CLEARWATER - The Berkeley Plantation Chapter of Colonial Dames XVII Century in Clearwater meets four times a year--in November, January, March and May. Members recently gathered at Stacey's Buffet in Largo for their latest luncheon meeting and program. Guest speaker was Barry Bohnet of the National Armed Services & Law Enforcement Memorial Museum in Dunedin. Topic of Bohnet's presentation was "The Deer Hide Trade".
The Clearwater chapter is one of 22 chapters of The National Society Colonial Dames XVII Century throughout the state of Florida. There is also a chapter in St. Petersburg. Members of the various groups have the opportunity to meet at the Florida Society Colonial Dames XVII Century annual conference. This year's conference, which is coming up in February, will be held in Clearwater. The 83rd conference of the national society is scheduled in Washington, D.C. in April.
Julia Noah, chapter president, welcomes new members who meet the criteria set by the national organization. Any woman of good moral character, 18 years of age or older, is eligible for membership, providing she is the lineal descendant of an ancestor who lived and served prior to 1701 in one of the original colonies in the geographical area of the present United States of America. Documentation as to an ancestor's service prior to 1701 is required. The 18 categories of eligible service are: historic founder of Jamestown or historic founder of any of the original colonies; member of the London, Plymouth or Virginia Companies who came to the colonies to live; Colonial Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Deputy Governor or Colonial Officer; member of the House of Burgesses; member or delegate to the Council of the Assembly; Deputy or Representative to the General Court; all civil and church officials and services; founder or trustee of any college or school; minister of the gospel or Commissary of the Bishops of London; member of the Council of Safety of 1689; signer of the Mayflower Compact; member of the House of Delegates; all professions, trades and crafts; all military and naval services of the colonies; any who furnished funds or supplies; member of Provincial Congress; landowner, freeman or planter; and headright, transportee.
The National Society Colonial Dames XVII Century was founded in 1915. There are now over 12,000 members of chapters in 46 states and Canada. Its objectives are: to aid in the preservation of the records and of the historic sites of our country; to foster interest in historical colonial research; to aid in the education of the youth of our country; to commemorate the noble and heroic deeds of our ancestors; and to zealously maintain those high principles of virtue, courage and patriotism which led to the independence of the colonies and the foundation and establishment of the United States of America.
Noah and other members of The Berkeley Plantation chapter promote interest in historical colonial and genealogical research by donating books on the subject to local libraries. They also take "comfort items" to the veterans at the VA Bay Pines Medical Center on a regular basis. Another project the group has undertaken is the shipment of care boxes to military personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Women interested in joining the group may call (727) 531-2100 for more information.
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