A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Accession Number 26102
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Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Virginia, Records, 1778-1941. Accession 26102, Organization Records Collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.
This collection is on deposit from the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Virginia at The Library of Virginia from circa 1935-1940.
Henry Lee, Membership certificate, 10 October 1785, Accession 20007a
Society of the Cincinnati, Papers, 1783-1861, Accession 24646
George Washington, Letter, 24 October 1783, Accession 21875
Treasurer's Office Inventory, entry no. 54, Special funds receipt ledger, 1823-1844, State Records Collection, TOI 54
The Society of the Cincinnati was formed on 10-13 May 1783 by American Revolutionary Army officers who met at Mount Gulian, the American Army's cantonment on the east bank of the Hudson River. After resigning his post as General, George Washington (1732-1799) accepted an invitation to become the society's first president. Major General Henry Knox (1750-1806) was the secretary and for years the guiding spirit of the organization. Membership extended to those officers of the Continental Army and Navy who had served to the end of the war or had resigned with honor after three years of service and to those who had been rendered supernumerary because of regimental reorganization by Congress. In addition, the institution provided that officers who had died in service could be represented in the Society by their eldest male descendants. The society was named in honor of Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus, who after a distinguished military career in the service of the Roman republic, had returned to civilian life. The Society of the Cincinnati was the first patriotic society organized in the United States. Today the Society is a not-for-profit organization supporting educational, cultural, and literary activities that promote the ideals of liberty and constitutional government.
Within a year constituent societies were established in the thirteen states and in France by officers and members of the general society. Officers established the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Virginia on 6 October 1783 in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Members selected Brigadier General George Weedon of Westmoreland County as their president pro tem at the first meeting; he later served several more terms as society president. They also chose Horatio Gates as the permanent society president at the initial meeting. Members adopted the general society's articles of institution or charter and pledged to send five members to the national convention the following May. Notable members at the first meeting were Edward Carrington, William Heth, James Wood, and Henry Lee. The hereditary principle embraced by other state societies was abandoned by the Virginia society. Accordingly the Virginia society dissolved in 1824 after most of the original members had died. Pension funds were transferred to the state treasury and disbursed by the state treasurer. The Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Virginia was reformed in the 1890's by descendants of the original members.
Records, 1778-1941 (bulk 1783-1848), of the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Virginia consisting of correspondence including letters and circular letters, membership certificates, a membership roster, military commissions, minutes including a minute book and printed proceedings, muster rolls, publications, and financial reports. The collection material principally concerns society functions and membership spanning the formative years of the society in the 1780's until its last meeting in 1824. There is also material concerning the disbursement of pension funds following the last meeting of the society in 1824 and correspondence with society president Edgar Erskine Hume (1889-1952).
The collection is organized into the following four
Series I: Correspondence, 1783-1941 (bulk 1783-1808)
Series II: Membership files, 1778-1806
Series III: Minutes, 1783-1810
Series IV: Treasurer's Papers and Reports, 1786-1848
Volume, 1783-1824, of the proceedings of the Virginia State Society of the Cincinnati containing minutes, accounts, correspondence, resolutions, other papers concerning the Society in Virginia.
Contains letters, circular letters, and associated minutes and proceedings, principally exchanged between the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Virginia leaders and members, the general Society of the Cincinnati, and the various state branches of the society. Sent with some of the correspondence are documents forwarded to the Virginia society by the general society or provided by Virginia society delegates to the annual convention. These include a written proposal for the establishment of the general society, printed proceedings of the annual convention of the general society in Philadelphia in 1784, 1787, 1790-1791. Minutes and circular letters were also sent from state branches to the Virginia society. Letters from members in reference to pensions and concerning the appropriation of funds for Washington Academy and Washington College also are included herein. Also contains correspondence sent to Edgar Erskine Hume from various dignitaries including Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John J. Pershing, and John Rockefeller, Jr. Notable society member correspondents include Alexander Balmain, Edward Carrington, Samuel Coleman, William Heth, Henry Knox, George Weedon, James Wood, and his wife Jean Wood.
reel 6026Proposal for the establishment of the Society of the Cincinnati, 10-13 May 1783
reel 6026Correspondence with the general society by the Virginia society, 1783-1799
reel 6026Other state societies' letters and minutes, 1783-1799
reel 6026Miscellaneous correspondence, 1783-1808
reel 6026Circular letters from the general society to the Virginia society, 1786-1808
reel 6026Printed proceedings of the Philadelphia general meeting, 1787
reel 6026Printed proceedings of the Philadelphia general meetings, 1790-1791
reel 6026Letters in reference to pensions, 1791-1808
reel 6026Letters concerning the Washington Academy/College Fund, 1803
reel 6026Letters to Edgar Erskine Hume, 1941
There are applications for membership, letters concerning members, military commissions concerning members, muster rolls and rosters containing the names of Virginia society members, and a membership roster, 1785. There is also a membership certificate issued to Andrew Waggoner by the society.
reel 6027Roster, 11 September 1778, of the officers of the 11th Regiment, Virginia Militia
reel 6027Applications for membership, 1783-1791
reel 6027Commission, 10 October 1783, issued to Charles Scott
reel 6027Membership certificate, 1 March 1787, issued to Andrew Waggoner
reel 6027Muster roll, 7 October 1806, of the officers of the 2nd Regiment, Virginia Militia
Comprises minutes and miscellaneous resolves from meetings of the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Virginia.
reel 6027Loose minutes of the Virginia society, 1783-1810
reel 6027Miscellaneous resolves of the Virginia society, 1786-1788
reel 6027Minutes, 13 December 1802
Includes papers and reports concerning society finances and pension allotments during the early years of the organization. Treasurer's papers, 1829-1848 principally comprise orders and notices, 1829-1848, issued by Lawson Burfoot and Fabius M. Lawson (1805-1857), Virginia State Treasurers and trustees for the Society of Cincinnati pension fund, noting pension payments due to members and deceased members' families. Treasurer's reports, 1786-1802, are a) an abstract, 1791-1802, of disbursements for charitable purposes made by the society; b) a statement of interest recuperated from loans, 1792-1802; c) an abstract, 1786-1791, of military certificates purchased by the society; d) an abstract of delinquent members; and e) a report, 1802, examining the treasurer's report previously issued by William Heth (in printed and written form).
reel 6027Treasurer's reports, 1786-1802
reel 6027Treasurer's papers, 1828-1848