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Sons of the American Revolution: My First Meeting

Updated on September 21, 2015

The Pledge

I had been invited to attend a meeting of the Sons of the American Revolution a couple of weeks ago by the current president. I had called him to inquire how best to proceed with "proving out" my lineage and set the stage to make my children members of the SAR and DAR. I was to attend the meeting then meet with the club genealogist afterwards to learn a few tips on the search. I was told to come early and eat at the restaurant prior to the meeting, so I did just that. The restaurant was one out of the past where a nicely filled buffet awaited your choices, walking along and choosing what your desire of the day was. Is your desire fried chicken? It is here. How about roast beef? A mountain of roast beef, drippings oozing down the side awaited a razor sharp knife. Personally I was in the mood for a chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes with cream gravy across the top of both, with a side of green beans with bacon. Top that off with a sweet tea and I was set.

I arrived in the room set aside for the meeting and was immediately met by a kindly man whose name now escapes me. To tell the truth, I do not recall many names from the meeting for there were far too many to try to set in my mind. Everyone was quite cordial and polite in their inquiries as to who I was and then welcoming me to my first meeting. As I seated myself I was made welcome once more by a gentleman seated behind me who was attending his first meeting as well. And while I was a newby to this arena he was anything but. In fact, he was a professional genealogist by trade and made me aware that he would be happy to help me in my search. I quickly thanked him and tucked away his card for the immediate future (I have already contacted him).

More people entered and seated themselves and soon it was time for the meeting. We all stood and stated the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. This is always a good feeling for me as I never just say the words; rather I think on each and every word, and what they mean to me. I always finish with a warm glow in my chest.

Then it was time for a new pledge, one I had never partaken in. As I read the words and uttered them, another feeling came over me. A feeling that somehow connected me to the time almost 250 years ago when our nation was but a fledgling, struggling to survive and not yet prosperous by any means.

"We descendants of the heroes of the American Revolution who, by their sacrifices, established the United States of America, reaffirm our faith in the principles of liberty and our Constitutional Republic, and solemnly pledge ourselves to defend them against any foe."

Read those words once more; think on them. They are as powerful to me now as those of the Pledge of Allegiance for they bind me to a past I was unaware of a short time ago. A time gone but not forgotten, and one that will carry forth in my children if I am able to successfully prove my history.

I hope you took a few moments to watch the video above of Red Skelton reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. If not, please go back and view it. I'll wait.


What did you think as you watched and listened to that wonderful explanation of the Pledge? Did your heart swell with pride? If not, why? How can one not be moved to the point of tears listening to that portrayal of these words? Please understand now that while speaking the pledge to the SAR I felt the same pride, the same incredible glow I feel when reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. I was incredibly humbled to be there, speaking those words. The feeling that went along with the simple words far exceeded the few letters contained on the small card that was handed to me as I entered.

To a degree I felt like an outsider; one who did not belong. In part because I have not yet proven my ancestry and made the connection but also due to who I was seated with. Each and every one of the gentlemen participating on this day were former comrades in arms in one form or another. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine, possibly even Coast Guard; veterans one and all as far as I could determine. I was proud to be a part of this assemblage, yet did not feel I had earned my way here.

The genealogist for the chapter is a retired full bird Colonel who served our country for many years. For the past thirty years he has overseen the new "recruits" into the chapter and is said to have an exemplary record of making sure every "t" is crossed and every "i" is dotted. Rare indeed is the submission returned to him for correction or verification.

He sat with me afterwards and laid out the direction I need to follow in order to join the chapter. It is in depth indeed, as every generation requires a combination of birth, death, marriage records along with census, pension, service, and even wills and land warrant records. It may seem easy to gain some of these for one's self and parent, but try getting back a bit further, back into the mid 1800's and beyond. The search can become trying to the point of becoming obsessive.

Sons of the American Revolution
Sons of the American Revolution | Source

But the search can lead to other, unsuspected information. Such as one record I came across while searching that lists every single man in the 6th Regiment under the control of my (hoped for) ancestor. I am able to see their name, their pay, what they did for each month of service in the 1770's while creating and defending our new country. A nugget of information here: what do you think a Colonel in the Revolutionary Army was paid? Ready? $50.00 per month initially before he received a raise to $75.00 per month. In addition he received $50.00 per month for food. So $125.00 per month to serve our nation that was not yet a nation.

I also dug a bit deeper on one line and came up with a copy of a record book detailing marriages. A set of my ancestors were married in 1604 and after printing off a copy I was able to hold in my hand that information. Something that took place over 400 years ago is legible and available to me today. That is amazing to my simple mind.

But back to my search: I have my birth certificate and can lay my hands on one for my father. From there, I can get copies of census records detailing the years from his father back to the mid 1800's. Then I have the Colonel in the Revolution, his son and grandson. These are rock solid facts. But the middle...

The middle. This is where I am running into difficulty. I know that each name is tied to the other but providing documentation is proving to be difficult. Every site I have gone to alludes to the lineage but having that hard and fast proof is a bit more than I can find as of yet. If I run into the brick wall I do have other names to pursue but I really want this one to prove out. In part for my children but also for my father and his brothers. You see, their family history has always been difficult to follow and if this was to be true and verifiable it just might bring a smile to their faces.

As I have entered into these waters, striving to learn more about my history I have also started reading a book I have enjoyed before. Titled "Legacy" it was authored by one of my favorite authors James A. Michener. It is perhaps the shortest book of his I have read but the content is powerful. Set in the 1980's and the Iran/Contra debacle involving Oliver North it details a fictitious person who is also being investigated. This person was involved with the Contra aspect but always was under orders. As he is preparing to defend his honor we are introduced to his ancestors, those brave unselfish men who came before him. One who assisted in the creation of our country; one who worked behind the scenes to create our Government; and others, a total of seven generations of greatness leading to the (then) current generation on trial. It is a spellbinding read, one worthy of your time to peruse it. And perhaps to remind us of where we came from and what we should be thinking about in today's world.

After the meeting was completed and the gentlemen were making their way out of the room, I thought to myself how amazing it felt to possibly become a part of such an august group of individuals who represent our nation's founding moments. I have always enjoyed history and in particular our nation's history. From the dawning moments of America to the attempt to find a water route across the continent to the mountain men to the Civil War, each and every time period has intrigued me. And now, with this group I might be able to do more than simply explore, read, research a period as important as this, but I could actually belong. I, my wife, my children; then theirs and their grandchildren and so on down the line.

Humbling.

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    • FitnezzJim profile image

      FitnezzJim 20 months ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

      Do the records at the National Archives help? Did they put something on line a few years back?

      Or are you using those sources already?

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Humbling for sure. Thanks for sharing the experience with us, Mike. I'm adopted, so my family tree begins and ends with me. :) Not really a tree..more like a straggly bush. :)

      blessings always

      bill

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 20 months ago from Missouri

      Jim, I am learning to use these but thus far have not made much of an inroad. Eventually I will but who knows? Thanks for stopping and commenting.

      Bill, I never realized you were adopted; I always thought that the way you spoke of your father meant he was your blood father. It just never registered. Do you know anything of your birth parents? Names, anything? Please take care my friend and have a truly wonderful day.

      Have to add that at work this morning we were set for an outside entity to come in and do some work for us. The person asked my last name and where my family was from. I didn't think we were related until I learned that her Great Grandfather is MY Great Grandfather! Not only that but she is into the genealogy game as well and has info that will help me on my quest to prove out the line I spoke of above! It's a chance meeting that turns out to be unbelievably beneficial to my search. I think somebody up there likes me!

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 20 months ago from Oklahoma

      Interesting research.

    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 20 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Tracing your family tree can be very, very fulfilling. I hope you keep it up and reach your goals. I've written extensively on the processes, many are here at hub pages under my drbillsmithwriter account... also, my drbilltellsancestorstories at blogspot. Happy to be an independent sounding board, if you ever feel the need. Good for you, Mike. Involve your children, early on, and they'll enjoy the work, all their lives, as well! ;-)

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 20 months ago from Missouri

      Larry, it is interesting and can become obsessive at times. But oh the history!! Thanks Larry. Take care!

      Dr. Bill, as I sat down at the meeting I was in hopes of seeing you there. The chapter's genealogist's name is Will, and I thought maybe, perhaps, possibly it just might be you! But alas, 'twas not. I have read some of your works but now know I need to delve much deeper into what you have to offer. And look out, I just might take you up on being that sounding board! Thank you so much for the offer, and you have a wonderful day today. It looks to be beautiful around the Ozarks for the next few days!!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 20 months ago from Central Florida

      What an honor it is to be invited to join the SAR, Mike! If I recall, you started researching your family a while back, didn't you? I'm sure the genealogist will be of tremendous help. I really hope you can lay your hands on the documents that are hanging you up.

      I can only imagine the thrill you experienced when holding documents that verify your heritage. I can almost hear the voices of the men and women they represent.

      This is fascinating. I hope you keep us posted on your progress. Your pride beams through your words. It feels wonderful.

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 20 months ago from Missouri

      Cheyenne, yes I have been working on it for a while but the ante has been upped now that I have an official Ancestry membership. I am looking forward to finding the documents to help prove out the line, but also just to learn what I can about my family history. And Tina's. Heck, she's got Meriwether Lewis in her blood for crying out loud! How cool is that?!

      Long term, I want to create a book (of sorts) for my children and maybe anyone else who might be interested. Dr. Bill here on Hubpages has a book out on how to turn your family history into a book and I will be picking that up shortly. But for now, it's back to the archives and see what I can turn up. Whatever it is, I look forward to sharing it here. Please take care, Cheyenne. Stay safe and thank you for your interest.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 20 months ago from Central Florida

      That's an awesome idea, Mike. Creating a book to pass down to future generations is one helluva legacy!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 20 months ago from New York

      My mother-in-law was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and so by default are my children. We have some of the information and some pictures but haven't taken the time to verify things.

      It must have been moving to be with these men and find the devotion and national pride. Good luck with your journey.

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 20 months ago from Missouri

      Cheyenne, I just hope I am up to the task!

      Mary, It was extremely moving to be in the presence of these gentlemen. They exuded the quiet pride in a job well done and I felt honored to stand among them. Thank you.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 20 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      This must be so thrilling for you. I went to school with someone that was in the DAR. I never really knew what it entailed, but due to your article, I see that not everyone can be a part of this exclusive organization. I am second generation, so I could never be a part of this, as I knew that some of the family never went to war back then.

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 20 months ago from Missouri

      Deb, thank you for your comment. You might look into your past anyway as there are many opportunities there for someone to have been either in the Civil War, Revolutionary War, War of 1812, or the French and Indian War. I know that both the Revolutionary and Civil War have groups that meet and that you can belong to. Give it a shot! It's fun and exciting looking backward once in a while. And unless all of your ancestors are recent Americans there is probably someone who has been here a lot longer. Take care and good luck!

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