Major George Gibson NSDAR celebrates 100th anniversary

The Major George Gibson Chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) met July 28 at the Karlan Mansion, Wilderness Road State Park, Ewing, Virginia to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the official founding of the chapter and to welcome prospective members.

Chapter Regent Nancy Britton opened the meeting and welcomed the 28 guests and members to the chapter’s 100 year birthday celebration. The honored guests at the head table were Patricia Musick Hatfield, NSDAR librarian general and past Virginia DAR (VADAR) state regent; Rebecca Morgan Rogers, VADAR state vice regent; Katherine Jones McClelland; VADAR state registrar; and Elizabeth Trevillian, VADAR District IV director.

Major George Gibson descendants present were Betsy Barron-McElyea, Frances Inwood, Betsy Stickley and Elizabeth Wills. Frances Inwood was also the guest speaker and a prospective chapter member. Other prospective members present were Susan Parker and Nancy Parkey.

Major George Gibson Chapter members present in addition to Regent Britton were Marisa Anders, Charlotte Brooks, Joy Burchett, Andrea Cheak, Dolores Ham, Sharon Harrell (associate member), Judy Hounshell, Rebecca Jones, Linda Lawson, Agnes Marcum, Fay Ramsey, Myra Richardson (associate member), Judy Richmond, Rebecca Royal, Augusta Sinon, Mary Sprinkle and Manerva Watson.

Chaplain Manerva Watson gave the invocation from Psalms 95 and 145. Augusta Sinon led the Pledge to the Flag of the United States of America, Agnes Marcum started The American’s Creed and Fay Ramsey began the Preamble to the Constitution. Past Regent Charlotte Brooks and Rebecca Royal led singing of the Star-Spangled Banner.

The honored guests brought greetings from their respective locations and thanked the chapter for inviting them. NSDAR Librarian General Hatfield congratulated the chapter on behalf of the national society for having this wonderful anniversary celebration and for being strong after 100 years.

VADAR State Vice Regent Rogers stated it was an honor to bring greetings from the Virginia DAR as members celebrate this significant milestone in the history of the Major George Gibson chapter. Members have actively served this community by honoring veterans and military, by recognizing outstanding students, and by marking many historic sites, including the grave of your namesake, Major George Gibson, who served with such distinction and sense of service, including surviving the winter at Valley Forge. THe VADAR expressed appreciation for the chapter’s continued dedication in perpetuating historic preservation, education and patriotism. She offered congratulations to all those involved in today’s celebration and to the chapter for promoting greater public awareness of the lives and sacrifices of those who served for the love of country.

VADAR District IV Director Trevillian stated she was pleased to be here to celebrate 100 years with the Major George Gibson Chapter.

VADAR State Registrar McClelland stated she was thrilled that the chapter invited prospective new members to the celebration. She said we have a wonderful chapter and, due to our location, can draw members from Kentucky and Tennessee as well as Virginia. She offered to assist anyone working on application papers. Regent Britton added that the chapter has not had any applications returned in the last two years and that Andrea Cheak is a wonderful chapter registrar.

Chaplain Watson asked a blessing for the food. Regent Britton asked everyone to view the historical display in the Karlan Mansion foyer and to sign the ledger while waiting in line to fill their plates. The display was provided by chapter member Rebecca Jones, president of the Lee County Historical and Genealogical Society. The group had a period of fellowship while enjoying the many delicious foods from the “Almost Authentic 1918 Party Menu.”

Past Regent Linda Lawson gave a program on the Founding of NSDAR.

Vice Regent Judy Hounshell, also a Past Regent, gave a program on Major George Gibson Chapter History. George Isaac Gibson was born in Cork County, Ireland in 1732. He came to America with his parents between birth and age nine, settling in Augusta County, Virginia. He married Elizabeth Smith around 1776, and they had eleven children. Young George served as a Lieutenant at the Battle of Point Pleasant under Captain George Matthews in the Southern Division of Lord Dunmore’s Army. During the Revolution, he served in the Continental Army and was promoted to major. He fought at Valley Forge in the terrible winter of 1777-1778. It is also said that he was in the Battle of King’s Mountain. Major Gibson served with General Washington and was present during the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown in October 1781.

After the Revolution, Major Gibson moved westward to Washington County, Virginia, and when Lee County was formed, his property fell within its boundaries. He purchased land for twenty-five cents an acre and built Gibson’s Fort to protect his family and neighbors. Some of the stone wall is still visible. Major Gibson died April 3, 1819, and his wife died some seven years later in 1826. Both are buried at the site of the old fort at the foot of the Cumberland Mountains about three miles west of today’s meeting site. Our Major George Gibson DAR Chapter maintains their gravesites. In 1890, the L&N Railroad named that section of the county Gibson Station.

Hounshell stated that it was due to the efforts of Elizabeth Ball Kincaid of Lee County, Virginia that the Major George Gibson DAR Family Chapter was founded. In 1916 Kincaid invited her cousins from Williamsburg, Kentucky to visit and work on Gibson records. However, she became ill and passed away in 1917, leaving her daughter, Nannie Lee Kincaid Stickley, to continue her efforts. Stickley and her cousins were assisted by Virginia State Regent Althea Spurrell and initially became DAR “members at large.”

The Major George Gibson DAR Chapter was given the authority to organize on February 23, 1917 and was officially organized the following year on July 25, 1918. Nannie Lee Kincaid Stickley was the first chapter regent. Two of the Major George Gibson descendants present today, Betsy Barron-McElyea and Betsy Stickley, are her granddaughters. This was strictly a family chapter until 1946 when it was opened to descendants of other Revolutionary War patriots. Hounshell believes she may be the most senior active member in today’s chapter.

A Founder’s Day Lighting of the Candles Ceremony was performed by Linda Lawson, Judy Hounshell, and Charlotte Brooks. Lawson lit the first candle in memory of the founders of NSDAR, Hounshell lit the second in memory of the Major George Gibson charter members, and Charlotte Brooks lit the third candle in memory of the deceased Major George Gibson Chapter members. Regent Britton asked for a moment of silence in memory of these ladies.

After the tour and program about the Karlan Mansion, everyone reconvened in the mansion solarium. Regent Britton recognized the 100-year celebration committee, Joy Burchett, Andrea Cheak, Dolores Ham,and Rebecca Jones, for the wonderful job done in preparation for the event. The committee started planning two years ago and gave updates about the chapter history and founders at each meeting. Britton said they worked tirelessly, and we are grateful. She thanked the committee members for a wonderful day.

Last on the agenda was the drawing for door prizes and presentation of gifts. Those who did not win a door prize received a “birthday present” in honor of the chapter anniversary. The honored guests were each given a gift from the chapter. Guest speaker Frances Inwood was also given a gift. Everyone in attendance received small donated items from local establishments. This was a most enjoyable celebration.

Regent Britton announced that the next chapter event will be the annual August picnic.