The Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Connecticut was chartered April 26, 1893, and incorporated under the State Laws May 21, 1893. The first General Court was held in New Haven on December 14, 1893, at which time most of the officers and a council were chosen. An adjourned General Court was held in New Haven on May 26, 1894, the 257th anniversary of the attack of Captain John Mason and his forces on the Pequot fort in Mistick. At this time the rest of the officers were elected, and the Constitution and By-Laws were adopted by a unanimous vote.
The Seal of the Society was designed and printed under the Society's direction shortly after its founding by Tiffany and Company.
The second and fourth quarters of the coat of arms are adapted from the seal of the Colony of Saybrook, which the Colony of Connecticut employed after absorbing this most ephemeral of our three roots; the first and third quarters, red cross on silver — or white — field, show the cross of St. George, long the flag of England; the crown above is a rough adaptation of the crown of St. Edward the Confessor which, though destroyed under the Commonwealth, was later replicated in what is today the crown of the monarch of the United Kingdom.
This handsome ballot box and gavel was fabricated in 1895* for the Society, which was founded two years before, out of wood from the famous Charter Oak which fell during a great storm on August 21, 1856. In 1896 it was presented to the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Connecticut by Clarence Catlin Hungerford, Esq., a descendant of the Joseph Wadsworth who hid the Charter in the oak tree in 1687. It is embellished with sterling silver hinges, plaques, feet and a medallion of the Society seal. The accompanying gavel, also from wood of the Charter Oak, was presented in 1896 by Ralph William Cutler, Esq., a descendant of Governor George Wyllys, the original owner of the tree. The handle of the gavel is made from a piece of an old oak beam from Governor Wyllys' house. A sterling silver plaque in the substantial leather carrying case attests that it was presented by Newman Hungerford in 1908; plaques on each of two small boxes for the black and white balls were dated the same year.
The illustration above left shows the box in its leather carrying case with the gavel and two smaller boxes that contain black and white wooden balls which are loaded into the open side; the open view on the right shows how it functions for the election of members. The white ball (for acceptance) or black ball (for rejection) is selected by the voter from the opened side and dropped through the porthole in such a manner as to ensure confidentiality. If the candidate for admission to the Society receives two or more black balls he is rejected, hence he is said to have been "black balled". * The following document is to be found in the carrying case: "I certify that I made this ballot box wholly from the wood of the Charter Oak at Hartford, Connnecticut, December, 1895. (Signed) Daniel S. Jorgensen"
The insignia of the Society shall consist of a badge, pendant by a gold crown and ring from a watered silk ribbon one inch and a half wide, of red, bordered with white and edged with red. The badge shall be surrounded by a laurel wreath in gold and shall consist of:
Obverse: A white enameled star of nine points bordered with red enamel, having between the points nine shields, each displaying an emblem of the nine original colonies and, within a blue enamel garter bearing the motto "Fortiter Pro Patria", an Indian's head in gold relievo.
Reverse: The star above described, but with gold edge, each shield between the points displaying a mullet, and in the center, within an annulet of blue, bearing the title "Society of Colonial Wars, 1607-1775", the figure of a colonial soldier in gold relievo. The reverse of the crown of each badge shall bear an engraved number, corresponding to that of the registered number of the member to whom such insignia has been issued.
This fierce looking Indian statuette of pewter, standing about six inches high, now belongs to the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Connecticut. It was found about sixty years ago in a ditch in Stamford by a youth, now a retired policeman, who throughout his life wondered about the Society of Colonial Wars inscription on the front and the hallmark of Black, Star and Frost (a once prominent New York jewelry firm) on the rear. He finally found our Society via the internet and negotiated our purchase of it.
Some preliminary research suggests it may have been a souvenir once distributed by one of the state Societies, possibly in the early 1900's. Anyone with more specific knowledge of its history is encouraged to contact us.
Objectives of the Society
The Society of Colonial Wars is instituted to perpetuate the memory of events in American Colonial History, and of the men who, in military and naval service, and in civil positions of trust and responsibility, by their acts or counsels assisted in the establishment, defense, and preservation of the American Colonies, and who were, in truth, the founders of the Nation.
To this end it seeks to collect and preserve manuscripts, rolls, relics, and records; to hold suitable commemorations and to erect memorials of events in colonial history; and to inspire in its members the fraternal and patriotic spirit of their forefathers, and to inspire in the community, respect and reverence for those whose public services made our freedom and unity possible.
Activities of the Society
The Connecticut Society holds formal (black tie) Courts in Winter (stag) and Spring (with ladies and guests), alternating at private clubs in New Haven or Hartford, with a speaker on an appropriate subject. Informal lunches are held every month at the Graduate Club in New Haven. Members of the Council (the governing body) meet in March and September. Members participate in an annual fall Massing of the Colors of all Connecticut hereditary societies, in the annual convention of the General Society held at various locations throughout the country, and in occasional field trips.
Past Governors of the Connecticut Society
|Daniel Cady Eaton||1893 - 1895||James Junius Goodwin||1895 - 1901|
|Frederick John Kingsbury||1901 - 1903||Theodore Salisbury Woolsey||1903 - 1906|
|Charles Edward Gross||1906 - 1908||Morris Beach Beardsley||1908 - 1910|
|Louis Richmond Cheney||1910 - 1912||Arthur Red Kimball||1912 - 1914|
|Charles Frederick Brooker||1914 - 1916||John Hoyt Perry||1916 - 1918|
|Williston Walker||1918 - 1920||Frederick John Kingsbury||1920 - 1922|
|Frank Bentley Weeks||1922 - 1924||Edward Rupert Sargent||1924 - 1926|
|Russell Frost||1926 - 1928||Elijah Kent Hubbard||1928 - 1930|
|John Prince Elton||1930 - 1932||Arthur Leffingwell Shipman||1932 - 1934|
|George Jarvis Bassett||1934 - 1936||Grosvenor Ely||1936 - 1938|
|James Lukens McConaughy||1938 - 1939||Henry Stuart Hotchkiss||1939 - 1941|
|William Brownell Goodwin||1941 - 1943||Edgar Francis Waterman||1943 - 1945|
|James William Hook||1945 - 1947||Samuel Herbert Fisher||1947 - 1949|
|Edwin Canfield Northrup||1949 - 1951||Thomas Wright Russell||1951 - 1952|
|George Harold Welch||1952 - 1954||Charles Brooker Cheney||1954 - 1956|
|Edward Ingraham II||1956 - 1958||Vincent Brown Coffin||1958 - 1960|
|Henry Merriman||1960 - 1962||Graham Richards Treadway||1962 - 1964|
|Norman Bryant||1964 - 1966||Howard Emerson Coe||1966 - 1968|
|Edward Gabriel Armstrong||1968 - 1970||Percy Hamilton Goodsell||1970 - 1972|
|Alton Austin Cheney||1972 - 1974||Frederic Staples Hoffer Jr.||1974 - 1976|
|Edwin Pugsley, Jr.||1976 - 1978||Stuart Trowbridge Hotchkiss||1978 - 1980|
|Nicholas Niles, Jr.||1980 - 1982||David Willard Pennock Jewitt||1982 - 1984|
|Philip Yale Reinhart||1984 - 1986||Floyd Mallory Shumway||1986 - 1988|
|Douglas Scranton Hesley Anderson||1988 - 1990||Shepherd Monson Holcombe||1990 - 1992|
|Timothy Field Beard||1992 - 1994||Rhodes Blish, Jr.||1994 - 1996|
|John Moffat Sargent||1996 - 1998||Peter Middleton Moffitt||1998 - 2000|
|Sigourney Fay Nininger, Jr.||2000 - 2002||John Walter Cross III||2002 - 2004|
|Garrison Fairfield Lane||2004 - 2006||Robert Warren Storm||2006 - 2008|
|Kelly Loyd Stewart||2008 - 2010||Richard Franklin Tombaugh||2010 - 2012|