Report on Our May 30 Annual Meeting

Governor Donna Chilton Derrick

Governor Donna Chilton Derrick

A Message from Governor Donna Derrick:

Thirty-Three members, prospective members, and guests gathered on May 30, 2015 for First California Company’s Annual Meeting at the La Gran Terraza Dining Room in Hahn University Center at the University of San Diego. Friends greeted each other, and the extraordinary luncheon was enjoyed by the group in the dining room with its arched windows and views of Mission Bay. If you missed this meeting, you missed a wonderful meal!

We welcomed two new members, Leon L. Smith, Jr. and Ward C. White, and were pleased to host a visit from Richard Burke, Governor of the First Arizona Company, Jamestowne Society.

The program was presented by Iris Engstrand, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of the USD History Department, and we completed plans for the Company’s participation in the Southern California Genealogical Jamboree to be held in Burbank, CA June 5-7.

We received an update on the status of Dominion Power’s proposal to build a series of 300’ towers for electric power lines across the James River, which would obstruct the view shed from Jamestowne Island, the Colonial Parkway and Carter’s Grove. First California Company has joined with Preservation Virginia and the National Trust for Historic Preservation in opposing this proposal. We also serve as one of 17 Consulting Parties advising the US Army Corps of Engineers in its consideration of Dominion’s application for a vital permit for this project. Please join with us in opposing this proposed power line and (if you have not done so already) sign the online petition being presented to Dominion Power. These petitions are also being used to present the Corps of Engineers with evidence of the national public interest in opposing this project.

Please join us at our next meeting on November 21st, which will find us in Laguna Beach enjoying our meeting at Las Brisas Restaurant. We welcome you to join with us in learning about the maritime context for Jamestowne, latest discoveries at Jamestown Rediscovery and promotion of the first English speaking settlement in North America. Even if you do not have an ancestor who was resident or associated with Jamestowne, you are welcome to join with us and learn about this important time in the development of our nation.

Meeting Summary

Governor Derrick reported the following from her attendance at the Society’s May 14-16 meetings in Williamsburg:

  1. In membership numbers, we are right in the middle, with 43 members today [Ed. note: 44 at 6/4/15]. Of the companies reporting less than 100 members, the average membership number was 40. There are 5 companies with membership over 100 with the largest being Washington DC/Northern VA Company with 200 members.
  2. The Society is not accepting further contributions to the restoration of the Church Tower on Jamestowne Island until the final plans are resolved by Preservation Virginia, which administers the restoration on the Island. A meeting is scheduled for June. Companies are now requested to contribute to the Wingo Fund to restore records of early counties and documents in the Virginia Colonial Period.
  3. The Society is developing a new flag. It will be maroon on both sides with the logo on each and no dates. Each Company will be provided with one.
  4. The Society now offers a boxed set of 4 brandy sniffers with its logo. They will be available through Headquarters or the website at a cost of $80.00, plus tax and shipping.
  5. The Society’s Fellowship Fund, which provides an award to graduate students, has been given this year in the amount of $5,000. The award of $5,000 per year can be given each year if warranted. If we have candidates, we can contact the Committee Chairman. The field of research must be colonial history.
  6. Four new companies have been chartered:
  • First Landing Company- Virginia Beach, VA
  • Lady Rebecca Staunton Company- Staunton, VA
  • Lewis & Clark Company- St. Louis, MO
  • Susan Constant Company- Tupelo, MS
  1. Ancestor profiles may soon be available on the Society website, which would be helpful to prospective members. It is still being decided who will prepare these, and who will edit them.
  2. If you have family members you would like to join, it is not necessary to fill out a complete form. Fill in the generations that lead down to the connecting generation of the current member. More information can be found on the website, or from Headquarters.

James McCall reported on the efforts to stop Dominion Power’s proposed power line tower project across the James River – and the National Trust’s online Down to the petition to “Save the James.” Over 27,000 have signed this petition to Dominion protesting the project.

Consulting Parties List

  1. Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
  2. BASF Corporation
  3. Chesapeake Conservancy
  4. Chickahominy Tribe
  5. City of Williamsburg
  6. Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
  7. Council of Virginia Archeologists
  8. Delaware Tribe
  9. First California Company, Jamestowne Society
  10. James City County
  11. James River Association
  12. National Park Service
  13. National Parks Conservation Association
  14. National Trust for Historic Preservation
  15. Preservation Virginia
  16. Save the James Alliance
  17. Scenic Virginia
  18. VA Dept. of Historic Resources

Here is a message from the National Trust: 

Over the past two months, the #DownToTheWire team has been hard at work spreading the word about Dominion Virginia Power’s plan to forever alter the historic James River with a new high-voltage transmission line. 
And though we met thousands of people along the way, the sentiment always seemed to stay the same: “Don’t ruin our river with your ugly power lines!” Please check out the final clips in our You Tube video series to see how we made sure that Dominion got the message loud and clear.

Hearing hundreds of personal stories about this beautiful place was truly inspirational, and our campaign is far from over. If you have not already, you can still tell Dominion to do the right thing by signing our petition. And if you have, please consider forwarding it along to your friends and family. 

Every signature counts, no matter where you live.







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