The Louisville Thruston Chapter Flag
The uniforms worn by the chapter’s color guard are modelled on the style worn by the First Virginia regiment of Washington’s Continental Line. The flag of the First Virginia regiment has also been adopted as the chapter flag for Louisville Thruston. In the center of this custom-sewn flag is the Civic Wreath with the Roman numeral one in the middle. The left branch of the wreath is comprised of oak leaves with 13 acorns. The right branch consists of dogwood leaves with 11 blossoms. Ten battle streamers can be added to the flag in recognition of the regiment’s 10 engagements with the British.
The R. C. Ballard Thruston Chapter of the Kentucky Society, SAR was organized in November 1960 by a group of Kentucky Society members who were invited to meet at J. Colgan Norman’s home. It was agreed that the new chapter would be in Louisville and named in honor of R. C. Ballard Thruston for his noteworthy contributions in the collection and preservation of historical documents in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Thruston had also been the first Kentuckian to hold the office of President General of NSSAR, having been elected in 1913 and again in 1914. The newly formed chapter’s first President was William A. Chenault, and the other officers were 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.
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. Compatriot 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.
In 1980, the name of the chapter was changed from the R. C. Ballard Thruston Chapter to simply the Louisville Thruston Chapter. Since then, three members of the chapter have followed in the footsteps of Compatriot Thruston and been elected to the office of President General of the National Society: Compatriots Colonel Benjamin Morris (1985 - 1986), Dr. William Gist (1995 - 1996), and James David Sympson (2010 - 2011).
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, the 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 online publication by Editor Jon Huffman and is currently published monthly and available on our website. The chapter’s website was also established in 2010 by Compatriot Huffman with technical help from Compatriot Del White of the Lafayette Chapter in Lexington, KY.
In 1996, the chapter’s Color Guard organization was formed, the first for the Kentucky Society. 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. Daniel Klinck was named Color Guard Commander and served in that capacity from its inception in 1996 until 2016. The first event of the newly formed color guard was at Big Spring Country Club on February 17, 1996, and consisted of Compatriots 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.
At the present time, there are five regularly scheduled chapter meetings each year: the George Washington’s Birthday Meeting in February; the Annual Business Meeting in April; the Flag Day Meeting in June; the Constitution Day Joint SAR/DAR Meeting in September; and the Christmas Holiday Social in December. 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 300 members.
1913, 14 R.C. Ballard Thruston 1985 Col. Benjamin H. Morris 1995 William C. Gist Jr. D.M.D 2010 James David Sympson
In 1913, Rogers Clark Ballard Thruston was the first Kentuckian elected as President General of the National Society, SAR. He was elected again in 1914 to serve a second term. Prior to 1960, there were no individual chapters in the state, and the organization was simply known as the Kentucky Society of SAR. The Louisville Thruston Chapter was organized in 1960, the first chapter in the state, and since then, three of its members have followed in Compatriot Thruston's footsteps and served as President General of NSSAR. They are Col. Benjamin Morris (1985), Dr. William Gist (1995), and J. David Sympson (2010).
The chapter's namesake, R. C. Ballard Thruston, was a man to be remembered, yet it's probably a safe bet that his name will not be recognized by many of our members. The following link takes you to a biographical article from the July 2011 issue of The Long Rifleman, which clearly illustrates how no one has done more to capture and preserve Kentucky history than our own R. C. Ballard Thruston.