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Prestigious US society to meet with Governor, Mayor

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Members of a prestigious US society are on the Island to plan their first ever meeting outside of America.

The General Society of Colonial Wars wants to hold their meeting in Bermuda in 2015, which would bring hundreds of visitors to the Island, giving the economy a major boost.

It is among the oldest hereditary societies with membership based on the military service of an ancestor.

The Bermuda delegation is being led by led by chancellor Charles A Poekel, Jr, the author of a book on Babe Ruth.

He and the delegation members will be holding meetings with Governor George Fergusson, Hamilton Mayor Graeme Outerbridge, and executive director of the Maritime Museum Ed Harris.

They will discuss preparations for the event which will bring over 300 Society members and their families to the Island, a statement from the Society said.

Mr Poekel will be joined by other members of the delegation including William B Pryor, council member from Caldwell, New Jersey, and Homer Shirley, deputy governor from Chatham, New Jersey.

“Mayor Outerbridge and the Corporation of Hamilton will be helping to arrange a number of special events some of which will celebrate Bermuda's and the City's rich historic ties with early America,” said Mr Poekel.

“This will be the first time the General Society of Colonial Wars, founded in 1893, will be meeting outside the United States.”

Mayor Outerbridge said that he and the Corporation were delighted to welcome the delegation to Bermuda and to the City of Hamilton.

“Bermuda has a long history as a maritime nation and was pleased to help early settlers in the US during the colonial period, so it is only fitting that we should extend a warm welcome to the delegation at City Hall,” the Mayor said.

“We look forward to assisting in any way that we can, to make the meeting of the General Society a huge success in 2015.”

Mr Poekel noted that Mayor Outerbridge whose family can be traced back some 14 generations in Bermuda was, in fact, well qualified to become a member of the Society. “Our genealogists have informed me that the Mayor has several direct ancestral ties to colonial America and those ancestors served in leadership and military roles during the colonial period. We shall be very pleased to have the Mayor become a member and will hopefully make application for him during our visit,” he said.

Mr Poekel said that the membership of the prestigious Society includes people from all sectors of American Society throughout the US and in overseas countries including the British Isles.

The first Society was established in 1892 and the General Society of Colonial Wars was founded in 1893.

“Despite our name, the Society's objectives are far from war like,” he said. “We celebrate the people and the events of America's Colonial history which took place beginning with the settlement of Jamestown, Virginia, on May 13, 1607, and preceding to the battle of Lexington in April 19, 1775.

“Our over 4,300 members perpetuate the memory of those events and the people who shaped America's beginning.”

Mr Poekel added: “Another important purpose for our visit to Bermuda is to oversee the establishment of a chapter society in Bermuda.”

He indicated that Peter Knowles, Governor of the Florida Society, was in charge of helping to bring a chapter about on the Island.

Said Mr Poekel: “It would be great if Mayor Outerbridge became a member of the new chapter.

Besides promoting Colonial history, the General Society awards three graduate scholarships to encourage interest and study in America's Colonial period. “We shall be happy to discuss our current scholarships while we are in Bermuda,” Mr Poekel said.

The General Society of Colonial Wars is among the oldest hereditary societies.
Looking at Bermuda: General Society of Colonial Wars chancellor Charles A. Poekel

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Published September 27, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated September 26, 2013 at 8:35 pm)

Prestigious US society to meet with Governor, Mayor

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