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The Louisville-Thruston Chapter of the Kentucky Society was organized in November of 1960 by a group of Kentucky Society SAR members invited to meet at J. Colgan Norman's home. It was agreed that the chapter would be in Louisville and named in honor of R. C. Ballard Thruston for his note-worthy contributions in collection and preservation of historical documents in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Thruston had served as President-General of the NSSAR in 1913. William A. Chenault was elected President; First Vice-President - Joshua B. Everett; Second Vice-President - William Kinnaird; Secretary-Treasurer - D. B. Waller; Registrar - Harry W. Myers; Historian - James W. Menefee; and Chaplain - Lawrence Cassidy Jr. filled out the roster of officers.
On February 22, 1961, a luncheon meeting was held to commemorate George Washington's birthday. At that meeting, at the Pendennis Club, chapter officers were officially installed by Thomas Burchett Jr, President of the Kentucky Society, SAR and the charter was presented. Ranson H. Bassett, National Society Trustee from Kentucky was also present.
Initially, the officers met monthly to ensure the chapter's ongoing success. General membership meetings were held three times a year to commemorate patriotic events and, occasionally, to present honors and awards. Chapter Compatriots Colonel Ben Morris (1985 - 1986), Dr. William Gist (1995 - 1996), and James David Sympson (2010 - 2011) also served the National Society as Presidents General.
The first chapter newsletter, "The Louisville Patriot" was edited by Colonel Robert Jobson in 1981. By 1994, under the aggressive leadership of several chapter presidents, our membership had grown to 370 members. In 1994, the chapter newsletter was revived by Editor Dan Klinck as "The Long Rifleman" and published four times annually until 2000. "The Long Rifleman" was revived again in 2010 as an on-line publication by Editor Jon Huffman and is currently published and available on our website five times annually. The chapter’s website was also established in 2010 by Jon Huffman with technical help from Del White of the Lafayette Chapter in Lexington, KY.
In 1996, the first chapter Color Guard of the Kentucky Society was formed. The Color Guard was named the ''V. Edward Masters Memorial Color Guard'' to honor the memory of the chapter Past-President, who proposed the color guard during his presidency. The first event of the newly formed color guard was at Big Spring Country Club on February 17, 1996, consisting of Dan Klinck, Dan Allen, Norb Rawert, and Terry Brown. On May 17, 2006, Color Guardsmen Henry Head, Will Schrader, Les Black and Charles Scott were present at the funeral service for our first chapter President William Chenault. Chapter Chaplain Forrest Chilton performed the farewell service.
There are now five regularly scheduled chapter meetings each year: the Flag Day Meeting in June; the Constitution Day Joint SAR/DAR Meeting in September; the Christmas Holiday Dinner in December; the George Washington’s Birthday Meeting in February; and the Annual Meeting in April. The Louisville-Thruston Chapter celebrated its 50th anniversary in November 2010. We are the largest SAR chapter in the state of Kentucky and currently have approximately 330 members.
Rogers Clark Ballard Thruston - Our Chapter Namesake (from The Long Rifleman published July 2011, Volume 2, Issue 4)Rogers Clark Ballard Thruston is a man to be remembered, yet it’s probably a safe bet that his name will not be recognized by many of our members, despite the fact our chapter was named in his honor. As you will see from the following article, no one has done more to capture and preserve Kentucky history than R. C. Ballard Thruston. (Click on the Photo for a short History of Roger Ballard Thruston.)