Saturday, August 23, 2014

Society Saturday - Continental Congress

Once again, thousands of patriotic women converge on Washington DC at the end of June for the annual meeting of the Daughters of the American Revolution.  Unfortunately, I was only able to attend for 3 days, but it was fun anyway.

This is the 123rd Continental Congress of this organization that is nearing its 125th birthday.

Opening night had the usual long procession of pages, flags, and National Officers to the sounds of the US Marine Corps band.  At the end of the procession, a large flag drops from the ceiling of Constitution Hall.


The keynote speaker for the evening was Alexander Rose.  He is the author of "Washington's Spies: The Story of America's First Spy Ring".  He gave an entertaining talk about some of his research into the Culper spy ring.  If this sounds familiar, his book forms the basis for the TV show "Turn" about the Culper Spy Ring.  Following Mr. Rose's talk, the executive producer of "Turn", Barry Josephson, accepted the DAR Media Award.



The next day, we attended the Units Overseas Luncheon.  Since my daughter is an organizing member of the Mariana Islands Chapter in Guam, and none of their regular members were able to attend, we always help them out with their sales at the International Bazaar.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Amanuensis Monday - Grandma Hill's Poetry, Week 50

This is the last of the poems that have been transcribed.  It is fitting that this week's poem is about her son Victor Hill who was born on August 19, 1897. This is one of the few poems that I can date, but it clearly was written on August 19, 1945.


His Birthday

August 19: Forty eight years ago today he was born
And forty eight years ago tonight, the tiny form 
Lay safe in my proud protecting arm
'Twas my job, through shine and storm
To keep him safe from any harm.

Of the three, it seemed, he was my choice
And I was always cheered to hear his laughing voice
He was always happy, lively, helpful and gay
So passed sixteen years of his youth away.

Then work took him from our home away
For more than a year, I thought "not gone to stay"
When I heard the sad news he was on a foreign shore
The thought came to me "I'll never see him more".

He had gone to help our neighbor country in her dire need
Never thinking of the sacrifice to be exacted for the deed.
He gave his young life to make this world a better place
And I've ever thought 'twas his wish, I should keep a smiling face.

No one knows the sorrow, only another mother so bereft
Nor how this sorrow makes us cling to those who are left.
We can only be thankful to be near them day by day
'Till life is done and our sorrow is ended forever and aye.





Nancy Jane Wiley Hill (1875-1960) was always writing something.  Many of those poems are now in the possession of her granddaughter Shirley Kern.  Shirley, with the help of her sister-in-law Ruth Ormsby, transcribed these poems in 1996 for a Hill-Ormsby-Kern family reunion.  I am going to post many of these poems so that they may be enjoyed by all.

These are copyright 1996 and reprinted with permission.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Society Saturday - Cruising the Rock River

The Chicago Chapter of Colonial Dames of America recently met in Oregon, Illinois.  This is a small town on the Rock River in north central Illinois.


Our meeting took place aboard a Paddlewheel boat, the "Pride of Oregon".  During and after lunch, we enjoyed a cruise along the river.


This part of the state is still fairly undeveloped.  It was the location of former Indian lands that had disputed ownership during the early 1800's.  In 1832, Chief Blackhawk returned from exile in Iowa to reclaim these lands for his Sauk people.  This set off a series of battles and raids known as the Blackhawk war.


The highlight of the cruise was the statue of BlackHawk at Lowden state park.  It was created in 1911 by Laredo Taft and is 50 feet tall.  From the river, one has the sense that BlackHawk is still surveying his former lands.


www.cdany.org

Monday, August 11, 2014

Amanuensis Monday - Grandma Hill's Poetry, Week 49

The White Cross

Yes, he is gone, his name is written there
In jet-black letters, staring from the white.
And yet, because I yield not to despair, You look
askance, and think my grief is slight.

I felt the greatest depths of mortal pain
The day I know, from Canada he'd sailed away.
Surely, such anguish could not come again; And
life, in any human heart, holds sway.

All that was mortal of that boy of mine
Now lies afar beneath the war scarred earth.
But that which gave him life, the spark divine,
His spirit, was set free, a second birth.

And when often I give up and think can't go on,
'tis useless to try.
It seems I can feel him near me saying,
"Please mother, don't cry."

And so, I go my way, with proud head high,
Knowing full well that he's all mine once more,
A close companionship that can not die, Sweeter
than any we'd ever known before.

He gave his beautiful young life away, that others,
in this torn world might be free
His soul died not, and it belongs today, To no one
else, but just his God and me.



Nancy Jane Wiley Hill (1875-1960) was always writing something.  Many of those poems are now in the possession of her granddaughter Shirley Kern.  Shirley, with the help of her sister-in-law Ruth Ormsby, transcribed these poems in 1996 for a Hill-Ormsby-Kern family reunion.  I am going to post many of these poems so that they may be enjoyed by all.

These are copyright 1996 and reprinted with permission.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Society Saturday - Mr. Jefferson's Home

The Business meeting of the Children of American Colonists was held on Saturday morning.  National President Mitchell C. presided and a lot of business was accomplished.


That afternoon, we toured Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson.  It is an estate on top of a mountain overlooking Charlottesville and the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Inside were objects sent to Jefferson from Lewis & Clark, some inventions of his, his book collection, and artwork he brought from France.

Mitchell's National Project was to help fund the Mountaintop Activity Center there.  This is a hands on area for children to learn more about Jefferson.  We were shown a replica of his traveling desktop.


Then, everyone signed their own copy of the Declaration of Independence with a quill pen.


After touring the mansion and Activity Center, we walked down to the cemetery.  Only descendants of Thomas Jefferson are buried there, and the family maintains the graves.  We were given a brief tour by one of his 5th great-grandsons.


Then it was back to the hotel to get ready for the candlelight dinner.  Accomplishments were celebrated and new officers were installed.


The 74th General Assembly of NSCAC was a success.

www.nsdac.org/nscac






Monday, August 04, 2014

Amanuensis Monday - Grandma Hill's Poetry, Week 48

I dream not of that lonely grave in France
Wherein your battle wearied frame finds rest.
I know you found the sweetness of God's glance
The day he called your brave soul West.

I cannot think your race is wholly run
Tho' dark as night, the intervening veils
Somewhere beyond the setting sun,
Your valiant barque still sails.

I cannot look into your pictured face
And think of you as lying still and cold.
Rather, I see you wiser grown in grace,
Courageous as of old.

I think of you, as in some other sphere
Rounding your talents in some task divine,
Loving the ones you left behind you here,
Ever growing, through love more fine.

Just as you are, with loyal heart, and true
Waiting my coming, tho' the years seem slow,
Praying for our eternal rendezvous,
Nearer than we may know.



Nancy Jane Wiley Hill (1875-1960) was always writing something.  Many of those poems are now in the possession of her granddaughter Shirley Kern.  Shirley, with the help of her sister-in-law Ruth Ormsby, transcribed these poems in 1996 for a Hill-Ormsby-Kern family reunion.  I am going to post many of these poems so that they may be enjoyed by all.

These are copyright 1996 and reprinted with permission.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Society Saturday - Mr. Jefferson's University

The National Society of the Children of American Colonists has their General Assembly in June.  The location varies, which allows the members and adults to visit different parts of the country.  The day before General Assembly begins is usually a fun touring day.  This year's General Assembly was in Charlottesville, Virginia.  We toured the University of Virginia Grounds.

UVA was founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson, who considered it one of his most important accomplishments.  He believed in lifelong learning, so there is no designation of "Freshman, Sophomore, etc."  Instead, the students are called First year, second year, and so on.


The center of campus (called the "Grounds") is comprised of the Lawn.  This  is a large open space with long buildings on 2 sides.  At the north end is the Rotunda, a recognizable building.  The Rotunda, which cost $60,000 to build, is currently being renovated at a cost of $6 million.

The long buildings consist of 10 Pavilions with several smaller rooms in between.  The smaller rooms are still used as student residences.  The Pavilions were where the faculty lived.  The professors would live on the second floor, and their classrooms were on the first floor.  Although the classrooms have been moved elsewhere, faculty still live in the Pavilions.


Interestingly, each Pavilion has its own architectural style.  This was by design.  Students could learn architectural elements such as the difference between Doric, Ionic and Corinthian columns just by studying the Pavilions.


After the tour, we drove to historic Michie Tavern.  This served as a stagecoach stop in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains.  We had a delicious lunch in the Ordinary, then toured the tavern itself.  While there, the members learned a Colonial Reel.  


www.nsdac.org/nscac