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DAR, Historical Society To Sponsor Dedications Sunday

Two dedications have been planned for Sunday afternoon in South Boston.

Berryman Green Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, will officially announce the Retreat to the Dan Wayside, located on the corner of Broad Street and Seymour Drive in South Boston, has been nationally recognized by the Office of the Historian General as an official DAR site.

On Sunday at 1:30 p.m., Berryman Green Chapter will rededicate the Retreat to the Dan Wayside and present to the Town of South Boston the NSDAR Commemorative Marker officially recognizing the memorial as an official historic site of the DAR.

Then at 2 p.m. the Halifax County Historical Society will dedicate its Crossing of the Dan outdoors exhibit that tells the story of the crossing with five panels, an obelisk honoring those who fought for freedom, and a small scale ferry boat.

Charles Cranfield, superintendent of Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, will be the guest speaker for the dedication service.

He grew up in Montgomery, Ala. and served in the Navy for four years from 1975-79.

Cranfield received a Bachelor of Arts in Geography from Humboldt State University in northern California and worked as a cartographic researcher for National Geographic Society.

He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica for two years and has held National Park Service positions at Acadia National Park, Maine Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico Office of International Affairs, Washington D.C., Niobrara/Missouri National Scenic Riverways, Nebraska National Park of American Samoa and Guilford Courthouse National Military Park.

The public is invited to attend both events, and transportation will be provided between sites for those who do not wish to walk. 

Historian General Margaret Drummond McKenzie recently granted Berryman Green Chapter permission to place a commemorative marker at the site overlooking the Dan River.

According to DAR Regent Anne Raab, this project is the culmination of a work begun by the chapter 10 years ago.

In 1998, Berryman Green chapter regent, Frances Paige Loftis, and members Betty Willis and Barbara Johnston, implemented a fundraising campaign to construct a memorial commemorating the historic events that occurred in February 1781 at Boyd’s Ferry.

The original idea of recognizing the site came from local historians Douglas Powell and Carroll Headspeath, according to Betty Willis, who chaired the committee.

With the support of South Boston Town Council, many local businesses, DAR members, and the citizens of South Boston and Halifax County, the committee raised the funds and erected the Retreat to the Dan Wayside, which was dedicated on Feb. 13, 1999 on the corner of Broad Street and Seymour Drive.

On Sunday, Berryman Green Chapter will rededicate the Retreat to the Dan Wayside and present to the Town of South Boston the NSDAR Commemorative Marker officially recognizing the memorial as an official historic site of the DAR.

The public is invited to attend the 1:30 p.m. ceremony that will take place at the wayside located on the corner of Seymour Drive and Broad Street. 

Dedication of the Crossing of the Dan River outside exhibit will follow at 2 p.m. at the Boyd’s Ferry site on the Dan River.

Those instrumental in the completion of the outside exhibit located on the banks of the Dan River are Joseph Hines, designer of Project Arts & Designs; B & B Consultants; South Boston Marble & Granite Memorials, Inc.; Lewis Metal Works, Inc.; Reaves Lawn & Garden Center; Town of South Boston; Jim Luedtke; Gene Haugh; and Industrial Development Authorities of South Boston and Halifax County.

According to Historical Society President Barbara Bass, Shirley Archer at Bright Meadow Wines in Crystal Hill is offering for sale at the dedication ceremony two wines called “Rebellion Red” and “Dan River Noir.”

Shirley Archer of Bright Meadows said “Rebellion Red” is made from the Norton grape, first introduced in Virginia by Thomas Jefferson.

The “Rebellion Red” win bottle bears a special label o the back denoting the history of the Crossing of the Dan.

That label reads:

“In 1781 the ragged remains of a devastated American army, commanded by General Nathanael Greene, retreated through the Carolinas, chased by British General Cornwallis’ better equipped and larger force of British veterans. The Race to the Dan took place as General Greene’s American army, suffering from hunger, lack of clothing and extreme winter weather, made a forced march from Guilford Court hosue to the present day Greensboro, North Carolina, to the Dan River near South Boston, Virginian. Dogged all the way by Cornwallis’ troops, Greene’s forces arrived first at the river on February 14, 1781 and crossed the rain-swollen stream on waiting boats. The British army soon after, but unable to cross, retreated. Reinforced and better supplied, Greene recrossed the Dan River to engage Cornwallis at Guilford Court House in a bloody battle that further weakened the British army. The British retreated to the coast and eventually marched to Yorktown where they surrendered.”

Limited quantitites of “Rebellion Red” and the Dan River Noir” will be for sale at the dedication, with portions of the proceeds benefiting the historical society.

The historical society completed its indoor exhibit two years ago. That exhibit is housed on the third floor of The Prizery and is open to the public Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday by appointment.