Former IASSAR President, Bill Lees, celebrates 75th anniversary

In most fraternal organizations there are members, men, brothers and Compatriots. If an organization is fortunate there are those who epitomize the very meaning of each of those labels. They are the special individuals that make and keep the organization alive by their actions and contributions of ideas and time.  They are the people that give each organization not only a sense of pride but also a sense of meaning to their mission and to the history of the group itself. For not only the Iowa Society but also the National organization Bill Lees is that type.  Bill last served as the Iowa Society President from 1981-1985.  He has held nearly every state or chapter office as well as serving as a Trustee. Compatriot Lees is one of only 2 Iowa members to have ever been awarded (Class of 1992) the National SAR Minuteman Award. Bill is a veteran of WWII and at age 96 years of age continues to inspire those of us who try to follow in his footsteps. On March 12, 2017  “A celebration of Life and Love” was held in honor of Bill and Inez Lees who were in their 75th year of marriage.  On this day [...]

Washington’s Army Celebrated St. Patrick’s Day to Cure Winter Blues

Washington declared the day a holiday in an attempt to raise morale and acknowledge the army’s many soldiers of Irish descent These reproduction huts in Jockey Hollow are similar to what Washington’s army would have used during the brutal winter of 1779-1780. (Rob Shenk/Flickr CC) By Kat Eschner SMITHSONIAN.COM MARCH 17, 2017 9:00AM The winter of 1779-1780 was a lousy one for the Continental Army, led by General George Washington. It was extremely cold, according to the Mount Vernon estate, while provisions were scarce and the colonial economy was a mess. Two years after wintering at Valley Forge, at the beginning of December 1779 the army found itself encamped in an area known as Jockey Hollow. “Here, they would winter as conditions continued to deteriorate,” the estate writes. Twenty-eight separate snowstorms struck the encampment, writes History.com, burying it in snow and making it difficult to get food and firewood. By March, the men must have been exhausted and worn out. So on March 16, 1780, Washington declared a holiday for the next day, St. Patrick’s Day.  “The General directs that all fatigue and working parties cease for tomorrow,” the orders read, noting that March 17 was “a day held in particular regard” by the people of Ireland. [...]

The Iowa Compatriot Newsletter

April 2017 Newsletter   It is with great pleasure that I announce that Iowa SAR Historian Doug Frazer has volunteered to take on the role of The Iowa Compatriot newsletter editor. Let’s all assist Dr. Frazer in this venture by supplying him feedback, many stories, photos and ideas.    Thanks,   Mike [...]

Veteran Transitional Shelter

Veteran Transitional Shelter help by making a donation and spreading the word. As a Veteran Service Officer in Bremer County, Iowa, we often come into contact with homeless veterans. In August of 2010, we came in contact with a unique veteran named George and his dog Pluto. He had spent his last few dollars on a hotel room in Waverly, Iowa and had made contact with our local United Way who then made contact with us. We found the veteran and discovered that he had walked over 300 miles with his dog and intended to walk to Alaska to “work the oil fields.” After some discussion, we also discovered that George had attempted suicide the very morning we came into contact with him. We immediately brought him to the hospital where he was admitted for suicidal ideations and dehydration. After his discharge, we worked with this veteran, everyday, until he was permanently housed, nearly four months after arriving in Waverly. George and the many George’s that followed planted a seed. What we discovered over the next few years was that when we referred our veterans to permanent housing organizations, 63% of them would return to us within a year and [...]

The National Guard celebrates its 380th birthday

–Born from humble beginnings, the National Guard celebrates its 380th birthday. The military organization we know today as the National Guard came into existence with a direct declaration on December 13, 1636 The Iowa Military Heritage Society was represented December 13, 2016 at the dedication of National Guard memorial bench in Chariton, Iowa with WWII veteran Ernest Faber of Minburn, Iowa. Also Attended the Wreaths Across America in the uniform of the Civil War era at the event in December at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery in Van Meter, Iowa with several members of the DAR. Over 2000 wreaths were laid on veteran’s [...]

Remembering Ronald Sharp

Compatriots of Iowa SAR and General Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Iowa,   It is with great sadness that I must inform you of the death of fellow member Ron Sharp.  I got to know Ron a bit through our organizations.  His application and the documentation of his line was complicated and took over 3 years from start to finish.  It was helped by several people throughout the entire country.   About 9 months after we hit what appeared to be a final end, a document appeared in the mail and made final approval possible.  Ron had a colorful life and shared a bit of it with me be for he sought membership. Ron also jumped in and became the Chaplain for the GSW 1812 in Iowa. He will be missed. His obituary from the Des Moines Register is here.   Respectfully, Mike Rowley President GSW 1812 Iowa & Central Iowa Chapter SAR [...]

Patriot Bios

Some of the many Patriot ancestors of the members of the IASSAR include: Asa Adams Ebenezer Avery Richard Churchill Cpt Ezekiel Colby Ezekiel Colby Jr Jonathan Curtiss Andrew Demoss John Demoss Peter Demoss Christian Dettera Matrom Elmore Richard Harris Huntley Francis Lang John McCain Jarrett Menefee Joseph Morse Daniel Mowen John Owsley Robert Parker William Pennock Edmund Pettingil Daniel Robertson George Robinson Sr David Rowley Valentine Rummel Capt Job Shattuck Benjamin Smith Philip Stech Thomas Stephenson Nicholas Stuff 1LT John Townsend Joshua Townsend Peter Trough [...]

SAR members volunteer for Lauren Hill project

The city of Des Moines requested volunteers to participate in stone raising in the veterans’ section of Laurel Hill Cemetery November 5, 2016. This was the initial work session of a project that will resume next spring. Laurel Hill cemetery borders the Iowa State fairgrounds on the southeast corner. The weather was good and about thirty of us got the project started. Those SAR members that have volunteered for other Des Moines cemetery projects will probably get an invite by email to help next spring. An announcement will be in the Register also. Submitted by George [...]

Veterans Day 2016

Compatriots of the Iowa Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, I would like to thank all of our members who are veterans. A few I know for sure include John Butler, Don Corrigan, Harold Goodrich, Danny Krock, David Lamb, Bill Lees, Jim Trask, Ron Rittel, Dave Shannon, Paul Stout, Daniel Thorsen, Richard Webb, Volney Smith, Scott Rowley, John Scarpino. I am sure there are many others whose names I don’t have. Attached are several photos from ceremonies held today at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month at Woodland Cemetery in Des Moines, Iowa.  Stops were made and 2 minutes of silence was observed at the grave of the one known War of 1812 veteran buried in this cemetery as well as the G.A.R. section of Civil War veterans and the Gold Star section of WWI veterans. The ceremonies were lead by members of the GSW 1812 in the State of Iowa Color Guard. Happy Veterans Day to all veterans and their families! Mike [...]
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