The History of the George Washington Chapter

Presidents of the George Washington Chapter to Date

Members of the Virginia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (VASSAR) living in the Alexandria area first met as a group on February 16, 1940. At the VASSAR annual meeting in Williamsburg six days later, on George Washington’s birthday, the group was given a charter as the General George Washington Chapter. Meetings were held regularly for several years in Alexandria, a city closely identified with the life of General Washington.

The first officers of the General George Washington Chapter were Lester A. Washburn (president), Raymond H. Julian (secretary-treasurer), the Rev. Edward Randolph Welles (chaplain), and Raymond H. Douglas (historian). This GW chapter was dissolved in 1951.

On April 2, 1954, VASSAR chartered the current chapter as The George Washington Chapter. The fourteen charter members of our chapter were J.C. Herbert Bryant; S. Cooper Dawson, Jr.; James M. Duncan, Jr.; James M. Duncan III; Robert V.H. Duncan; John H. Marion; Thomas Moncure; Francis W. Null; Fitzhugh L.R. Opie; Walter E. Sanford, Sr.; Walter E. Sanford, Jr.; Charles C. Smoot, Jr.; Thomas A. Sommers, Jr.; and Braxton H. Tabb, Jr. The chapter has grown over the years and it now has over 275 members.

In March 1976, the chapter adopted its first written Constitution and Bylaws. The chapter adopted the most recent amendments to those documents in 2012. Copies of the current governing documents are available upon request from the secretary.

The chapter has won numerous awards from VASSAR and the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (NSSAR) over the years. For example, the chapter was named VASSAR's Best Very Large Chapter in 2009 and 2011. At the SAR National Congress in Kansas City in July 2013, NSSAR recognized the chapter's support for veterans with the USS Stark Memorial Award.

For over 55 years, The George Washington Chapter has sponsored and participated in a wide variety of activities designed to perpetuate the ideals of our Revolutionary War era patriots. For example, one of the highlights of each year is the Independence Day wreath-laying ceremony at the tomb of General Washington on the Mt. Vernon Estate, a tradition started in 1961. Chapter members parade across the green in front of the Mansion, the chapter president gives a patriotic address to the assembled crowd, and members lay flowers at the foot of General Washington’s final resting place. Members who participate earn the Baldwin-Jones-Tabb Medal, which commemorates the founders of this tradition. Other annual chapter events include, but are not limited to, marching in the Alexandria George Washington Birthday Day and National Memorial Day Parades, participating in the annual naturalized citizen ceremony at Mt. Vernon, and laying wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary soldier in Old Town Alexandria.

Beginning in 2010, the chapter has served as the host chapter for the VASSAR Gold Good Citizenship Medal Gala. This annual black-tie affair has recognized the contributions of great Americans such as Secretary of Veterans Affiars Gen. Eric Shinseki, Gen. Peter Pace (16th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff), Attorney General Edwin Meese III, Gen. Frederick Kroesen, and Gen. Richard B. Myers (15th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff).

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Presidents of the George Washington Chapter

1954 – Robert V.H. Duncan *
1955 – Robert V.H. Duncan *
1956 – Fitzhugh L.R. Opie
1957 – S. Cooper Dawson, Jr.
1958 – Henry A. Schauffler
1959 – Braxton H. Tabb, Jr. *
1960 – Dwight M. Agnew
1961 – Bruce C. Gunnell *
1962 – James M. Thomson
1963 – Donald W. Baldwin * †
1964 – Caldwell N. Dugan
1965 – Wilfred J. Smith
1966 – Sidney S. King, Jr.
1967 – Braxton H. Tabb, Jr. *
1968 – Benjamin S. Jones
1969 – Joseph S. Coulter
1970 – Seymour R. Young
1971 – Jerome L. Loomis
1972 – Donald B. Wilson

1973 – Wesley H. Schmidt, Sr.
1974 – James L. Mayer *
1975 – Donald L. Miller
1976 – George S. Knight *
1977 – Frank L. Calkins
1978 – William E. Young
1979 – Stanley G. Price
1980 – Moses M. Gibson III
1981 – W.D. Crittenberger, Jr.
1982 – William J. Millard, Jr.
1983 – Lockwood Richard Doty II
1984 – Richard G. Sauner  * †
1985 – W. Edward Dakin
1986 – Lorance Dix Lisle *
1987 – William A. Pearce
1988 – Carlos J. Ricketson * †
1989 – Richard W. Scott, Jr.
1990 – Peter W. Pedrotti
1991 – William H. Trotter, Sr.

1992 – R. Thomas Purkins
1993 – William T. Dutton
1994 – Donald F. Reynolds *
1995-96 – Robert A. Crawley, Jr.
1997-98 – Michael J.L. Greene
1999-2000 – Louis A. Beach
2001-02 – Charles D. McGuire
2003-04 – Richard P. Kusserow
2005-06 – C. Russell H. Shearer
2007-08 – Wm. Kenan Torrans
2009 – David M. Walker
2010-11 – Robert F. Carr *
2012 – F. Paul Briggs
2013 – Michael J. Elston *   †
2014 – Scott A. Wagoner
2015 – Dwight E. Whitney, Ph.D
2016 – Gregory O. Bodge
2017 – Paul Walden
2018 –Ernie Coggins

* Served as a Virginia state officer
† Served as a Vice President General of the National Society

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