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Full House at Program Featuring Squire Cheyney's Descendant and Revolutionary War Author

February 28, 2014

Left to right, CU Trustee Larry Skinner, Revolutionary War author Marion Lane, CU President Dr. Michelle R. Howard-Vital, Curtis Cheyney, descendant of Squire Cheyney, Chair, PASSHE Board of Governors Guido Pichini, Cheyney Foundation Director David Alston, CU Chief of Staff Sheilah Vance and Robert Anthony, Chair, Board of Supervisors, Thornbury Township, Chester County.

Left to right, CU Trustee Larry Skinner, Revolutionary War author Marion Lane, CU President Dr. Michelle R. Howard-Vital, Curtis Cheyney, descendant of Squire Cheyney, Chair, PASSHE Board of Governors Guido Pichini, Cheyney Foundation Director David Alston, CU Chief of Staff Sheilah Vance and Robert Anthony, Chair, Board of Supervisors, Thornbury Township, Chester County.

A fascinated audience at Carnegie Hall heard Curtis Cheyney, III, Esq., descendant of George Cheyney, on whose land Cheyney University sits, and alumnus Dr. Marion Lane, (’70), President of the Society of the Descendants of Washington’s Army at Valley Forge, talk about the interlocking history of Cheyney University, the Cheyney family, and patriots of African descent in the Revolutionary War. The program was held on February 26 during Cheyney University's Founders Week.

Cheyney talked about how Squire Cheyney, whose historic barn and farmhouse are across the street from the university, warned General George Washington that the British were approaching with an army of 8,000 instead of a few hundred. His early warning gave Washington and his Continental Army time to prepare a defense and averted huge troop losses.  He enlightened the crowd with history of the Unviesity's campus, including George Cheyney's original log cabin which  became the core of Melrose House, the historic former president’s home on campus. In 1902 the Cheyney family sold the land  to the Institute for Colored Youth, which later became Cheyney University. 

Cheyney said that Cheyney University, the Cheyney family, and the surrounding Thornbury Township were all neighbors whose histories and presents are intertwined, and all should be involved in and concerned about the university’s thriving.

Lane shared how over 5000 patriots of African descent fought in the Revolutionary War, many of whom were free men, like her patriot ancestors from Virginia, while others were still slaves.  She noted that the Revolutionary War was the last fully integrated army until the Korean war.

“Squire Cheyney knew that African Americans were fighting in the Revolutionary War, side by side with white soldiers,” Lane said. “It is no accident that this university is here on what was Cheyney family land. “

The lecture reception, which was sponsored by the Cheyney University Foundation, was timed to coincide with the article on the university titled, "Preserving the Past of Cheyney University: The Home of a Hero,” in the February edition of US Airways magazine, which was distributed to over 2 million US Air passengers.