Many claim to have an ancestor who fought in the American Revolutionary War. If you do know then you could join the Sons of the Revolution. You may be a descendant as there were as many as 250,000 men who fought in this war of independence from Great Britain. Please read on and I’ll explain what this society is all about.
What was the Revolutionary War and how did it begin?
Before I do discuss this society I just need to give a brief history lesson. First of all The American Revolutionary War is also referred to as the American War of Independence and the Revolutionary War. The war was fought between the thirteen colonies of North America who wanted to gain independence from Great Britain.
These thirteen colonies were located on the east coast of America and they resisted the royal authority that governed their lives. Prior to the beginning of the war there were protests and even boycotts. These colonists, also known as Patriots, rebelled against the republicanism of Great Britain. They too rebelled against any Loyalist who supported the British.
One particular incident occurred a few years previous to the start of the war in 1773 at Boston Harbor. Protestors destroyed a shipment of tea and this incident famously became known as the Boston Tea Party.
The British retaliation!
The British government likewise retaliated to this rebellion and punished the state of Massachusetts. The British effectively took away their rights to govern their state.
Massachusetts responded to this punishment by forming a shadow government. They then joined twelve other colonies and coordinated their resistance against the British.
The first armed conflict occurred on April 19th 1775 when the British tried to seize the munitions that the Massachusetts colonists possessed. This conflict lasted for over 10 months and resulted in the evacuation of the British troops.
By July 2nd 1776 the Continental Congress voted for independence to which this Declaration was issued on July 4th. This bloody war wounded approximately 25,000 men and another 17,000 men died from disease.
What Is the Sons of the Revolution Society?
The Sons of the Revolution was founded over a hundred years after the American War of Independence in 1876. It is a fraternal organization and was formed by members of the Society of Cincinnati. Their goal was as quoted, “Broaden participation in preserving American Heritage on the eve of this country’s centennial“. And so they educate people about the American Revolution.
Through their goal they wanted to promote both knowledge and appreciation for the achievement of the Revolutionary War in gaining independence. They also wanted to foster fellowship between the members of the society.
Their headquarters are based in the state of Virginia. in the city of Williamsburg. Today the Sons of the Revolution are spread over the United States in 28 societies. They also have societies within Europe as well, and in Mexico too.
Notable members include past Presidents of the United States, such as George W Bush, George H W Bush, Gerald Ford and Dwight D Eisenhower. There have been United States senators, representatives, ambassadors and government officials who have been a member of this society.
What is the General Society?
A General Society was later formed on April 19th 1880, (the anniversary of the start of the war). Their goal was to have national unity across the societies within the United States. Any son or descendant of an enlisted man or officer was able to join.
The society’s biggest celebration is called Let Freedom Ring and is celebrated on quite understandably the day of American Independence, July 4th. Bells are rung thirteen times at exactly 2.00pm to honor the thirteen colonies who signed the Declaration of Independence. The Liberty Bell is tapped by four young descendants and this sets off bell chimes all over the nation.
Besides the Let Freedom Ring celebrations there are other activities that the society performs throughout the year. Their goal as stated at the beginning of this post is to educate people of the significance of this date in American history. And they do this through patriotic, historical and educational activities.
Activities performed throughout the year include:
- Triennial general meetings,
- Citizen awards,
- Military awards,
- Let Freedom Ring celebrations,
- Evacuation Day observances, and
- Grave-marker and wreath placements.
What can I get from the society?
The society is open to any male who is at least eighteen years of age and who is a descendant of anyone who fought in the Revolutionary War. There are also Junior, Senior and Life memberships as well.
The society publishes two different publications the Drumbeat and Flintlock and Powderhorn. The first publication is published quarterly while the second is semiannual. Members can attend any of the gatherings and the Let Freedom Ring celebrations, and can also receive these publications.
As well as publications you can order badges, medals, neckties and several books discussing the American Revolutionary War. The society also offers commemorative jewellery such as cuff links, neck ribbons, chest ribbons, and tie tacks as well. These can be purchased by downloading and returning an order form from the website.
What Can You Do?
There is nothing better than actually participating in promoting this era in American heritage. By doing any of the activities that the society suggests you will not only get a better understanding of your ancestors’ lives but also appreciate their resistance against British rule.
The Sons of the Revolution do offer you plenty of ways for you to get involved. Through these activities not only can you learn about what your ancestor did but also feel proud of their involvement in this important part of American history. The great thing about this list is that you can do as many as you wish.
What you can do:
- Read and discuss any Revolutionary War document.
- Write an article for any newspaper, magazine or publication.
- Join a Revolutionary War battlefield organization.
- Visit any building or battlefield associated with the war.
- Visit the grave a Revolutionary War hero.
- Create an online presence promoting the Revolutionary War.
- Attend a criminal trial and learn America’s jurisdiction system.
- Buy a Revolutionary War book for a friend or relative.
- Research the history of your Revolutionary War ancestor.
- Research a Revolutionary War hero’s state pension.
For me knowing who my ancestors were was never enough. I wanted to learn more about their lives and what they did. I wanted to know as much as I possibly could about them.
Sure, by knowing their names, where they lived, what they did for a living and important events could tell me a lot about them. But I wanted to know more. Only by looking into the history of the area and the population was I truly able to say that I knew them, (or at least better than I had before).
By looking closer can you really appreciate who they were and what they did for their country and for their family as well. Only by delving deeper into the lives of our ancestors can we truly know them.
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