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Historic Preservation prevalent with DAR

By Staff | Sep 22, 2014

Historic preservation was the theme of the Pack Horse Ford Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) for its first meeting of the new fiscal year on Sept. 2.

To commemorate the upcoming 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, the Chapter began its meeting with a tour of Ferry Hill mansion, which sits majestically on a bluff in Sharpsburg, Maryland, looking across the Potomac River and into Shepherdstown. National Park Service Intern Beth Campbell conducted a tour of the mansion that highlighted historical significance and stunning architectural details.

Ferry Hill Plantation is part of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park. Members and guests learned that John Blackford built Ferry Hill circa 1812. In 1861, attention was drawn to Ferry Hill at the beginning of the Civil War. At that time, Rev. Robert Douglas, his wife Helena, daughter Nancy, and son Henry Kyd Douglas lived in the mansion. When war broke out, Henry enlisted in the Army of the Confederacy and became the youngest staff officer of Stonewall Jackson.

Because of its commanding view, the Federal Army made Ferry Hill one of its headquarters. The family was held under house arrest for most of the war. They were instructed to keep the shutters closed. One stormy evening a shutter was blown open. The Union Officers saw this as an act of treason, implying the Reverend was signaling to the Confederates across the river.

Rev. Douglas was arrested as a spy. Although he was never formally charged, he was held at Fort McHenry for several months before being allowed to go home.

Architectural features of the home include much of the original design of the L-shaped brick home. The house has examples of 19th-century faux marbling on its moldings and the doors are painted to simulate expensive wood. Most of the woodwork in the house is original, including the long, sweeping curved staircase and banister, which ends in a scroll. Tall windows let in plenty of daylight. The Federal-style entrance has a beautiful fan-style window across the top. On both sides of the front door are elegant etched glass windows.

Following the tour, members traveled to the home of Regent Cheryl Brown in Shepherdstown for the Chapters meeting. Regent Cheryl Brown and Historic Preservation Award Committee members Barbara Nickell, Betty Ann Lowe and Dorrene Hale presented the DAR Historic Preservation Recognition Award to Richard H. ‘Dickie’ Brown, who has worked tirelessly restoring Elmwood Cemetery. He has overseen the survey and mapping of the grounds of the cemetery, obtained grants, begun a database, and restored over 500 falling stones. He also provided technical guidance for the moving of the Bee Line March Monument to Elmwood Cemetery in 2012.

Chairman Jane Snyder reminded the Chapter that Constitution Week is Sept. 17 to 23, with Constitution Day as Sept. 17. This year the Pack Horse Ford Chapter will recognize Viet Nam War Veterans through a window display at the Dickinson and Wait Craft Gallery in Shepherdstown.

Discussion occurred on the new society of the Children of the American Revolution being sponsored by Pack Horse Ford Chapter. Chapter member Tara Fritz is serving as Senior Organizing President. She is accepting applications for children ages 1 month to 21 years.

Vice Regent Patricia Toffling announced that the Chapter is planning a yard sale of used items on Saturday, Oct. 25 at 8 a.m. in the parking lot of Dominos Pizza, 8309 Martinsburg Pike, in Shepherdstown. She asked that everyone mark calendars now for this event, which helps support the Chapters charitable donations to veterans and youth projects.

Following the meeting, refreshments were served by hostesses Patty Stealey, Katherine Genung, Cheryl Losh, Mary Davis, Janet Younkin and Mary Ann Strider.

For those who would like to attend a Pack Horse Ford Chapter meeting and help ‘Celebrate America!’ contact Regent Cheryl Brown at 304-876-3817 or Registrar Dorrene Hale at 304-725-6140. To learn more about the work of today’s DAR, visit www.DAR.org.