More than 60 DSDI members and guests attended the Spring Meeting in Wilmington, Del., April 22-24. Delaware was the first state to approve the Constitution and proudly proclaims that fact on its license plates. Delaware also annually celebrates its separation from the Pennsylvania colony. Host L.D. Shank III provided a wonderful experience for the Society, added by planner Gigi Windley.
On Friday afternoon, President-General Hope Middleton Wood convened the Board of Directors for a business meeting. Past President-General Laurie Croft gave the Board details of the meeting planned for March 31-April 2 in Charlottesville, Va., and the Board approved planning for meetings in Stratford Hall, Va., in Spring 2018 and Newport, R.I. in Fall 2018. Croft also announced that a DSDI signet ring and brooch would be available for purchase by members. Registrar-General Jim Alexander reported the Society has 1,126 Senior Members and 214 Junior Members. Treasurer-General Johnny Alexander reported that the Society is in sound financial shape despite a first-quarter decline in the stock market. Scholarship Chair Jill Haimes reported that her committee was reviewing applicants for 56 scholarships. The Board paid tribute to the Rev. Frederick Wallace Pyne, Chaplain-General and past President-General of DSDI.
Participants enjoyed dinner Friday night at the beautiful Hotel DuPont, where Ethan McKinley, superintendent of First State National Park, discussed Delaware history and historical sites. On Saturday we journeyed to historic New Castle, settled in 1651 by the Dutch. We toured several historic houses and were invited to the homes of DSDI members Gene and Carol Mayhew and Judge Richard and Barbara Cooch. In the afternoon, the Society held its General Meeting in New Castle Presbyterian Church, which dates from 1707. Pastor Nancy Rowland discussed New Castle history and the early church in the colony.
In the evening, the Society held a cocktail reception and dinner at the Wilmington Club in the historic Merrick House. Jen Moses of the National Constitution Center, spoke of the ideals expressed in the Declaration and their impact on governments and societies around the world. In addition to the official events, many members participated in a tour of Dover, Del, on Thursday and a tour of sites in the Brandywine Valley, including Winterthur and Longwood Gardens, on Sunday.