THIS IS SURRATTS FOUNDATION E-NOTICE 2012-4 OF APRIL 1, 2012
Here are some items that might be of interest:
1. ALUMNI VOLUNTEERS SOUGHT FOR CAREER EXPO AT SCHOOL. The School is hosting a Career Expo on Friday April 13, 2012 from 8:00 a.m. to noon. Alumni in all career fields are encouraged to participate. Please contact Eddie Tyson at the School, at email@example.com or 301-599-2453 ext. 276, if you can lend your efforts to this very worthy cause. (Naturally, it would be wonderful if a significant number of alumni participated in this great event.)
2. FOUNDATION'S ALMA MATER EFFORTS BEAR IMMEDIATE MUSICAL FRUIT! Our readers may recall that last year the Foundation "re-discovered" for the School the music and lyrics to the Alma Mater and the Fight Song. We received this exciting musical report from Kirsten Simpkins at the School about the results of those efforts: "Yes, the re-discovered alma mater is now performed regularly at the School! It's been exciting! Members of the choir sing it on the morning announcements on Mondays and it has been performed at two choir concerts and the honor roll assembly. Our Choir Director has really made an effort to make sure that it is a part of every assembly we have now. Additionally, every choir student was required to learn it and the band is learning it so they can play it at every football game next school year. Thanks again for your efforts. Our Choir Director has shared that he wants to have several students record it so we can place it on the SHS website, so when he does I'll make sure you are forwarded a copy."
Thanks again to our alumni volunteers who helped re-create these two historical musical treasures!
3. SURRATTSVILLE HISTORY CONTINUES TO BE A TOPIC OF DISCUSSION. We received this interesting email from Carol Tisdale Whitsell (64): "Regarding the recent e-Notice item about the Mary Surratt question on Jeopardy, it has been my experience that those who were not born in one of the 13 original colonies seem to know little of the history of Mary Surratt. So, sadly, I’m not at all surprised by this Jeopardy news. They probably don’t know about the War of 1812 either! On that note, many events are underway to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. I’m just finishing up a three-year term as MD State President of the U.S. Daughters of 1812, and am excited that Benedict, MD (in Charles County) will finally get some well-deserved attention as that is where the British came ashore in 1814 to burn Washington, D.C., the only time the United States has been invaded on land by a foreign nation! Carol"
[Ed note: I recall form my SHS history class with Dutch Anderson that Southern MD and the Baltimore area had particular significance during the War of 1812, well beyond Francis Scott Key's penning of "The Star Spangled Banner" during the bombardment of Ft. McHenry.]
And we received this email from John Jezisek (72): "Interesting item in the last e-Notice about Mary Surratt. I am now amazed that there was not a required course to educate and bring to our attention the importance of the Surratt family, the community as it played out after the Lincoln assassination, and more than the fact that John Wilkes Booth stopped by one night. Mary Surratt: guilty or not guilty? I have read many books and one can argue both sides of the issue but one cannot dispute that her son John was involved as he knew well in advance of the plan to kill Lincoln and members of his staff and was in a position to inform authorities in an effort to stop Lincoln’s assassination. But he chose to get out of the USA and live aboard while his mother took the ultimate fall. There's a good wikipedia article on John Surratt at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Surratt, the book "Bloody Crimes" by James Swanson is a good one."
And, as noted in January, we have been provided with some additional historical information about Surrattsville and Clinton, and we'll feature it from time-to-time in this year's e-Alerts. This month's item is the following undated article from the Star News, from the 1975-6 era, by Lorrenzo Middleton:
"The Name of Surratt Still Held in Esteem: The local people in the Clinton area of southern Prince George's County have been standing behind the good name of Mary E. Surratt for a hundred years. The widow of a prominent land owner, Mrs. Surratt was hanged on July 7, 1865, for conspiring to shoot President Abraham Lincoln. Three weeks after her execution, the federal government added insult to the protesting residents of their little community – then called Surrattsville – by changing the name of the town.
But the people of the area have maintained her innocence throughout the years and continue to hold the Surratt name in high esteem. In defiance of the federal government, they refused to remove the Surrattsville name from the local election district and have added the title to roads, schools, housing developments and businesses in the region. The latest effort to bring attention to the plight of what one resident calls 'the most maligned woman in American history' has been a long struggle for the restoration of her house as a historic landmark.
After more than six years of research, planning and delays, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission announced this week that construction finally is about to begin and that restoration of the house should be completed by next summer. The county and state governments have appropriated about $140,000 to buy land around the house and to return it to its 19th century appearance. Now boarded-up and unoccupied, the crumbling two-story frame house stands just off a busy Clinton intersection on Brandywine Road.
Thomas S. Gwynn, Jr., chairman of the Committee for the Restoration of the Surratt House, says the restored house will serve as an historical attraction for the area and will 'help correct the bad name that has been given to Mary Surratt.' Gwynn said the house was built in 1840, overlooking a 1200 acre corn and tobacco farm. The house later was converted into a country store and tavern which became the center of community activity.
When John Surratt died in 1862, his widow leased the tavern and moved with two children to the District, where she operated a boarding house near Ford's Theater. John Wilkes Booth, one of her roomers, was said to have conspired with others in the rooming house to assassinate Lincoln. On April 14, 1865, the night of the shooting, Mrs. Surratt was roused from her bed by federal troops at 11:30 p.m. and charged in the conspiracy. She maintained her innocence until she was hanged three months later. She had been further linked to the assassination, however, by the tavern operator who claimed she had left guns, ammunition and supplies for Booth, who stopped at the tavern on his escape route.
Mrs. Surratt admitted being at the tavern on the afternoon of the shooting, but she said it was only to collect rent. She was convicted and sentenced to death by a military tribunal. Partly because of the public outcry over the case, the government later halted military trials of civilians."
[Ed. note: The continuing scholarship on this matter certainly has gotten more "nuanced" since 1975!]
4. ACHIEVEMENT AWARD RECIPIENT PLAYS PRINCIPAL. A new movie just opening, "Detachment," stars Achievement Award recipient and Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden (76) as a high school principal. Marcia's performance has been hailed by critics (as have been all of her performances!), and the film has been described as an unflinching, hard-hitting and effective tale about a failing school. Of course, that bears no similarity to her experiences while at Surrattsville, so Marcia had to draw on her extraordinary dramatic talents!
5. SEEKING 49-50 CLASS PHOTOS. Tom Satterfield (52) is seeking Boomerang photos of the sophomore class from September 1949 to June 1950. Please email Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org if you might be able to help.
6. CLASS OF 82 PLANS REUNION. The Class of 82 is beginning work on its 30 Year Reunion. Please contact Scott Gavel at email@example.com if you have any contact information on members of the Class of 82 or on members of their families.
7. CLASS OF 76 TAKES LEAD AGAIN ON "SURRATTSVILLE BLUE CRABS NIGHT." We received the following from Class of 76 ORC Evan Vutsinas: "Happy March Hornets! Here are details for this years' 3rd Annual Surrattsville Night at Blue Crabs Stadium. For the amazing price of $20.00 per person, attendees will receive parking, game admission into the left field party pavilion, and a two hour Texas Roadhouse all-you-care-to-eat buffet dinner including dessert and soft drinks. Besides some pretty good baseball, don't miss the awesome fireworks display after the game as well! This invitation is for Hornets from every era. Last year the 50s through the 2010s were represented.
Here's the link to sign-up: http://mb1.glitnirticketing.com/mbticket/web/gp_list.php?refresh=1330538310. First, click on the link. This will take you to a security page where you will be asked to type the letters that you see - this is case sensitive. Once you pass that test, you'll be sent to the page where you will enter our secret code, which is SHS. Again, this is case sensitive. Finally you will be asked to enter the number of tickets you are purchasing and you'll be led through the traditional payment process. We hope to see many of you at Regency Furniture Field in Waldorf on Saturday, June 23rd! Evan, EVTiger@comcast.net"
8. REQUEST FOR FOUNDATION BOARD MEMBERS. The Foundation is seeking individuals willing to serve on the Foundation's Board. If you might be willing to lend your talents to this very worthy cause, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
9. CLASS OF 97 PLANS REUNION. The Class of 97 is busy planning its 15 year reunion for mid-summer 2012. The Class has a web page at http://shs1997reunion.blogspot.com/2011/05/shs-class-of-1997-2012-15yr-reunion.html. Please contact Monica Crown at email@example.com if you would like information on the event or if you have any contact info for members of the Class of 97 or their families.
10. CLASS OF 71 PLANS REUNION. The Class of 71 is holding a reunion event near Annapolis on Saturday June 23, 2012. For information, please join the "Surrattsville 1971" Group on Facebook (which is about to be one of the first Surrattsville Class Groups on Facebook to crest 100 members!), or contact Darlene Monaco (71) at firstname.lastname@example.org, cell: 443-831-1643 or home: 410-544-1471.
11. CLASS OF 62 PLANS 50 YEAR REUNION. The Class of 62 is planning its 50 Year Reunion. Here are the details from the Reunion Committee: "Crystal City Marriott, Crystal City, VA, June 22, 23 and 24, 2012, Dinner on Saturday Night June 23. Party like you're 18 again! Party like it's 1962! Reunion Committee: Terry Buckley Osman (email@example.com) 410-320-2668 or 410-586-3911, Kathy Dorsey Larrabee (firstname.lastname@example.org) 410-353-3432 or 410-897-0332, Jerry Spence (email@example.com) 240-216-0189 or 240-419-2661, Len Owens (firstname.lastname@example.org) 443-206-2567. Please join us on Facebook if you are a member.
12. REQUEST FOR HISTORICAL PHOTOS AND ARTIFACTS. Thanks to our readers, there are a number of new historical, and recent, photos on the "Photos" page on the web site at www.surrattsville.org that might be of interest to many of our readers. If you have any photos that you think might be of interest to our readers and web site visitors please send them to me at email@example.com.
13. SEARCH THE WEB AND SUPPORT THE FOUNDATION. Some of our readers use the goodsearch.com web search function to do their web searching, and by doing so generate automatic contributions by goodsearch.com to the Foundation. To use goodsearch.com as your search engine and to designate the Foundation as the beneficiary of donations by goodsearch.com, simply by going to goodsearch.com and, at the "Choose Your Cause" button enter "Surrattsville Foundation" (and that will take you to a page that says "Surrattsville High School Foundation (Baltimore – MD)" (the mailing address for the Foundation).
Thanks for considering this painless, and free, way to support the Foundation every time you search the web!
14. REQUEST FOR PRINCIPALS' PHOTOS FOR LEGACY WALL. As noted in the last e-Notice, the Foundation is seeking photos of all of Surrattsville's Principals (since 1907!) to include on the new, Foundation-sponsored "Legacy Hall" at the School. If you have any paper copies of photos of Principals that you would be willing to snail mail to us for scanning and a prompt return to you, please mail them to Henry Smith, 1 W. Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 950, Towson, MD 21204. If you have the ability to scan a digital copy of a Principal's photo – perhaps from your yearbook – please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can tell you if we already have that particular photo. If we don't, and you could kindly scan the photo and email it to us that would be great. (Especially if the scan is "high resolution," which is better for enlarging to 8 x 10 size for framing.)
Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide with this latest Foundation project.
15. COLLECTED SCHOLARSHIP AND ACHIEVEMENT AWARD PHOTOS NOW ON WEB SITE. As previously reported, we're delighted to note that the collected photos of all of the Foundation's Scholarship recipients and Achievement Award recipients (since 2000) are now accessible on one page on the web site by clicking the "Photos" button on the home page (at www.surrattsville.org). Larger photos, and full bios, of those outstanding members of the Surrattsville community may be found by clicking the Scholarship and Achievement Award buttons on the web site. And those great photos can be seen "live" in the great new, Foundation-sponsored "Legacy Hall" in the main hallway at the School.
16. FOUNDATION FACEBOOK PRESENCE CONTINUES TO GROW. The Foundation's Facebook Group – called "Surrattsville Alumni" – continues to grow, and is now approaching 1300 members. This is a great, and free, way for folks to stay in touch. Similarly, the Class-specific Facebook Groups – that have names like "Surrattsville 1973" and the like -- continue to grow. Please consider joining the Surrattsville Alumni Group, and your own Class-specific Group, to get the latest news on alumni events.
17. BOOMERANGS/ALUMNI-FACULTY-STAFF DIRECTORIES/AND WINDOW STICKERS AVAILABLE. The Foundation has a limited supply of yearbooks from 1991, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006. If you'd like one of these yearbooks (which are available for $15 including shipping and handling), please send an email to email@example.com.
Thanks to the herculean work of Pat Becker Oles (71), the Foundation's 2000 Alumni/Faculty/Staff Directory has been updated for 2010, and now includes fascinating "what I'm up to" paragraphs from those who submitted directory information. If you would like a copy of the Directory, send a $20 check payable to the Foundation to: Henry Smith, One W. Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 950, Towson, MD 21204.
Pat Becker Oles (71) also kindly handles the Foundation's "Surrattsville Alumni" window stickers project. Pat notes that the stickers are not the "static cling type," that stick to the inside of a window. Instead, they are the "stick to the outside type," that can stick on a window or bumper, and use "repositional adhesive" (meaning no sticky residue). Information about purchasing the stickers can be found on the web site at surrattsville.org.
Here's hoping many of you are experiencing a gorgeous Spring! Henry Smith (71)
PAUL ANDREW GWYNN (49) died on February 10 after a long, tough battle with cancer. Born January 3, 1931, he was the son of the late Thomas S. Gwynn Sr. and the late Avis Mary Middleton Gwynn. Paul was the single graduate of Surrattsville High School in 1949 and attended Duke University. He was a school bus driver while working at the family business, and then became manager and eventual owner of Clinton Motor Company, a Ford dealership established by his father. He enjoyed his family, friends, farming, hunting, fishing, crabbing and spending countless days at the beach house at Broome Island. He was a member of the Aylor Hunt Club in Madison County. He was never one to shy away from a good days work and passed that trait onto his children. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Bertha Mary in 2001 and a son, Thomas Mark in 1972. He is survived by his brother, David Gwynn, a sister, Christina Evald and his children : Paula Boundy (69), Sandra Martin (72), Russell (73), James (78), Bernard (79), Mary Charlotte (79), Alan (81), Wayne (82) and Jeffrey (88), many grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
Patricia Becker Oles (71)