President Van Deacon presided. Jim Edgemon gave the invocation; Deacon gave the pledge to the U.S. flag; and Dave Whaley led the pledge to the Tennessee flag and the SAR flag.
Bronze Good Citizenship Medals were presented to three for exemplary service to the community, to the Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter and to the chapter’s Statue Project. They were Bob Card, Josh Coleman and Allan Jones. Toby Pendergrass received the award for Jones.
New member Danny Cooke was sworn in, and his membership certificate presented by Stan Evans.
President Van Deacon explained the Society rosette, and presented Cooke with one as a new chapter member.
Two other new members who were scheduled to be sworn in could not attend, and will be sworn in in May.
Evans presented an Honorary Lifetime Membership Certificate to John C. Echerd. Echerd was instrumental in helping found the Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter.
He was the chapter’s registrar for the first year, helping to build the chapter. He is a charter member of the chapter, and has provided continuous and dedicated service to the chapter over its 10-year life.
TNSSAR Vice President and chapter member Claude Hardison reported on the Tennessee Society SAR State Convention held March 15-16 at the Marriott in Chattanooga.
Hardison was running the registration at the convention, receiving assistance from several chapter members. They included Van Deacon, Phil Newman, Dave Whaley and Dave Hicks.
James Stone, who was the Tennessee Society Color Guard commander for the 2012, was retired of his duties by the incoming commander in an impressive Color Guard ceremony.
The Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter again this year received the Tennessee State Society Demere Award, as the overall chapter winner, bringing in the greatest number of new members in 2012. This is the third time in nine years the chapter has received this award. The chapter also received the Tennessee State Society Americanism Award (large chapters) for 2012.
Several chapter members received individual awards: They include past president James Stone, recipient of the Patriot Medal, which is the highest medal the State Society can give; and Stan and Maggie Evans won a joint award, the Tennessee State Society Historic Preservation Award in recognition and appreciation of their dedicated service to preserving our heritage.
The newly formed Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Tennessee which consists of mostly Tennessee Society SAR members, held its annual membership meeting on the Friday evening of the State Convention.
They now have 72 members and have chartered five chapters. There was a formal toast to each chapter honoring the chapter’s namesakes.
Member Stan Evans gave the toast for Sam Houston, for the chapter in his name seated in Knoxville.
Under Officer Reports, Treasurer Bill Hamilton stated both the general and statue accounts were in good shape. Phil Newman, chairman of the Statue Committee, gave a brief report on the history of the Statue Project, how local sculptor Josh Coleman was found, then the tedious work of trying to find out how Cleveland would have dressed in battle, and the what he looked like.
Once the fundraising started, the nation went into the worst downfall since the Great Depression, and then the tornadoes came. But the committee members persevered and the statue was built and will finally be unveiled on April 19.
Josh Coleman, speaker for the evening, was introduced by Phil Newman. Newman told how fortunate it was the chapter found a sculptor right here in Cleveland. He mentioned several of Coleman’s works around town, such as the large yellow chair and the bronze “hands” statue.
Coleman’s talk was titled “Sculptor — Col. Benjamin Cleveland.”
He started by explaining where the artist is coming from, how the artist’s feelings and perspective is greater than himself, how he sees where he can create experiences, where a person after experiencing it can walk away with something.
He said his Cleveland was full of these created experiences, and he wants to see experiences wherever he goes. He mentioned the virtues, hope, faith, trust and love, and seeing in them what is not yet visible.
He told about his teaching in the Hamilton County School system, and his looking in the eyes of some of the less-fortunate children, and saying, “Where are your fathers?”
He expounded on the importance of being a mentor, whether it’s being a friend, a father figure, or a brother. This is something that is lacking in these children’s life.
Coleman also gave a computer presentation showing the various stages the statue went through in its construction. He explained how he initially had a wire armature which the clay was attached to, and how screws and duct-tape were important during this stage.
The full-clay model weighed 550 pounds. He said models were important during this phase, like for sections of the body such as the face.
He said he spent 40 hours just on the face trying to get that special emotion or demeanor, and how he worked from top down. He also mentioned the detail shown, such as the buttons being stressed on the vest with the creases.
He mentioned his trip to Connecticut to visit with Don Troiani who he described as a painter, a historian and a craftsman. He, as well as others, posed on what was simulated as horses, for Troiani’s painting of Col. Benjamin Cleveland leaving the Battle of Kings Mountain.
He said from the clay it went through the next phase which was ceramic and wax. Once the wax melts away the features on the ceramic are transferred to the bronze; and how the bronze portion is made in pieces, and later welded together.
He explained how they heated the bronze to achieve the right patina, different textures and coloration. He said the thickness of the bronze pieces was generally one-fourth of an inch in thickness, and that the finished statue weighs 500 pounds.
Evans gave Josh Coleman a further surprise by announcing his family line is now connected to the Revolutionary War Patriot, and with some minor additional information, his application papers will be ready to mail.
On Friday, March 1, immediate chapter President James Stone participated in Revolutionary War period dress for a special Arbor Day celebration at Chattanooga National Cemetery, helping plant 10 trees. This was to honor America’s veterans who fought in this country’s wars and conflicts.
The Arbor Day plantings were the last of more than 80 trees installed to replace more than 100 trees that were lost during the storms and tornadoes of the last several years.
Deacon and committee chair for the Statue Committee, Phil Newman, were part of the 10 a.m April 6 Saturday Old Town Cleveland radio program. They primarily discussed the upcoming unveiling of the Col. Benjamin Cleveland statue in the First Street Square park on Friday, April 19, at 10 a.m. Ron and Debbie Moore have had this wonderful program for several years now.
Deacon and Newman explained how the Revolutionary War affects us today. He also talked about the life of Benjamin Cleveland, and his role as one of the colonels responsible for the victory for the patriots at the Battle of Kings Mountains, which was the turning point for the war for our freedom.
They also spoke about the short 10 year history of the Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter of the Sons of the Revolution in Cleveland, and how members of the chapter were responsible for having Patriots Day in Tennessee on April 19.
The guests introduced included Amy Fowler, daughter of charter member John Echerd; Noelle Coleman, wife of guest speaker Josh Coleman; Hassan Naiijar, new executive director of Five Points Museum Center; Ryan Harris, son of Ron Harris; Heather Carpenter, daughter of Doug Carpenter; Toby Pendergrass; and prospective member Randall Higgins.
With no further business, Deacon closed the meeting and lead the recessional. Joe Brock delivered the benediction.