Colonel Henshaw Remembered

On the 25th of October, 2014, the Col. William Henshaw Chapter of the Massachusetts Society Sons of the American Revolution (MASSAR) hosted a ceremony at Rawson Brook Burial Ground to honor the life of its namesake and one of Leicester, Massachusetts best known Patriots – Colonel William Henshaw.

The memorial, led by chapter President Wesley H. Wratchford, featured several Guardsmen from MASSAR’s Colonel Henry Knox Continental Artillery Regiment and members of American Legion Cherry Valley Post 443.  They marched into the cemetery, flags blowing in the wind, and presented an impressive musket volley.  Father Peter Preble, the chapter’s Chaplain, delivered the invocation.  Local residents also attended to pay tribute to Col. Henshaw.

Honored guests included Chairman of the Leicester Board of Selectmen, Mr. Thomas Buckley, Chairman of the Leicester Historical Commission, Mr. Don Lennerton, and President of the Leicester Historical Society, Ms. Diane Calvano.

Our special guest was MASSAR Compatriot and WWII veteran Kenneth Starbard, who is a 3rd Great Grandson of William Henshaw.

Who was Colonel Henshaw, you may ask?  William Henshaw (1736-1820) was a family man, Leicester resident and a vigorous participant in the political and military activities leading up to the American Revolutionary War.  His military career began in the local militia company in 1759 and lasted nearly 20 years.  He was noted for helping plan the defense of Massachusetts against British forces by raising seven regiments from Worcester County, “ready to act at a minute’s warning”, and originating the concept of the “Minute Men”.

Henshaw’s surviving correspondence from before and during the Revolution provides many details about grievances and actions against British authorities.  In an entry in October 1775, just six months after the events at Lexington and Concord, Henshaw wrote:  “The times & the importance of the great cause we are engaged in allows no room for hesitation and delay.  When Life, Liberty & Property are at stake, When our Country is in Danger of being a Melancholy scene of Bloodshed & desolation – When our Towns are laid in ashes and innocent Women & Children driven from their peaceful Habitations, it little becomes the Character of a Soldier to shrink from Danger.”

During the Revolution, Col. Henshaw saw action during engagements at Long Island, White Plains, Trenton, Princeton and Morristown, before retiring from service in February 1777.  He later became active in local politics, serving as a justice of the peace in Leicester and as a Massachusetts State Representative.  He died on February 21, 1820.

At the memorial, details of Henshaw’s service to his country were recounted by many of those in attendance.  Compatriot Kenneth Starbard unveiled a family keepsake; a framed 1936 full-page Worcester Telegram newspaper article describing Henshaw’s life.  As remembrances concluded, Father Preble offered the benediction and the Honor Guard fired another musket volley before retiring the colors – a fitting final salute to a local hero and American Patriot.

Honor Guard fires a musket salute at the opening of the Henshaw Ceremony

Honor Guard fires a musket salute at the opening of the Henshaw Ceremony

Colonel Henshaw's 3rd Great Grandson, Compatriot Ken Starbard displays a family keepsake with Chapter President Wesley H. Wratchford

Colonel Henshaw’s 3rd Great Grandson, Compatriot Ken Starbard displays a family keepsake with Chapter President Wesley H. Wratchford

The Gravesite of Colonel William Henshaw

                      Gravesite of Colonel William Henshaw

Remembering the life of Henshaw.  L-R - Thomas Buckley, Diane Calvano, Ken Starbard, Wesley H. Wratchford and Don Lennerton

Remembering the life of Henshaw. L-R – Thomas Buckley, Diane Calvano, Ken Starbard, Wesley H. Wratchford and Don Lennerton

Remembering Colonel William Henshaw. (Back Row) Stephen Perkins, Joseph Gauthier, Verne Thayer, Wesley H. Wratchford, Kenneth Starbard, Charles Kingsbury, Allan Van Wert, David Conkling, Father Peter Preble. (Front Row)   Andrew McCue, Patrick McKeon, Bruce Swett, Jon Clark, Jeff Wood, Don Lennerton

Remembering Colonel William Henshaw.
(Back Row)
Stephen Perkins, Joseph Gauthier, Verne Thayer, Wesley H. Wratchford, Kenneth Starbard, Charles Kingsbury, Allan Van Wert, David Conkling, Father Peter Preble.
(Front Row)
Andrew McCue, Patrick McKeon, Bruce Swett, Jon Clark, Jeff Wood, Don Lennerton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Invitation to Ceremony at the Grave of Col. William Henshaw

Greetings Compatriot!

You and your family are invited to join us as we honor the Revolutionary War Patriot for whom our chapter is named, Colonel William Henshaw.

At 11 a.m., Saturday, October 25, 2014, we will gather at the grave of Col. Henshaw at Rawson Brook Burial Ground in Leicester, MA, for a special ceremony to remember Col. Henshaw’s life and contributions in helping establish our freedom.  Members from the Col. Henry Knox Continental Artillery Regiment of MASSAR will present the colors and fire a musket salute.

Compatriot Kenneth Starbard, who is a 3rd Great Grandson of Col. Henshaw and a Henshaw Chapter member, will be with us to present a family heirloom as a gift to the Leicester Historical Society at the ceremony.  The Leicester Historical Society has also graciously invited us to enjoy a light lunch and refreshments afterward.

Rawson Brook Burial Ground is located on Main St. (Route 9) in Leicester, just 6 miles west of Worcester.  We hope you will join us for this commemoration as it has been 10 years since the SAR formally gathered at Col. Henshaw’s resting place.  Please let me know at your earliest convenience if you plan to attend so that the Leicester Historical Society will have an idea of how many of us to expect.  Thank you.

Libertas et Patria

Wesley H. Wratchford

President Col. Wm Henshaw Chapter 

MASSAR   

ma.compatriot@yahoo.com                                                                                                                              

 

MASSAR Color Guard honored to participate at local 9/11 tribute

On September 11, 2014, “Thanks To Yanks”, a non-profit organization, hosted their 8th annual 9/11 Tribute Dinner to “Remember, Respect and Revere” our military men and women, veterans and their families, first responders, and all whose lives were deeply impacted by 9/11.

The event took place this year at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Milford, MA and was attended by over 350 people.  Those in attendance included veterans of all ages, some having served during WWII, Korea and Vietnam, as well as military members who are currently serving.  Also in attendance were many Gold Star and Blue Star families, and several local dignitaries.

Colors were presented by members from Col. Henry Knox’s Continental Artillery Regiment of MASSAR.  Forming the Color Guard that evening were Col. Wm Henshaw Chapter President, Wesley H. Wratchford, Past President Verne Thayer, Secretary Allan Van Wert and MASSAR Color Guard Commander, John Cunningham.

The Worcester Civil Air Patrol Cadets conducted the POW/MIA table ceremony, and the Patriot Guard Riders stood at attention with their flag line, while the Rhode Island Highlanders Bag Pipers welcomed guests.

The mission of Thanks To Yanks is to support our military, our veterans and their families. For more information or to get involved with the organization, visit www.thankstoyanks.org You can also “like” them on Face Book.

Thanks To Yanks 2014Knox CG - Thanks to Yanks 2014Thanks to Yanks 2014

Allan Van Wert, Wesley H. Wratchford, Verne Thayer and Jack Cunningham

Allan Van Wert, Wesley H. Wratchford, Verne Thayer and Jack Cunningham

Colonial Faire and National Muster of Fyfes and Drums – September 27

Hello Compatriots!

Summer is winding down quickly, but there are still plenty of family friendly events to look forward to.  One such event is the Colonial Faire and National Muster of Fyfes and Drums at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn located in Sudbury, MA.   http://www.wayside.org/event/colonial-faire-and-muster-fyfe-drum-companies

On Saturday September 27, 10:00am to 6:00pm (Parade begins at 11:45 A.M.) the late 18th century will come alive on the fields by the Wayside Inn. This annual Colonial Faire and Muster of Fyfe and Drum is hosted by the Sudbury Companies of Militia and Minute and the Sudbury Ancient Fyfe and Drum Companie.

Throughout the day, there will be living history demonstrations of life in colonial New England and vendors selling their wares and refreshments. Admission, including entry in raffle for a gift certificate to the Wayside Inn, is $2 per adult, children get in free.

For a look at a performance by the Middlesex County Volunteers at a previous Colonial Faire, click here.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uK-QXsRDbdo

We look forward to seeing you there!

Wesley H. Wratchford
President, Col. William Henshaw Chapter
Massachusetts Society
Sons of the American Revolution

 

2014 Chapter Picnic A Hit!

The weather was perfect.  The conversations lively.  The grill was sizzling.  And if you missed it, well, I suppose there’s always next year.  The 2014 Henshaw Chapter Picnic is now over, but we’ll look back on this afternoon and add it to the long list of enjoyable moments in our chapter’s history.

Everyone enjoyed themselves, and the company of their compatriots.  And it’s particularly nice when our wives accompany us.  Not only do they liven things up and add so much to the occasion, they also do a great job of keeping the guys from getting into trouble.  Not that we didn’t try anyway.

“Best hamburger I’ve ever had”.  That was the compliment offered by the lovely wife of one of our compatriots.  With that kind of praise, I insist the ladies attend all of our events.

There was also a special presentation.  Compatriot Kenneth Starbard donated a newspaper article his grandmother took from the Worcester Telegram in 1936 about Ken’s 3rd Great Grandfather and the namesake of our chapter, Col. William Henshaw.  Ken said he would donate it on the condition we have it framed and preserved for posterity.  I assured him we would take excellent care of it.  Thank you, Ken.

Kenneth Starbard presents chapter President Wesley Wratchford with a 1936 Worcester Telegram article about Col. William Henshaw.

Kenneth Starbard presents chapter President Wesley Wratchford with a 1936 Worcester Telegram article about Col. William Henshaw.

Many, many thanks to everyone who joined us.  Special thanks to Sharon Wratchford and Barbara Thayer for their hard work preparing and cleaning up.  Thanks to Vern Thayer and chapter VP Brent Andersen for helping with supplies and to Brent for helping me with the grill.  Also thanks to everyone who brought a dish, dessert or drink.  You all made the day a whole lot of fun!

Chapter VP Brent Andersen takes a turn with the burgers & dogs.

Chapter VP Brent Andersen takes a turn with the burgers & dogs.

Everyone having fun at the 2014 Henshaw Picnic

Everyone having fun at the 2014 Henshaw Picnic

We’ll see you at the 2015 Col. Henshaw Chapter Picnic in Rutland next July!!!

Libertas Et Patria

Wesley H. Wratchford

Canceled – The Great American Summer Baseball Outing

Update:  Canceled – The Great American Summer Baseball Outing

 

baseball

 

 

 

 

Compatriots,

Due to our apparent inability to reach a minimum number of participants for this Henshaw sponsored MASSAR event, it is with much regret that I announce its cancellation.  It is my hope that we will be able to organize this with more success at another time.  Mostly, I want to thank those individuals who demonstrated their commitment.  Your support for your chapter and the ideals of the SAR is greatly appreciated.

Libertas Et Patria

Wesley H. Wratchford

                

 

 

Time for the 2014 Chapter Picnic!

Greetings Compatriots!

It’s time again for the annual Col. William Henshaw Chapter Picnic!

cookout time!

Where:  Rutland State Park – at the Pavillion.  (ask a Ranger at the gate if you need directions)  http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/massparks/region-central/rutland-state-park.html

When:  Sunday July 20, 2014

Time:  1:00 P.M.

Cost:  It’s FREE!

You can RSVP to me at ma.compatriot@yahoo.com.  This is not a meeting.  As we’ve done before, this is a chance for old friends, as well as new ones, to get together for a fun afternoon of burgers, hot dogs, salad, refreshments, fun & games.  It’s very casual.  Feel free to bring something if you like, such as a drink or dessert.

Please reply by July 16, so I’ll have a proper head count and can make sure we have enough of everything for everyone.  I look forward to seeing you there!

Libertas Et Patria!

Wes

 

 

 

 

 

Awards Awards Awards!

It’s that time of year again, when we have the honor to represent the SAR at celebrations of young men and women committed to excellence through their participation in local ROTC programs.  I can tell you firsthand that it’s not only a privilege to meet the instructors and their cadets and present these patriots with an SAR medal for their hard work, it’s also a heck of a lot of fun.

We’re also fortunate to be involved with the Boy Scouts of America and recognize young men who have gone above and beyond by attaining the rank of Eagle.  The past several weeks have been busy, and very enjoyable.

Any Henshaw compatriot is welcome to join in and participate.  If you would like to learn more about these programs and assist in presenting at future events, please send me an e-mail at MA.Compatriot@yahoo.com

Here are a few photos from recent ROTC banquets and an Eagle Court of Honor.

Libertas Et Patria!

Wesley H. Wratchford

 

 

Opening Ceremony - NJROTC Unit Banquet, Oxford High School

Opening Ceremony – NJROTC Unit Banquet, Oxford High School

 

Using a sword to assist Naval Junior Reserve Officer Cadets with cutting the cake.

Using a sword to assist Naval Junior Reserve Officer Cadets with cutting the cake.

Burncoat High School Air Force JROTC Color Guard perform during opening ceremonies.

Burncoat High School Air Force JROTC Color Guard perform during opening ceremonies.

Presenting Eagle Scout Daniel M. Fitzgerald with the SAR Eagle Scout Award in Northborough, MA

Presenting Eagle Scout Daniel M. Fitzgerald with the SAR Eagle Scout Award in Northborough, MA

 

Opening ceremonies for North High School Naval JROTC Awards

Opening ceremonies for North High School Naval JROTC Awards

Wesley H. Wratchford pins the SAR medal on Cadet Petty Officer 1st Class Maldonado

Wesley H. Wratchford pins the SAR medal on Cadet Petty Officer 1st Class Maldonado

 

Henshaw Chapter Presents SAR Flag Certificate

From:  Northborough.Patch.com

Flag Certificate Presented to VCA Northborough Animal Hospital

Posted by Tony Schinella (Editor) , May 21, 2014 at 04:00 AM

        Wesley H. Wratchford and Sheryl Gray-Brown. Courtesy               

  • Wesley H. Wratchford and Sheryl Gray-Brown.   Courtesy

 

The Col. William Henshaw Chapter of the Massachusetts Society Sons of the American Revolution presented the SAR Flag Certificate to VCA Northborough Animal Hospital on May 16.  The SAR Flag Certificate is presented to individual citizens, businesses and government agencies that fly the U.S. flag in the proper manner and for patriotic purposes – not as a means of advertising.

 
Chapter President Wesley H. Wratchford presented the commendation to VCA’s Hospital Administrator Sheryl Gray-Brown.  Wratchford said, “VCA was chosen in recognition of their exemplary patriotism. Their prominent display of the flag of the United States of America is deserving of this honor.”

 

 

Compatriots!  

If you know a citizen, local business, or government agency that flies our flag in a display of exemplary patriotism, we would like to recognize them too!  Please contact Chapter President Wes Wratchford at ma.compatriot@yahoo.com or  Chapter Vice President Brent Andersen at brentjandersen@gmail.com 

Thank you!    

 

 

Grafton History Day Celebrated

On May 10, 2014, MASSAR’s Continental Color Guard participated in Grafton History Day at the invitation of the Grafton Historical Society.  Each year they choose a different period in our history.  This year was the American Revolution.

We were well represented by several Guardsmen:  Jack Cunningham (Commander), Steve Perkins (State Secretary & First VP), Wesley H. Wratchford (President – Col. Wm Henshaw Chapter).  Allan Van Wert (MASSAR & Col. Wm Henshaw Chapter Safety Officer), Charles Kingsbury (Color Guard Treasurer) and Verne Thayer (Past President – Col. Wm Henshaw Chapter).

Also taking part were Michael Fishbein (MASSAR President), Dwight Smith (Col. Wm Henshaw Awards & Medals Chair) and Joe Gauthier (Old Middlesex Chapter).

We were joined by Linda Carter, President of the Grafton Historical Society and Elizabeth J Tivnan, Regent of the Col. Timothy Bigelow DAR Chapter.  We had information available to the public about how to join the SAR, our Eagle Scout Awards and Scholarships, and Flag Certificates.  We also had a small uniform and a tricorn hat for children to wear as they had their pictures taken with our Guardsmen, along with a special certificate saying the child was a member of the Colonial Militia.

We shared our information tent with Beth Tivnan and a few other members of the Col. Timothy Bigelow DAR Chapter, and also the Worcester 1774 Org.  Next to us, Joe Gauthier (OMC) set up a table of his own. He had Color Guard bumper stickers available for sale and a large banner that said, “Sons of the American Revolution Color Guard”.  Joe also had some replica colonial currency that he would pay the kids when they signed up for the militia.

There were many other groups there as well, including a few Civil War reenactors, craftsmen, cooks, and horticulturalists, which made for an enjoyable time for everyone.  Our Guardsmen were all present by 10:00 a.m. and engaging the visitors.  We drilled on the Grafton Common and gave a musket volley for the public in preparation for two grave markings.

Before we left for the cemetery, a local reenactor offered a presentation on the life of Col. Luke Drury (1737-1811).  Col. Drury’s activities spanned the period from the French and Indian War to the Federal era.  He served in the militia during the French and Indian War, fought at Bunker Hill, and was then based at West Point during the Revolution and later served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Worcester County Militia.  He later was elected as the Grafton representative to the Massachusetts House.

Our Guardsmen, along with some interested members of the public, marched ½ mile to the Old Oak Cemetery, where there are numerous patriots interred – many with SAR grave markers.  After a brief prayer service, we shot a musket volley at the grave of Col. Drury.  We also paid our respects at the grave of Major David W. Leland (1758-1831).  Maj. Leland was an ancestor of our Guard Commander Jack Cunningham.  A second musket volley was fired in his honor, and to honor all patriots buried at the Old Oak Cemetery.

After the long ½ march uphill toward Grafton Common, we gathered for lunch (and ale) at the Grafton Inn where we were well received and took several photos with patrons.   By 2:00 pm. we packed up and headed for home.  A great day and our mission accomplished.

By Verne Thayer and Wesley H. Wratchford

Guardsmen from the Massachusetts Continental Guard drill on Grafton Common - May 10, 2014. Pictured from left to right are:  Verne Thayer, Charles Kingsbury, Wesley H. Wratchford, Steve Perkins, and Commander Jack Cunningham.

Guardsmen from the Massachusetts Continental Guard drill on Grafton Common – May 10, 2014.
Pictured from left to right are: Verne Thayer, Charles Kingsbury, Wesley H. Wratchford, Steve Perkins, and Commander Jack Cunningham.

Guardsmen firing a musket volley at Old Oak Cemetery, Grafton MA, in honor of Col. Luke Drury. Pictured from right to left are:  Verne Thayer, Commander Jack Cunningham, Steve Perkins, Wesley H. Wratchford, and Charles Kingsbury.

Guardsmen firing a musket volley at Old Oak Cemetery, Grafton MA, in honor of Col. Luke Drury.
Pictured from right to left are: Verne Thayer, Commander Jack Cunningham, Steve Perkins, Wesley H. Wratchford, and Charles Kingsbury.