The Matthews Monument at Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Monday, June 11, 2012

Patriotism Never Dies

A brief look at the POS of A, SV, SAR, DAR and other auxiliaries:

I think it’s safe to say that most Americans are patriotic most of the time.  Part of it probably has to do with the improbable, destined-to-fail and yet ultimately successful beginning of the country with a government “by the people.”  Who doesn’t love an underdog that defeats a big, bad bully by overcoming nearly impossible odds and goes on to create a revolutionary type of government that, even with all of its faults, flaws and fiascos, continues to serve as an example of “a way to do it best”?? 

The 19th century saw the inception of several organizations that celebrated American patriotism and the birth of the country.  Even the near destruction of that country in the 1860’s didn’t stop the creation of fraternal societies dedicated to preserving the history of the United States of America; in fact, the Civil War spurred the beginning of more groups.

Patriotic Order, Sons of America

Dr. Reynell Coates founded the Patriotic Order, United Sons of America in 1847 in Philadelphia.  The group held similar views as the Know-Nothing Party that was anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic.  This time in America saw a dramatic influx of Irish immigrants to the United States, which was partly due to the Potato Famine that took place between 1845 and 1852 in Ireland.  The reception Irish immigrants received in America at that time was less than cordial, as the “native born Americans” felt the immigrants would take away jobs and work for lower wages.  (Sound familiar?  It’s been repeated over and over with successive groups of immigrants, and continues today.)   

Dr. Coates and the Patriotic Order, United Sons of America also started a junior order for white boys, ages 16-21.  There were two ladies’ auxiliaries called Daughters of America** and Patriotic Order of America.  After the Civil War, the order reorganized, disbanding the junior fraternity and renaming the order Patriotic Order, Sons of America.  Chapters or “camps” as they were called began to organize in earnest, and at one point in the 1930’s, Pennsylvania by itself boasted more than 900 camps.  The POS of A was instrumental in preserving Washington’s headquarters at Valley Forge, PA, and they are still active in some parts of Pennsylvania today, although their numbers have decreased.  (**Note:  the Organization of United American Mechanics (OUAM) also had a ladies auxiliary called Daughters of America.  I present these pictures of D of A markers, but admit I do not know if they are OUAM or POS of A auxiliary members.)

Canadensis United Methodist Cemetery, Canadensis, PA

Centreville Cemetery, Stone Church, PA

Christ Covenant Cemetery, Harleysville, PA

Church Hill Cemetery, Martin's Creek, PA

Immanuel Leidy's Cemetery, Souderton, PA

Immanuel Leidy's Cemetery, Souderton, PA

Stroudsburg Cemetery, Stroudsburg, PA

Stroudsburg Cemetery, Stroudsburg, PA

Madisonville Union Cemetery, Madisonville, PA

Analomink Methodist Cemetery, Analomink, PA

Analomink Methodist Cemetery, Analomink, PA
Analomink Methodist Cemetery, Analomink, PA

Bristol Cemetery, Bristol, PA

Brookdale Cemetery, Carbondale, PA

Grace UCC Cemetery, Tannersville, PA

Grace UCC Cemetery, Tannersville, PA

Newton Cemetery, Newton Ransom, PA

Newton Cemetery, Newton Ransom, PA

Pine Grove Cemetery, Thornhurst, PA

Prospect Cemetery, Stroudsburg, PA

St. Thomas Whitemarsh Cemetery, Fort Washington, PA

PO of A Ladies Aux, Bristol Cemetery, Bristol, PA

PO of A Ladies Aux, Cosner Cemetery, Newton Ransom, PA

PO of A Ladies Aux, Lake Winola Cemetery, Lake Winola, PA

PO of A Ladies Aux, Prospect Cemetery, Stroudsburg, PA

D of A Ladies Aux, Fairview Cemetery, Lake Winola, PA
D of A Ladies Aux, Archbald Cemetery, Archbald, PA

D of A Ladies Aux, Sunnyside Cemetery, Tunkhannock, PA

D of A Ladies Aux, Clifford Cemetery, Clifford, PA

Post Hill Cemetery, Falls, PA

Daleville Cemetery, Daleville, PA

Dalton Shoemaker Cemetery, Dalton, PA

Indian Orchard Cemetery, Indian Orchard, PA

Sons of Union Veterans, Daughters of Union Veterans

In the 1860’s, the Civil War nearly ripped the United States apart.  After the war in the North, Union veterans organized the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a fraternal organization that was a social and political force that protected and served its members for decades.  Of course, since the GAR membership was limited to only men who had served in the Union military during the Civil War, eventually that membership would cease to exist.  (And has; the last Union veteran died in 1956.)  Twenty years after the start of the Civil War, the sons of the men who fought to preserve the Union joined their own fraternal organization called Sons of Veterans (SV).  The SV was organized by Major Augustus Davis in 1881 in Pittsburgh, and Davis originally wanted the organization to serve as a military reserve to be called upon in times of war.  That didn’t happen, but the SV was mighty for a time, eventually absorbing several other "sons of Civil War veterans" fraternities.  Membership was open to any man who could prove ancestry to a Union veteran, and by 1890, there were more than 145,000 members.  In 1925, the name was changed to the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW).

Today, membership numbers less than 7,000, and the headquarters are in the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA.  There are four ladies’ auxiliaries:  Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic, Woman's Relief Corps, Auxiliary to the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War.  The latter (DUVCW) was started in 1885 in Ohio by four women, first called the National Alliance Daughters of Veterans, and they still exist.  Membership is open to any female who can prove descent from a Union veteran, and I qualify, if I can get all of the paperwork together to show my descent from Great-Great-Great-Grandpa John Koken.  In my spare time.  :)

D of UV, Montrose Cemetery, PA
WRC, Sandy Bank Cemetery, Spencers Corner, PA
SV, East Bangor Cemetery, East Bangor, PA

SV, East Bangor Cemetery, East Bangor, PA

SV, Fairview Cemetery, Lake Winola, PA

SV, Hickory Grove Cemetery, Waverly, PA

SV, Hickory Grove Cemetery, Waverly, PA

SV, Lansdale Cemetery, Lansdale, PA

Newtown Cemetery, Newtown, PA

Pleasantville UCC Cemetery, Pleasantville, PA

Sons of the American Revolution, Daughters of the American Revolution

Patriotic fervor increased greatly with the 1876 centennial celebration of the start of the American Revolutionary War.  Several years later, in 1889, 100 years after Washington took the first presidential oath of office, the Sons of the American Revolution was organized by William Osborn McDowell in New York.  The purpose of the organization was to serve as a fraternal and civic society composed of lineal descendants of the men who wintered at Valley Forge, signed the Declaration of Independence, fought in the battles of the American Revolution, served in the Continental Congress, or otherwise supported the cause of American Independence.  In 1890, the SAR voted to not allow women in their organization.  

In response to this exclusivity, Mary Smith Lockwood wrote an editorial to the Washington Post, demanding to know “Were there no mothers of the Revolution?!”  William Osborn McDowell had disagreed with the no-women policy of the SAR that he had started only one year ago, and he helped Lockwood and three other women—Mary Desha, Ellen Walworth, and Eugenia Washington—start the Daughters of the American Revolution on October 11, 1890 in Washington, D.C.   Caroline Scott Harrison, the First Lady and wife of President Benjamin Harrison, served as the first president.  Membership is open to any female 18 years or older who can prove lineage from a patriot of the American Revolution, and today, the DAR is 170,000 strong.  Isn’t it interesting that the organization created because women couldn’t join the men’s club is the one that is still thriving today?  I believe I could claim membership to the DAR through my great-great-great grandmother, Susanna Felker Doll Possinger, and her male ancestors, but again, in my spare time.  

It is heartening that these organizations still exist today, after 150-ish years.  Patriotism is an important part of citizenship, even if at times, a citizen disagrees with current government.  The nice thing about being a citizen in America is that you CAN disagree and even do something about it (like vote).  And if that doesn’t make you feel patriotic, emigrate.  :)  Happy Flag Day (June 14th)!!

SAR, Hays Cemetery, Easton, PA

SAR, Hickory Grove Cemetery, Waverly, PA

SAR, Indian Creek Christ Reformed Cemetery, Indian Valley, PA

SAR, Paupack Cemetery, Paupack, PA

SAR, Plainfield Cemetery, Plainfield Twp., PA

SAR, Scott Valley Cemetery, Montdale, PA

SAR, St. Luke Evan. Lutheran Cemetery, Ferndale, PA

SAR, Sunnyside Cemetery, Tunkhannock, PA
DAR, Cold Spring Presbyterian Cemetery, Cold Spring, NJ
DAR, Forks Cemetery, Stockertown, PA

DAR, Hickory Grove Cemetery, Waverly, PA

DAR, Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Pleasant Valley, PA

A Real Daughter of the DAR, meaning her father fought in the Revolutionary War, Prospect Hill Cemetery, Peckville, PA

Another Real Daughter of the DAR, Stroudsburg Cemetery, Stroudsburg, PA

DAR, Montgomery Baptist Cemetery, Montgomeryville, PA

DAR, Union Dale Cemetery, Union Dale, PA
Sons of the Revolution, a fraternal organization started before the SAR in New York in 1876 by John Austin Stevens.  William O. McDowell objected to their requirement that all subsequent chapters would be subordinate to the New York one.  This is found in Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA.  The SR Color Guard was an organization within the SR organization, started in 1914 to care for the colors, flags and standards of the Sons of the Revolution.  The SR still exists, also, though its membership was smaller than the SAR.  Confused yet??!!

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