The Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Connecticut

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 - 2014
Jonathan Knight Bitting 2014 - 2018 Michael Downes Lynch 2018 -