The organization in this area has a complicated history. A first meeting took place in Hartford on April 2, 1889. It was instituted by thirteen members of the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution. When the assembly took place, however, it was convened by William O. McDowell of New Jersey, whose history has been reported previously. A constitution adopted here was, no doubt through McDowell's influence, based on that of New Jersey. This organization applied to the New York Society for recognition as an independent State Society but was refused. In time it followed the lead of New Jersey, forming the Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution later that year.
A Connecticut State Society was organized in accordance with the procedures of the General Society of the Sons of the Revolution as defined by the Constitution of 1890 as a result of a call issued by the Executive Committee of the New York Society on May 24, 1893. It was incorporated under the laws of the State of Connecticut on September 7, 1893. Officers elected on that date were: Colonel Dwight Morris, President; the Honorable Daniel Nash Morris, Vice President; Cyrus Sherwood Bradley, Secretary: Colonel Henry Walter Wessels, Treasurer; Nathan Gillette Pond, Registrar; and the Reverend Alexander Hamilton, Chaplain. This Society was received by the General Society at the Baltimore General Meeting of April 19, 1894.7° At the General Society Meeting in Boston the following year, Connecticut was represented by Louis J. Allen, the Reverend N. Ellsworth Cornwall, Jessup Wakeman, Robert Peel Wakeman and William Freeman French M.D.
For many years the chief enterprise of the Connecticut Society was the maintenance of "The Nathan Hale School-house" in East Haddam, where Hale taught 1773-1774. The building was erected about 1750 and was used as a school-house until 1799, when it became a dwelling. In 1899 it was presented to Colonel Richard Henry Green of the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution. Green, in turn, gave it to the New York Society. At a meeting of the Connecticut Society held November 14, 1899 a communication was read from James M. Montgomery, Secretary of the New York Society, asking the Connecticut Society to accept the historic schoolhouse. The gift was accepted. The building and a small surrounding park on an eminence on the banks of the Connecticut River were dedicated by the Society on June 6, 1900, the 145th anniversary of Nathan Hale's birth. The schoolhouse became the Connecticut Society's headquarters.
"Registers" were issued by this Society in 1908, 1913 and perhaps in other years. In 1911 there were 208 members reported, but membership gradually dwindled until 1929, after which no reports were received by the General Society for several years. In 1934 it was stated at the Triennial that "Connecticut has gone over to the other society."
However, nineteen members of the Connecticut Society were reported for 1938 and its officers included Rollin U. Tyler Esq., President; Burton L. Lawton, Vice President; Hubert D. Tracy, Secretary-Treasurer; Harry W. Reynolds, Registrar, and Professor Arthur Adams, Chaplain. In 1938 this Society considered itself "still in existence"—as an independent society. It had repaired the roof of the Nathan Hale Schoolhouse with hand-split shingles from Vermont and improved the park around it by planting trees. The Society continued to award annual prizes for schoolchildren's essays. The Connnecticut Sons of the Revolution met at the same time and place as the local SAR but as a separate organization.
Possession of the Hale Schoolhouse was retained and in 1940 twelve members were reported. General President John Bion Richards reported at the General Meeting in Philadelphia in 1940, "The Connecticut Society has rejoined; although they had been inactive for many years as far as the General Society is concerned, they kept their organization. They have twelve members. They own considerable real estate there and they are now going to go ahead as a regular member of our General Society In 1943 the Connecticut Society was again "welcomed back."
Since 1952 no membership statistics have been reported to the General Society, but in 1961 the General President stated that efforts were still being made to re-activate this Society. In 1967 he reported that Connecticut had been "taken over by the SAR," and in 1982 the Society was reported "lost" Colonel Frank S. Hale II, Regional Vice President, said to the Board of Managers in St. Paul in October 1993, "Regarding Connecticut. . .there is a possibility of forming a new society in that state, even though most members residing there tend to belong to the New York or the Rhode Island Societies."
History of the origin of the Society of the
Sons of the Revolution in the State of Connecticut
At a meeting of the New York Society, Sons of the
Revolution, the Executive Committee was requested to communicate with those members living in other states urging
them to form a State Society in their respective states.
For the purpose of organizing such a Society in the State of
Connecticut, the Rev. Alexander Hamilton, of Lyons Plains,
Conn., on the 16th day of May, 1893, sent out a notice of
a meeting to be held on the 24th day of May at one-thirty
P. M., at the Atlantic Hotel, Bridgeport, Conn.
The Connecticut members of the New York Society and
their friends were invited, and the following gentlemen were
present at the meeting:
Rev. Henry N. Wayne
Rev. Nathaniel E, Cornwall
Rev. Henry M. Sherman
Rev. Alexander Hamilton
Rev. Frank E. Robbins
Mr. Thomas B. Fairchild
Mr. Nathan G. Pond
Mr. Cyrus S. Bradley
Col. Dwight Morris
Mr. John S. Jones
Mr. Edwin S. Robbins
Dr. George O. Robbins
Mr. Frank C. Dovvd
Dr. Wm. F. French
Mr. Leigh R. Hoyt
Col. Henry W. Wessels
Mr. John W. Gulick
Colonel Dwight Morris was elected Chairman of the
meeting, and Cyrus S. Bradley its Secretary.
The Constitution of the New York Society, Sons of the
Revolution, was adopted as the Constitution of the Connecticut Society, Sons of the Revolution, but certain amend
ments were made thereto to suit local conditions.
The following officers were unanimously elected:
Col. Dwight Morris, President pro tern.
Col. Henry W. Wessels, Treasurer pro tern.
Mr. Cyrus Bradley, Secretary pro tern.
The Meeting appointed a Committee on Credentials,
which was composed of the following:
Rev. Alexander Hamilton, Chairman.
Mr. John S. Jones
Rev. Henry N. Wayne
The second meeting of the Society was held in Westport,
Conn., on the 5th day of September, 1893, and the following
eligible gentlemen were recommended as members:
Nathan Gillette Pond, Milford, Conn.
Howard Eugene Gates, M.D., Colorado Springs, Col.
John Smith Jones, Westport, Conn.
Chauncey Smith Foster, West Winsted, Conn.
Alexander Hamilton, Major
General, U. S. A., retired, Lyons Plains, Conn.
Simon Couch Sherwood, Southport, Conn.
Rev. Nathaniel Ellsworth Cornwall, Stratford, Conn.
Hon. Daniel Nash Morgan, Treasurer, U. S., Washington, D. C.
Howard Nickols Wakeman, Southport, Conn.
Oliver Taylor Sherwood, Southport, Conn.
Timothy Jones, Danbury, Conn.
Leigh Richmond Hoyt, Lyons Plains, Conn.
At this meeting the following officers were nominated:
Col. Dwight Morris, Bridgeport, Conn.
Hon. Daniel Nash Morgan, Washington, D. C.
Mr. Cyrus Sherwood Bradley, Southport, Conn.
Col. Henry Walton Wessels, Litchfield, Conn.
Mr. Nathan Gillette Pond, Milford, Conn.
Rev. Alexander Hamilton, Lyons Plains, Conn.
Board of Managers
Mr. Satterlee Swartwout, Stamford, Conn.
Dr. William Freeman French, Noroton, Conn.
Col. George Bliss Sanford, Litchfield, Conn.
Rev. Henry N. Wayne, Westport, Conn.
Mr. Louis J. Allen, Chief Engineer, U. S. N.
Mr. Jesup Wakeman, New York, N. Y.
Mr. Simon Couch Sherwood, Southport, Conn.
Mr. Augustus Floyd Delafield, Noroton, Conn.
Mr. John Smith Jones, Westport, Conn.
Delegates to General Society.
Col. Dwight Morris
Rev. Alexander Hamilton
Nathan Gillette Pond
Augustus Floyd Delafield
Edward Wood Riker
Robert Clark Morris, D.C.L.
Rev. Henry N. Wayne,
Nathaniel Ellsworth Cornwall.
The third meeting of the Society was held in the Old
Court House, Bridgeport, Conn., on the 7th day of September, 1893.
The Secretary pro tern read a letter of congratulation
from James M. Montgomery, the Secretary of the General
Society, Sons of the Revolution, in which the Connecticut
Society was invited to join the General Society. In this
letter Mr. Montgomery suggested that the Connecticut
Society be incorporated at once.
The officers nominated at the meeting of the 5th instant
were unanimously elected, and President Dwight Morris
was escorted to the Chair amid tumultuous applause.
The Committee on Credentials, through its Chairman,
the Rev. Alexander Hamilton, approved the admission as
members of those gentlemen who had been recommended at
the meeting of September 5th, and they were admitted.
An application for admission to the General Society was
prepared and adopted as follows:
To the General Society, Sons of the Revolution:
The undersigned incorporators of the Connecticut
Society, Sons of the Revolution, respectfully ask for ad
mission for said Society to the General Society, Sons of
BE IT KNOWN, That on the seventh day of September, 1893, Dwight Morris, Cyrus Sherwood Bradley, Henry
Walton Wessels, Alexander Hamilton, Jr., Henry N.
Wayne, A. Floyd Delafield, Thomas B. Fairfield, William
Freeman French, and Jesup Wakeman did associate them
selves as a body corporate, pursuant to the Statute Laws of
the State of Connecticut regulating the formation and
organization of corporations without capital stock, and the
following are their Articles of Association:
Article I. The name of said Corporation shall be
" Sons of the Revolution."
Article II. The purposes for which said Corporation
is formed are the following, to wit:
To perpetuate the memory of the men who, in the
military, naval, and civil service of the Colonies and the
Continental Congress, by their acts or counsel, achieved
American Independence; to promote and assist In the proper
celebration of the anniversaries of the birthday of Washington, and of prominent events In the War of the Revolu
tion; to inspire among the members and their descendants
the patriotic spirit of their forefathers; to inculcate in the
community In general sentiments of nationality and respect
for the principles for which the Patriots of the Revolution
contended, and to promote social intercourse and the feeling
of fellowship among Its members.
Article III. The Statute Laws of the State of Connecticut relating to corporations without capital stock are
hereby referred to and made a part of these articles, and
the Corporation hereby organized and established under,
and pursuant to, said Statute Laws shall have all the powers
and proceed according to the regulations ciescrlbed and
Article IV. The said Corporation Is located in the town
of New Haven, County of New Haven, and State of Connecticut.
Dated at Bridgeport this seventh day of September, 1893
We, the undersigned, President and Secretary of the "Sons of the Revolution" hereby certify that the foregoing
Is a true copy of the articles of said Corporation.
Attest: (Signed) Dwight Morris, President.
Cyrus Sherwood Bradley, Secretary.
Founders of the Connecticut Society of the Sons of the Revolution
Joseph Spencer Monument