In 1917, Melvin Jones, a 38-year-old Chicago business leader, told members of his local business club they should reach beyond business issues and address the betterment of their communities and the world. Jones' group, the Business Circle of Chicago, agreed.
After contacting similar groups around the United States, an organizational meeting was held on June 7, 1917, in Chicago, Illinois, USA. The new group took the name of one of the invited groups, the "Association of Lions Clubs," and a national convention was held in Dallas, Texas, USA in October of that year. A constitution, by-laws, objectives and a code of ethics were approved. And the rest is history.
With a Charter dated Nov. 12, 1952 the delivery of the Charter and the inception of this Club dates December 5, 1952. The presentation was made by District Governor Lion John M. Smith. The presentation of a "Gong" and "Gavel", still in use was made by Lion Lloyd Chamberlain, president of the Princess Anne Lions Club. Acceptance of both presentations was made by Lion Clyde A. Bayless, the first president of the Deal Island-Chance Lions Club. To the Princess Anne Lions Club goes the credit of sponsoring this Club. The interest of both clubs in each other has never waned throughout the years. International Director Massey H Roe was the speaker. International Counselor Lee G. Bell was
In the first fifteen years of this club's existence so many needy projects have been completed that to catalogue them would be an impossible task. Numerous "Glasses" and Eye examinations have been a yearly achievement. The organization of the local Fire Company, securing a Medical Doctor for the community, revival of the "Skipjack Races" discontinued during the First World War, a Scholarship fund established and needy cases of community life and personal lives of the community have been given without a record being kept. Street lights for Wenona, Chance and Deal Island are guaranteed by the Lions Club.
There are no officials of the communities served by this Club. It is the only Civic organization and has measured up efficiently and consistently throughout the years since its inception.
It furnished the District, 22B, with three Deputy District Governors Lions Horace Webster, Ellsworth Hoffman and Warren F. Brooks. Lion LeRoy Webster has served twice as Zone Chairman: Lion Earl Webster one year. Lion Ellsworth Hoffman became Cabinet Secretary/Treasurer and Deputy District Governor and Lion Warren F. Brooks became a District Governor. Lion Brooks served three years as a member of the District Convention Committee being Chairman of the 1967 Convention He was Multiple District International Convention Chairman in 1969 in Tokyo.
The initial officers of this Club were Lions: Clyde A Bayless president; L. Albert Anderson, Robert Lee Shores, and Homer Ringgold were first, second and third vice presidents respectively. Lion William Rolan Parks served as Secretary, Lion Robert L. Webster as Treasurer LeRoy Webster as Lion Tamer and Elbert Gladden, Sr., as Tail Twister. The first Directors were Lions J. Hobson Burton, Eldon S. Willing, Sr., Thomas H. Price and Eldon S. Willing, Jr.
Charter members were: George Dewy Anderson, L. Albert Anderson, Clyde A. Bayless, Melvin L.
Beauchamp, J. Hobson Burton, James S. Corbett, John William Corbett, Elbert Gladden, Sr., Carlton Harrison, Stanford Harrison, William G. Hudgins, Carl P. Hoffman, Thomas H. Price, William Rolan Parks, Homer Ringgold, Henry L. Shores, Robert Lee Shores, Thomas G. Twigg, Charles B. Webster, Ellwood Webster, John W. Webster, Osborne Webster, Robert L. Webster, Roy E. Webster, W. Edelen Webster, Eldon S. Willing, Sr., and EIdon S. Willing, Jr.
Others who joined between the signing of the Charter and the delivery of the Charter were: Jay Listen Bloodsworth, Ralph R. Brown, Eldredge France, Frederick H. Geldemeyer, Eugene Hagerthey, Walter C. James, Vernon A. Jones, Lester R. Martindell, Charles Wesley Price, Millard Price, Phillip R. Price, Thomas B. Price, William H. Shores, J. Herbie Twigg, Sr., Alien Webster, Richard C. Webster, Roy G. Webster, Valliant Webster, Martin Wheatley and Willie Webster.
Activities of the Deal Island-Chance Club are numerous. The greatest is the holding of "Skipjack Races" on the Chesapeake each Labor Day. This race is the oldest boat race of the Chesapeake dating back well over one hundred years. Moreover the Skipjack is the last sailboat used commercially. It is the only power boat used, legally, for dredging oysters. The race attracts hundreds, is followed by a Dinner, awarding of prizes and a printed program nets the Club around two thousand dollars each year.
This Club organized the Volunteer Fire Company and helps maintain it. Services of a Physician were secured by the Lions. Girls and Boys State are both supported. Athletic activities receive aid. A scholarship fund is established to assist local students attend an accredited college. Each Yuletide, baskets are given the older residents and any poor are not overlooked. Glasses are furnished those whose sight can be improved. Most of the club members have bequeathed their eyes to the Eye Bank and funds are annually contributed to this cause. To rid the Island of mosquitoes a plan is being pushed to entice the Purple Martin, who eats 2000 mosquitoes per day, to find lodging in one of the hundred or more Martin Houses being placed on Deal Island and in Chance.
The Fifteenth Anniversary was held December 1, 1967. Lions Clubs in Somerset County and members from other nearby Clubs had members in attendance. Zone Chairman, Leroy Webster corralled Princess Anne, Marion and Smith Island Clubs in a County and Zone record attendance.
Presidents of the Deal Island-Chance Club deserve mention. They are: 1952, Clyde A. Bayless; 1953, Wilbur Johnson; 1954, Robert L. Webster; 1955, Edelen Webster; 1956, Horace Webster, 1957, Boyd Brittingham; 1958, L. Albert Anderson; 1959, Sanford Jones; 1960, Elwood Webster; 1961, Warren F. Brooks; 1962, James Webster; 1963, Edward T. Tarleton; 1964, Leroy Webster; 1965, Henry H. Stabler; 1966, Eldon Willing, Sr.; 1967, Ellsworth Hoffman; 1968, Walter James: 1969, Eldon Willing, Jr.
When caring people join together, roll up their sleeves and take action to make their community better, it’s a beautiful thing—and an incredible feeling for everyone involved. That’s Lions, where you can: