, the historical society welcomed Randy Atkins and Wes Dove from the Fort Harrison chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, based in Rockingham County, Virginia.
According to the national website, the Sons of the American Revolution is a “non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history and teaching American history to future generations.”
Obtaining membership in the SAR is much like the DAR’s process. One can be related to the patriot ancestor by either blood or marriage, as well. The SAR “accepts patriotic service rendered, with some exceptions, for the period between 19 April 1775 and 25 November 1783.”
Both the SAR and DAR websites have identified lists of patriot names that can be used to start research.
Brenna Mitchell, a member of the historical society, shared information and visual aids related to Revolutionary War pension applications. These included pictures and descriptions of battles. She also provided food and drinks for attendees to enjoy during the meeting.
The next public meeting will take place at 2 p.m. July 16 at historic Circleville High School. Discussion will center around “Caves of Pendleton County.”
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