The Colonel William Henshaw Chapter of MASSAR held its annual meeting at “The Oaks” in Worcester on December 7, 2014. Once again, the ladies of The Colonel Timothy Bigelow DAR Chapter were our gracious hosts. During our meeting, we held our officers election. When the meeting was over, everyone enjoyed a terrific luncheon and we were all entertained by renowned Abigail Adams reenactor, Ms. Patricia Bridgman, who did a tremendous job bringing to life one of American history’s most beloved first ladies. The following is a report of the minutes of our annual meeting, as well as results of the election.
December 7, 2014 – Col. William Henshaw Annual Meeting
President Wratchford called to order the 2014 meeting of the Colonel William Henshaw Chapter. With Father Peter Preble absent, Mr. Wratchford acted as Chaplain & offered the Invocation. Wes specifically called for a prayer for our leaders. A moment of silence was also called in remembrance of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Verne Thayer then led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. The SAR Pledge was led by Allan Van Wert.
Our last “official” meeting was in Sturbridge at the Publick House in March 2014. That meeting was a fairly informal gathering, with no official business conducted and no minutes; therefore the President suggested we move to the Officer’s reports.
President’s Report – Principal events involving the Colonel William Henshaw Chapter during 2014:
Our first event was the “Marching Forward” meeting in Sturbridge on March 8, at the Publick House Inn. The event was well attended by many compatriots and guests; totaling approximately 50. We also enjoyed the company of many members of the Col. Timothy Bigelow Chapter DAR, and “George S. and Stella M. Knight Essay Contest” finalists from Worcester’s South High Community School. Our guest speaker was Robert Briere, President of the Sturbridge Historical Society. The Publick House is a great historic venue and they did a fantastic job taking care of us.
On May 10, several members of MASSAR’s Color Guard, including a large contingent from the Col. Henshaw Chapter, participated in Grafton History Day at the invitation of the Grafton Historical Society. President Wratchford recognized Verne Thayer for his efforts in setting up the Grafton History Day event.
The Col. William Henshaw Chapter presented the SAR Flag Certificate to VCA Northborough Animal Hospital on May 16.
During the spring of 2014; President Wratchford had the pleasure and privilege to personally present awards to many young men and women participating in local ROTC programs. Among these were Worcester Polytechnic Institute; Oxford High School; Burncoat High School; and North High School in Worcester. President Wratchford made these presentations in uniform; and the recipients and administrators were very appreciative of that, and of our presence there. Wes also had the privilege to present an Eagle Scout Award at a Court of Honor to a very inspiring young man, Daniel Fitzgerald of Northborough, who has overcome many difficult personal challenges to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. It was an honor to spend time with him and his family.
Wes mentioned that any compatriot is more than welcome to assist in presenting these awards. It is a very rewarding experience, meeting these students and their families, and the faculty that are part of these programs. They appreciate what we do, what we represent, and everyone is encouraged to become involved. There are quite a few schools who would love to have us participate, and we need compatriots to step up and represent the SAR.
The Col. Henshaw Chapter picnic was held on July 20 at Rutland State Park. The event was its usual success, and enjoyed by many. As always, it takes many individuals to help plan and put this event on, and their contributions are very much appreciated. Verne Thayer and Brent Andersen were recognized for their efforts and assistance.
The Chapter and Color Guard had representation at the Colonial Faire at the Wayside Inn – Sudbury by Verne Thayer on September 27th. Verne and Liz Arnow, from the DAR (and Sudbury Ancients), met with the public and distributed about 70 pamphlets each (140 total); describing their respective SAR and DAR organizations.
Also in September, The Henshaw Chapter made up the majority of the Col. Henry Knox Continental Artillery Regiment at a 9/11 Tribute banquet called “Thanks to Yanks” held in Milford, MA. It was an honor to be in the company of so many men and women who have served our country; to hear their stories, and share in the remembrance of the events of that tragic day on September 11, 2001. Participants included Verne Thayer; Wesley H. Wratchford; Allan Van Wert; and Commander Jack Cunningham.
Verne reported he will also be doing a clothing drive with his Milford veterans contact, Mike Sheehan, from the “Thanks to Yanks” program. We’re looking forward to more information on that event when it becomes available, so that we may lend our efforts.
On October 25, in Leicester, the Chapter and CG held a grave marking ceremony for Col. William Henshaw. We were honored by the participation of several Guardsmen from MASSAR’s CG, members of American Legion Cherry Valley Post 443, local dignitaries, members of the public, and Mr. and Mrs. Ken Starbard who were on hand to help us honor Ken’s 3rd Great Grandfather and Revolutionary War hero, Col. William Henshaw.
Reports or Comments by other Chapter Officers:
Treasurer Steve Perkins offered a report on the chapter’s financials. Secretary Allan Van Wert suggested we send out reminder post cards in order to improve Chapter attendance. Allan Van Wert typed these minutes to be included in the official 2014 Report. CG Commander Allan Van Wert, reported on the great success of 1774 Worcester Revolution held on Sept. 7, 2014. A scaled down version of 1774 Worcester Revolution is to be held on October 4, 2015. Other CG activities are planned, with Sudbury Militia providing musket training for those interested in joining the squad.
Awards Chair, Verne Thayer, has been doing a great job in representing the SAR at several Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremonies. The Membership Chair and past Genealogy Chair were not in attendance, and had no report.
New members and guests were introduced; with new member Gerald Legueux, of Chester Street, Worcester, who’s been involved with a career in Web Design joining the SAR ranks in succession of his son Rick.
Unfinished business: The T-shirt Fundraiser for 2016 Congress has yielded an $81.00 profit to date. A few shirts remain for sale, but are of smaller sizes.
New business – Wes announced the names of nominees for office of the Colonel William Henshaw Chapter for 2015. Chapter Officers include:
President – Wesley H. Wratchford
First Vice President – Brent Andersen
Vice President – Douglas Harris
Secretary – Allan Van Wert
Treasurer – Stephen G. Perkins
Membership Chair – William Higgins
Awards & Medals Chair – Verne Thayer
Chaplain – Father Peter Preble
Genealogy Chairs – Richard Pierce and Rick Legeaux
There were no further nominees from the floor. The record showed that the slate was voted on, and passed unanimously. Secretary Allan Van Wert conducted the installation ceremony of the newly designated officers at the meeting.
Additional New Business Discussed:
Steve Perkins suggested the Henshaw Chapter create a “Log of Speakers”, so the DAR, SAR, or whomever has access to excellent programs. Wes agreed that this is a great idea. The genealogy and new member discussion centered on Rick Lagueux having experience with “Ancestry.com”, and has a .pdf file to start any research process. There was a suggestion that Rick call Richard Pierce – current and past Genealogy Chair, so both can work together in helping potential new members find qualifying ancestors; plus help existing members research “Supplemental Ancestors”.
Closing of Col. Henshaw Chapter meeting:
President Wes Wratchford thanked all of the members and guests for attending, adding, “Each of you has an important role to play in your chapter and its success. I hope as we go forward that each of us is mindful to do our best to honor our patriot ancestors by continuing the work they began as best we can.”
SAR Recessional was led by V.P., Brent Anderson
Benediction was by President Wratchford
Introduction of the speaker or program. – After the Col. Henshaw meeting was adjourned, we joined the DAR upstairs in the meeting room at The Oaks for a performance by Patricia Bridgman, who is a professional Abigail Adams re-enactor. Wes learned of Ms. Bridgman while doing research for chapter events. Ms. Bridgman did a wonderful job bringing to life Mrs. Adams in her one-woman show and took Q&A from the audience afterward.