Potomac Branch Event

After a long absence, the Potomac Branch met in Washington, D.C. to hold a meeting whose repartee and colonial history discussion surpassed what it lacked in numbers.  Of late, meetings and events have taken place in Baltimore, Maryland (on the Patapsco River) where the current Branch President Christopher (Chris) Cortright resides.  This latest meeting, at the storied and beautiful Beaux Arts Metropolitan Club in the City of Washington, D.C., one block from the White House, saw members gathered in the Diplomat Room and the bar on the fourth floor catching up the latest before sitting down to a classic Metropolitan Club dining experience of myriad local dishes including Maryland Crab.   Chris provided updates on the Society that included the latest news from President Andrew Terhune as well as toasts; members shared their views on latest membership changes and other news.  As a member of the Metropolitan Club, and longtime Holland Society member, advocate, and past branch president John Van Wagoner was the gracious host of the event; his lifetime success as engineer and businessman allowed the event to take place in such a magnificent and impressive setting. Attendees included (current Chairman of the DC Public Service Commision and past City Councilmember) Betty Ann Kane who is happily finalizing her membership as a full member now that daughters of direct male descendants can be full members.  She is in the direct male Cooper/Kuyper line through her father directly back to the original immigrant Claes Jansen van Purmerend, first mentioned in New Amsterdam in 1632/33.   Also present was Phillip Zabriskie, local resident and soon-to-be law student and son of past Holland Society President Charles Zabriskie.  John Van Wagoner and his longtime friend Mary Gardner joined John’s brother Richard and his wife Caroline, as did new member Sarah Lefferts, who now carries on the tradition of her father, Roger DuBois Lefferts, as full member.   As dinner wrapped up, speaker Professor Dennis Pogue from the University of Maryland Architecture and Preservation Department spoke up, taking to his laptop to present a fascinating talk on the history of colonial whiskey and George Washington’s distillery at Mt. Vernon.  Pogue noted that the Dutch saw rum production as a commercial opportunity to supply spirits to the British soldiers who came to America during the French and Indian War.   This is a hard act to follow, but the Branch looks forward to its next meeting and event. Ideas are welcome! Chris Cortwright

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