DAR donates Washington portrait to American Village

David Lindsay Chapter members Karen Jenson, Regent Margaret Clark and past Regent Rita Reid, Martha Washington portrait, "Martha Washington" re-enactor actress Angel Tillman, ASDAR State Regent Connie Grund and American Village Founder Tom Walker. (Contributed)

David Lindsay Chapter members Karen Jenson, Regent Margaret Clark and past Regent Rita Reid, Martha Washington portrait, “Martha Washington” re-enactor actress Angel Tillman, ASDAR State Regent Connie Grund and American Village Founder Tom Walker. (Contributed)

By Phoebe Donald Robinson /  Community Columnist
When Connie Grund was installed as state regent of the Alabama Daughters of the American Revolution in March 2012, she had one specific goal during her administration: A gift for American Village.
As state regent of the women’s lineage society directly descended from patriots of the American Revolution, she knew the importance and lasting influence of the founding mothers to our nation’s heritage.
“I felt it was time for our founding mothers on to be displayed on American Village’s walls,” said Grund. “The First Lady Martha Washington was America’s founding mother. I felt it appropriate for the ASDAR to donate her portrait to American Village.”
At the 2014 DAR State Conference, Grund presented Tom Walker, founder of American Village, with an authentic reproduction of young Martha Washington painted by master realist painter Michael J.  Deas.  The original portrait was painted in 2004 after Deas did an intense forensic study of the young Martha. His goal was a true image of Martha as a young wife and mother about the same age at the famous portrait of Col. George Washington at age 31 when he was colonel of the Virginia Regiment.
The two authentic reproductions are located in beautiful Washington Hall in the Mt. Vernon replica building on top of the hill at American Village.
Grund and Walker spoke to the David Lindsay Chapter of Shelby County as the chapter viewed the portraits during a recent field trip to American Village where they were visited by “Martha Washington” (actress Angel Tillman) who spoke of her life wearing the same dress as in the portrait. American Village under the leadership of Cahawba Chapter member and Historic Clothing Director Nancy Moore received a $7,500 DAR grant for historic costumes. The day ended with a visit to the American Veteran’s Shrine and Historic Register where the chapter learned how to register their American Revolutionary War patriots (see Veteransregisterofhonor.com.
“Our mission is to respect and honor the past for our heritage is one of the keystones for America to stay strong and prosper,” said Walker. “You cannot safe guard what you do not cherish, and you cannot cherish what you do not know.”