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Pack Horse Ford NSDAR holds annual picnic

By Staff | Jul 3, 2009

NSDAR members, from left, Jean Elliott, Barbara Nickell, Community Service Award winner Dorrene Hale and Cheryl Brown

Local historian Doug Perks of the Jefferson County Museum was the keynote speaker during the annual June picnic for the Pack Horse Ford Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) held at the St. James Lutheran Church Pavilion. Regent Dorrene Hale welcomed members and guests. Chaplain Joan Moler gave the blessing for the meal. The Chapter provided a bountiful meal of fried chicken and members brought delicious homemade salads, casseroles, vegetables and desserts to share.

Doug Perks spoke about a local hero, General William Darke. The family of the late Paul and Frances Miller donated a box of documents from the Briscoe family to the Jefferson County Museum in Charles Town. This box contained a wealth of history with letters pertaining to William Darke. Perks spent two years indexing, transcribing, and documenting these letters. One of the letters was written by then Lt. Col. Darke to “His Excellency the President, George Washington,” dated July 1791. Darke fought in both the French and Indian War and Revolutionary War. He was present at the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown in October 1781. He returned to Berkeley County where he farmed.

In recognition of his service to the Nation, The Virginia General Assembly appointed Darke as a general. Darke had four children and resided in the portion of Berkeley County that became Jefferson County. His only daughter, Elizabeth, married Richard Duffields for whom the community of Duffields is named. When Darke died in 1801, he had 2,800 acres of land. Alfred Duffields, General Darke’s grandson, was the first agent of the B&O Railroad Station in Duffields. Today, Duffields Depot is the second oldest surviving train station on the former Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

Near the conclusion of the picnic, Regent Dorrene Hale was presented with the NSDAR Community Service Award in recognition for her volunteer service to the Berkeley County Historical Society as secretary since 2005; co-chair to the Cemetery Committee; and spending countless hours, with her husband Donald, reading tombstones and reporting their findings.