121st Annual Court of the Society of Colonial Wars, State of New Jersey, Princeton

“Colonies do not cease to be colonies because they are independent!”  Benjamin Disraeli

“We lost the American colonies because we lacked the statesmanship to know the right time and the manner of yielding what is impossible to keep.”  Queen Elizabeth II


John Bartram at The Society of Colonial Wars. I feel underdressed for this brilliant occasion.

While not as old as I profess, and younger than many other similar organizations, this association was founded in New York in 1892 for the purpose of furthering the interest in, and study of, America’s colonial history for the period between the settlement of Jamestown, Virginia on May 13, 1607 and the battle of Lexington on April 19, 1775.


Age was no barrier to membership or acceptance. Obviously. Although not as well dressed, I was certainly the oldest person present.

The members of the Society are male descendants of those in military, naval and civil positions of high trust and responsibility whose acts and counsel assisted in the establishment, defense and growth of the American Colonies.


Many medals. Much history. Beautiful stories. Society of Colonial Wars.

And they invited me to speak to them. I don’t know that I’d actually qualify for membership. Perhaps as a result of founding the American Philosophical Society with Benjamin Franklin…?


Friendly faces greeted me. But I didn’t get to discover the meaning of the order around his neck.

It was a brilliant night. After the Call to Order, there was significant toasting to (and in order…) the President of the United States, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, The Armed Forces of the United States of America and Its Allies, The General Society of Colonial Wars, Absent Friends, and finally: to the Ladies. There were remarks by the Governor General, The Presentation of Awards, and a Ceremony of the Broken Arrow.


Orders were both religious and military, diplomatic and royal. The symbolism and the heraldry, although a complete mystery to me, were evident and explained by many in the convocation.

I felt underdressed in the crush of white-tied dignitaries, flash of military orders and political bands, and sparkle of the formally gowned wives. The evening was overwhelming.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: