Chapter History

Our Founding

The George Mason Chapter was founded pursuant to a Chapter Charter application made to the Virginia Society dated February 2, 1954 by the following Compatriots living in Arlington and Fairfax Counties: Richard J. Addy, John Locke Green, Jefferson E. Kidd, Daniel A. Prager, Robert A. Ryland, Francis C. Rosenberger, Grier E. Sherrill, John P. Summers, Von M. Summers, Robert P. Waters, and Harold M. Wilson.

The first Chapter meeting was held at the Hogate’s Arlington House restaurant (pictured below) in Arlington, Virginia on April 1, 1954.

Hogate’s Arlington House

Originally constructed as the Ballston School, the building later became the Thomas Nelson Page school, and, ultimately, Hogate’s Arlington House Restaurant (featuring the addition of the white surrounding portico structure). It was located at 4001 Wilson Boulevard in Arlington, which today is the site of “The View” apartment building and the Kapnos Taverna restaurant. (Photograph courtesy of the Arlington Historical Society.)

LTC (later COL) Robert Powers Waters (21 Nov 1885 – 16 Jan 1991) was elected as the first Chapter President. (Waters was the 1959 recipient of the Minuteman Award 🔗, the SAR’s highest honor.) COL Waters is laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. 🔗

Robert Powers Waters

Chapter Activities

Within the first two years, the Chapter began the practice of awarding the Bronze Good Conduct Medal in programs in the local high schools and sponsoring Oration Competition contests. Other youth recognition programs followed and the Chapter consistently now sponsors Orations and Essay competitions, the Bronze JROTC Award, the Eagle Scout Award and frequently participates in the local National History Day programs, presents Flag Certificates, awards to local fire, police, and EMT personnel, recognizes contributions to the Chapter by by both Compatriots and others, and actively supports local veteran programs. The Chapter also has an active Color Guard, with members frequently traveling to events throughout Virginia and other states as far away as New York, Florida, Texas, and California.

During the early years of the Chapter’s existence, the Chapter met frequently at the Fort Myer Officer’s Club, with the Holiday luncheon either at Gunston Hall or the Mount Vernon Inn.

In more recent years, the Holiday luncheon has been held jointly with the George Washington Chapter and celebrated at the Belle Haven Country Club in Alexandria. The Holiday luncheon has traditionally been followed by a reading of the Virginia Bill of Rights and a wreath laying ceremony at George Mason’s grave at Gunston Hall.

Virginia and National Leadership

The Chapter has contributed significantly to the leadership of the Virginia Society, with multiple Compatriots serving as the President of the Virginia Society including

  • COL Robert P. Waters (1958-1959)
  • COL Claude H. Smith (1965-1966)
  • COL Irving R. Morgan (1972-1973)
  • Judson P. Mason (1976-1977)
  • Conrad P. Mook (1983-1984)
  • Bruce A. Wilcox (1997-1998)
  • Richard S. Austin (2001-2002)
  • Capt. John N. Dickie (2004-2005 [dual member])
  • Joseph W. Dooley (2007-2008)
  • W. A. Broadus, Jr. (2012-2013 [dual member] )
  • Capt. Kent S. Webber (2013-2014)

Two Compatriots, Bruce A. Wilcox and Joseph W. Dooley have also been elected and served as President General of the Society, Wilcox in 2007 and Dooley in 2013.

Past Presidents General Wilcox and Dooley

Numerous other Compatriots have served as General Officers of the National Society and currently serve on National Committees.

Our Presidents

 

  • LTC Robert P. Waters (1954-1958)
  • Von Molke Summers (1958-1959)
  • Stephen R. Turner (1959-1960)
  • John R. Whitney (1960-1961)
  • COL Claude H. Smith (1961-1962)
  • John O. Weaver (1962-1963)
  • COL Irving R. Morgan (1963-1964)
  • Murray B. York (1964)
  • Phillips E. Hicks (1964-1965)
  • Charles E. Louckes (1965-1966)
  • Henry L. Taylor (1966-1967)
  • Edward A. Howze (1967-1968)
  • Benjamin A. Rucker (1968-1969)
  • Richard A. Whitlock (1969-1970)
  • Verne E. Critchfield (1970-1971)
  • Daniel J. Jones (1971-1972)
  • George B. Warren (1972-1973)
  • Judson P. Mason (1973-1974)
  • John P. Kingman (1974-1975)
  • Edward F. Sayle (1975-1976)
  • George Hetland, Jr. (1976-1979)
  • Conrad P. Mook (1979-1981)
  • Hallet D. Edison (1981-1983)
  • William D. Taylor (1983-1985)
  • Francis W. Haskell (1985-1986)
  • Brown Pinkston (1986-1988)
  • Bruce A. Wilcox (1988-1990)
  • Royal A. Hartenberger (1990)
  • Richard A. Miller (1990-1993)
  • Wallace D. Smith (1993-1994)
  • COL Andrew M. Johnson (1995-1996)
  • Richard S. Austin (1996-1998)
  • Joseph W. Dooley (1999-2001)
  • Allen L. Beatty (2001-2003)
  • Capt. Kent S. Webber (2003-2005)
  • Ralph Lewis (2005-2007)
  • Richard S. Austin (2007-2010)
  • COL Peter M. Davenport (2010-2012)
  • COL Allen L. Lewis (2012-2014)
  • Rev. Gene Tomas (2014-2015)
  • RADM Robert H. Shumaker (2015-2017)
  • COL Peter M. Davenport (2017-)