On June 16, 1873, Horatio Gates Stevens, Vice President of the New York Society of the Cincinnati died. His eldest son, John Rhinelander Stevens was admitted into the New York society in his father’s place. The next year John Austin Stevens, half cousin of John Rhinelander Stevens, petitioned the society proposing that the Society of the Cincinnati accept members of junior lines. The proposal was rejected.
In December 1875, in New York City, John Austin Stevens informally organized the Sons of the Revolution (SR). Society tradition states that the name came from a combination of the Sons of Liberty and the Society of the Revolution (a defunct group of Revolutionary War Soldiers who had also been excluded from membership in the Society of Cincinnati).
The first official meeting took place on January 15, 1876 at the New York Historical Society. The new group saw little growth over the next seven years. Public interest increased in 1883 during the centennial anniversary of the British evacuation of New York. The Sons of the Revolution held a dinner in the “Long Room” of Fraunces Tavern on December 4, 1883 in honor of George Washington’s farewell dinner held in the same room of the tavern 100 years earlier.
The SR was incorporated in New York in May of 1884. It was officially recognized by Hamilton Fish, President General of the New York Society of the Cincinnati (and U.S. Secretary of State under President U.S. Grant) as the ‘ little brother of the SC ‘.
In March 1888 the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution was organized by Josiah G. Leach, John W. Jordan and Dr. Herman Burgin. It was and is completely independent of the New York Society. The first meeting was held on April 3, 1888 and by April 14 (1888) there were officially fourteen approved members.
On April 18, 1890 the General Society of the SR was formed by the New York, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. Societies in Washington.
The society’s Charter states that it’s mission is to:
Collect and secure for preservation the manuscripts, rolls, records, and documents relating to the Revolutionary War.
Instill in the community general sentiments of nationality and respect for the principles for which the patriots of the revolution contended.
The requirements for membership are:
- Having an ancestor who served in the military against the British.
- Signers of the Declaration of Independence.
- Having an ancestor who served under the military authority of the French or Spanish against the British.
- Having an ancestor who served in a capacity of sufficient importance to have rendered himself liable for conviction of treason by the British (ex: Sons of Liberty, etc.)
Headquarters NY Society : Fraunces Tavern, a historic Neo-Georgian Tavern in downtown Manhattan, New York, NY. Built in 1719, served a tavern since 1762, meeting place for the Sons of Liberty, Americans and British, meeting place for George Washington’s farewell dinner with Continental Army officers.
> a link to Fraunces Tavern website.