Photo by James A. McBride
Sister Michele DeGregorio, principal of St. Margaret Regional School, Woodbury Heights, accepts a portrait of Commodore John Barry and a biography of him from Martin A. Shipe Jr., president of the South Jersey Chapter Sons of the American Revolution.
WOODBURY HEIGHTS — How many people know about Commodore John Barry, despite a bridge named after him connecting South Jersey with Pennsylvania?
Barry was one of a handful of Catholic officers who fought during the Revolutionary War.
Martin A Shipe Jr., president of the South Jersey Chapter Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), said the organization commissioned an online company that recreates paintings to copy Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of Barry that was donated to St. Margaret School in Woodbury Heights, “in the hopes of inspiring some young students.”
The original is at the White House, painted by hand by artists from Ocean’s Bridge Group.
The idea behind donating this portrait to the school, Shipe noted, was “to hopefully attract the minds of some daydreaming students and inspire our youth to think about patriotism in these uncertain times.”
He said the portrait qualifies for three of his group’s goals: patriotic, historical and educational.
“One of my best friend’s son was recently accepted at the U.S. Naval Academy,” said Shipe, “and at the same time I was reading Tim McGrath’s biography of John Barry. So I put the two thoughts together while perpetuating the goals of my organization. I figured it was right on the mark.”
The Sons of the American Revolution, said Shipe, is the leading male lineage society that perpetuates the ideals of the war for independence. As a non-profit corporation, “we seek to maintain and expand the meaning of patriotism, respect for our national symbols, the value of American citizenship, and the unifying force of e pluribus unum that was created from the people of many nations — one nation and one people.”
He explained that the group commemorates and provides memorials for events of the American Revolution and helps to preserve records relating to the events of the Revolutionary War.
Additionally, the SAR sponsors essay and oration contests nationwide for high school students, distributes history curricula at no cost to the recipients, and informs the community about the events and philosophical bases of the American Revolution and the Constitution. The National SAR was a major force behind the construction of the National Archives in Washington DC and the collection of historic documents there, Shipe said.
For more information about SAR and the Barry portrait, contact Shipe at 609-458-0154.