New Haven welcomed 57 DSDI members and guests for the fall meeting over the weekend of September 20-22. We were fortunate to have lovely weather with just a bit of rain while we were indoors.
On Friday evening we met at the historic Graduate Club just off the New Haven Green. Yale history professor Joanne Freeman delighted the group with a very lively presentation on portrait artist John Trumbull. She prepared us for the visit on Saturday to the Trumbull paintings at the Yale Art Gallery.
On Saturday morning, we boarded the bus for a short ride from the Omni Hotel to the Grove Street Cemetery where we visited the grave of Signer Roger Sherman. Sherman descendant Brad Boardman read a very moving passage from the 1941 dedication of the current monument to Sherman. This was followed by a wreath-laying ceremony with our best rendition of “God Bless America.”
From the cemetery we made our way to the New Haven museum where local historian Neil Olsen gave an interesting presentation on “Who Were the Founders” with slides to highlight his points. Museum Director Michele Cheng led us on a tour of the museum. In the museum ballroom we enjoyed a light lunch while Laurie Croft conducted the general meeting of DSDI.
The next stop was the Yale Art Gallery, where docents took the group to the American wing and the Trumbull gallery. The only complaints raised were that we did not spend enough time in the gallery!
Once again, we boarded the bus for a short ride to the Center Church on the Green where the first president of DSDI, Albert McClellan Mathewson, was a member. Carter Braxton descendants Erich and Joachim Horsley gave a lively rendition of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” the first national anthem, and had the audience join in.
After a short rest, we reconvened on the top floor of the Omni hotel to enjoy the view and dinner in the cozy Harbor Room. Through his very informative speech, historian Chris Pagliuco brought Roger Sherman to life for us.
On Sunday morning, those who were staying at the Omni lingered over a buffet breakfast at the top of the hotel where they could look out over New Haven and reflect on the weekend events. Some attended church services at Trinity Church on the Green.
As the group headed home, we had a lot to reflect on from the informative speeches we had heard, the fellowship of the group, and the memory of our ancestors who truly risked their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to form this wonderful country we call the United States of America.
Shelley Horsley Cruz