Patriotism in its simplest form can be defined as love of country. Today the perception of patriotism has become more complicated.
To the young people who have become members of the newly formed West Augusta Society Children of the American Revolution (C.A.R.), it’s still quite simple. They want to show respect for their country and honor their ancestors.
For Abigail Kennedy and her sister Jillian, the connection to their great-grandmother, Gerry Chapman, means a great deal.
“I think being part of this group will help me learn about my ancestors,” Kennedy said. “But it also allows me to show respect for my great-grandmother.”
Chapman, who is a charter member of Jackson County’s Old Hickory Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), says it’s very important to know a family’s heritage.
“It connects us to our beginnings,” she said. “I’m so proud that my great-grandchildren have carried on this tradition. We now have three generations in the DAR and one generation in the C.A.R.”
To become a member of the C.A.R., a child must be under the age of 22 and be lineally descended, with documentation, from a man or woman who “with unfailing loyalty, rendered material aid to the causes of American Independence as a soldier, sailor, civil officer or recognized patriot in one of the several Colonies or States, or of the United states, provided that the applicant is personally acceptable to the Society.” [N.S.C.A.R. bylaws]. The National Society was founded in 1895 by Harriet M. Lothrop. There are seven C.A.R. groups in West Virginia.
For Chapman’s family, the patriot is Benjamin LeMaster, a soldier in George Washington’s army who rose from private to the rank of sergeant.
“He was at the Battle of Trenton, at Valley Forge and wounded at Fort Monmouth,” Chapman said. “He carried messages for Washington as well. He did survive, settled in Nicholas County and raised 10 daughters to adulthood.”
The West Augusta Chapter chose its name for Augusta County, Virginia, which included the northwestern part of what is now West Virginia. There are currently 13 members from Jackson and Wood Counties. The group hopes to add members from Wirt and Roane Counties as well.
Senior organizing president from the Old Hickory DAR, Carolyn Flinn, explained that the purposes of this organization, besides honoring America’s patriots, is to teach the members leadership, how to conduct meetings, parliamentary procedure, public speaking and service.
“Each office will be held by one of the members,” Flinn said. “They will conduct their meetings, plan events, get involved in service projects in the community. Each office will have a corresponding senior advisor from the Old Hickory DAR to give guidance.”
Marjie Parsons, who will serve as senior corresponding secretary, saw her two grandchildren, Lincoln and CoraJean Heilmann inducted into the society.
“I’m just so happy that they want to continue on with this,” Parsons said. “In fact, CoraJean is going to be a page at the state DAR convention.”
Currently the meetings for the society will be at the Jackson County Library. But plans are to have them at various locations in the member counties.
Aurora Tennant, President of the West Augusta C.A.R., said it’s her goal to organize some educational and fun trips around the state.
“I think this can be a really good opportunity to learn a lot about our state’s history as well as our country,” she said. “We’re still in the planning stages right now. And we definitely will look for a service project to do. It’s going to be a great experience.”
For information about the local C.A.R., contact Flinn at 304-863-6326. For information about the national organization, visit nscar.org.
Officers of the West Augusta C.A.R.:
President – Aurora Tennant
1st Vice-President – Cole Neal
2nd Vice-President – Mason Gandee
Chaplain – Nathan Tennant
Recording Secretary – Abigail Tennant
Corresponding Secretary – CoraJean Heilmann
Registrar – Carter Neal
Treasurer – Lincoln Heilmann
Historian – Victoria Tennant
I believe in the Children of the American Revolution as an organization for the training of young people in true patriotism and love of country, in order that they shall be better fitted for American citizenship.
As a descendant of the Founders of my Country, I believe that my birthright brings a responsibility to carry on their work, and that the boys and girls of 1776 took an active part in the War for Independence, so the boys and girls of today have a definite work to do for their Country.
As a member of the Children of the American Revolution, I believe it is my duty to use my influence to create a deeper love of country, a loyal respect for its Constitution and reverence for its Flag among the young people with whom I come in contact.