A Son of the American Revolution speaks on Christmas at Valley Forge

The De Anza Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution held its annual Christmas Tea at Fairbanks Ranch Country Club on Dec. 2. Brian Stokes, a Son of the American Revolution, drew from historical documents and diaries to speak of Christmas at Valley Forge in 1777.

While the British held lavish parties in Philadelphia, 12,000 Continental Army soldiers marched 20 miles northwest of the city in the week before Christmas for winter encampment. Only one third had shoes in the frigid weather, many leaving bloody footprints in the snow. Christmas dinner for the patriots was “firecakes,” a pancake of flour and water cooked on a hot stone. Fourteen hundred died that winter, and more would have succumbed if not for the 400 women camp followers who tended the men, some disguising themselves as men in order to fight.

“Toast those who sacrificed at Valley Forge,” Stokes said, “so that we may enjoy our freedom and warm meal this Christmas.”

The Francis Parker Lower School Choir, directed by Darlene Herriman, and Strings, directed by Tamara Paige, entertained with holiday selections ranging from traditional to the contemporary “I Saw Momma Kissing Santa Claus.”

Tea was poured by De Anza Daughters Jody Bray, Marykay Burch, Joanne Dudek, and Francie Spears. A silent auction was held to benefit programs sponsored by the chapter.

A woman 18 years or older descended from an American Revolution patriot is eligible for membership in the De Anza Daughters. If you think you have a Revolutionary patriot in your tree, call Laurel Lemarie, 858-756-2835, or visit