Richmond hosted more than 60 Washington Family Descendants from all across the United States when they arrived for their 58th Annual Conference on Oct. 19-21 at the Downtown Richmond Omni.
Chaired by NSWFD President General Lee Hardin Woody of Roanoke, the conference allowed the society’s officers and various committees to report their accomplishments in the past year along with visiting historical sites that hold special significance to the Washington Family. The society selected Richmond as the site of this year’s annual meeting based on its strong ties to Gen. George Washington.
“Richmond has long been the political, industrial, historical and educational center of our great commonwealth. Our own George Washington who personally surveyed and planned the James River and Kanawha Canal during the 18th century recognized the importance of the city’s location as a gateway to the west and, therefore, the future success of our state.” said Mrs. Woody, a native Virginian. “Our family is touched by the many ways that the residents of Richmond have chosen to honor the General from the Houdon statue in the Capitol Building to the George Washington Equestrian Statue in Capital Square. We are looking forward to taking in the sights and sounds of the city as we retrace his steps.”
Members of the society kicked off their weekend with a cocktail party at the Virginia Historical Society where CEO and President Paul Levengood joined them and officially welcomed them to the city. Other sites the family visited included the John Marshall House, the Capitol Building, Capital Square, Bell Tower, Historic St. John’s Church where Patrick Henry made his historic Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death speech, and the Jefferson Hotel along with a drive down Monument Avenue.
Key accomplishments included making annual donations to Mary Washington House, Mary Ball Washington Museum and Library, Mount Vernon Ladies Association, Kenmore and Ferry Farm, George Washington’s Birthplace Association at Pope’s Creek, Friends of Happy Retreat, Woodlawn and Sulgrave Manor.
Since 1982 the society has sponsored The Washington Family Descendant Scholarship Award at Washington and Lee University in Lexington. This award is made annually to the rising senior history major who attains the highest grade-point average following his or her first three years of study. This year’s recipient was Joseph Roger Landry. In 2012, the society participated in the Library of Virginia’s Adopt Virginia History by adopting Henry Alexander Odgen’s watercolor, Washington Greeting Rochambeau at the West Doorway of Mount Vernon, September 1781.
Support is not limited to writing checks. Dr. Justin Glenn, NSWFD Registrar and retired Florida State University Professor of Classics, is putting finishing touches on his book, “The Washingtons: A Genealogical History,” which is a compilation of the descendants of Col. John and Anne (Pope) Washington of Westmoreland County, Va. In addition, the society has provided details as to the provenance of Washington Family artifacts that have been catalogued as part of the American Revolution Center’s collection located in Philadelphia. NSWFD genealogist John Augustine Washington has provided an oral history about the family to the American Public University System through one of their sponsored sites. To view these videos, please visit the following link:. http://vimeo.com/apus/videos/page:3/sort:date.
The society announced the establishment of the John Washington Research Award during its Saturday night dinner. The award has been established to support deserving projects that publish, preserve or expand research on the Washington family. The first recipient of this award is Dr. Glenn for his research on the Washington Family.
Finally, NSWFD spearheaded the effort to restore and install a new monument to Mildred Reade Warner, George Washington’s great grandmother, at the historic Warner Hall cemetery in Gloucester, Va. The monument had deteriorated over the years into a pile of bricks and rubble. The new granite monument for Reade Warner was inscribed by hand in the same style as her husband, Augustine Warner II. Members of the Washington family were at Warner Hall on Thursday, Oct. 18, to attend a private family dedication of the monument, which was conducted by Rev. Sven van Baars of Abingdon Church, Gloucester.
The NSWFD is dedicated to historic preservation, education and patriotism. Its more than 500 members who are scattered worldwide descend from one or more of Gen. George Washington’s seven colonial ancestors, which include Col. John Washington, Nathaniel Pope, George Reade, Nicholas Martiau, Augustine Warner Sr., Colonel William Ball and Mary Johnson Ball Hewes, as well as Lawrence Washington, the brother of Col. John Washington. For more information on the work of the NSWFD, see http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~vanswfd/default.htm.
– Submitted by Lee Hardin Woody