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  • Writer's pictureDean Henry

Sons Who Succeeded

I am honored to be asked to sit on a panel with three other Black Compatriots (members of the National Society Sons of the American Revolution) (SAR): Ric Murphy, Calvin Ramsey, and Bill Ritchie The panel is scheduled to air on Facebook via StreamYard and YouTube on Thursday, June 16, 2022 at 7:00 pm ET. It was Ric Murphy who asked me if I'd be interested in participating, and I agreed readily. I later learned the bios of the the other 2 panelists, equally stellar to Ric's.

My journey to SAR membership wasn't planned. Although I've been a family historian since the late 80s, joining a heritage society, let along the Sons of the American Revolution, was not on my radar. However, my collaboration with second cousin Gerald Scott, now also a member of SAR, along with another cousin (Stephani Downes Miller) we met in person for the first time just 8 years ago, might be identified as the beginning of our journey. Stephani, Gerald and I knew that we all descended from ancestor Medford Pritchett, but little of his ancestors. Stephani had researched an found a death certificate for Medford, but it only listed his father's name as Samuel Pritchett. We had all concluded that his wife's name my be Serenna, Surrena, or something like that, but the evidence was spotty. At the 2014 Downes Family picnic at Tuckahoe State Park in Maryland, Stephani suggested that we divide and conquer our research to go back further, and assigned Gerald and me the task to try to find out more about Samuel, a seemingly almost impossible assignment to me at the time. Let's just say that Gerald and I didn't get far in our research.

Then, in 2019, Stephanie reached out to Gerald and me with a stunning announcement, She'd discovered that Samuel's wife's name was indeed Serena, but that also her father's name was James Due, a black man who fought in the Revolutionary War. Wait, what? Black men fought in the Revolutionary War for Independence? Yes, at least 5,000 of them. She also announced that based on this research, she had applied, and was approved, for membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution. It didn't take me long to apply to the Sons of the American Revolution, and in 2020, I was admitted as a member, using her application file copy to shorten my required documentation.

I am looking forward to sharing some information about my 4th great grandfather, Maryland Continental Army Soldier James Due, during Thursday's panel discussion. I hope you can join us, Links for the panel discussion: YouTube - Facebook -

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