Born in 1783 and regenerated in 1896, the North Carolina Society of the Cincinnati has a long and storied heritage that is briefly recounted here for those who wish to become acquainted with the Society’s background.
The North Carolina Society was the eleventh constituent society to organize. Sixty former officers of the North Carolina Continental Line gathered for their first meeting in Hillsborough on October 23, 1783.
Despite post-war financial hardships and difficulties in travel and communication, the original members of the North Carolina Society met regularly for the first several years. Members gathered and hosted events to honor President George Washington during his southern tour in 1791, but after that year the North Carolina Society ceased its formal meetings.
Now headquartered in Raleigh, the North Carolina Society of the Cincinnati is one of thirteen such Societies organized in the closing days of the Revolutionary War by officers of the American army. Descendants of the original members reorganized the North Carolina Society in 1896, and it was readmitted to the General Society in 1902.
A fuller history is available in Curtis Carroll Davis’s Revolution’s Godchild: The Birth, Death, and Regeneration of the Society of the Cincinnati in North Carolina (Chapel Hill, NC, 1976).
Founded in Hillsborough, N. C. on 23 October 1783, and now headquartered in Raleigh, the North Carolina Society of the Cincinnati is one of thirteen such Societies organized in the closing days of the Revolutionary War by officers of the American army, whose descendants constitute the present membership. In addition to Societies in each of the original thirteen colonies, a fourteenth Society subsequently was organized in France. The Society is named for Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, the legendary hero who laid down his plow to lead the army of Rome to victory and then, like George Washington, surrendered command and returned to his farm. President Washington was the first President General of the overall Society.
As the nation’s oldest hereditary military organization, the mission of the Society of the Cincinnati is to perpetuate the ideals of those patriots who, risking their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor in the struggle for independence, gave birth to the United States of America.
The Society seeks to fulfill this mission through its financial support of a wide variety of historical publications, preservation efforts and educational projects relating to the Revolutionary War era. These include the distribution of the Society’s educational film “First in Victory, First for Independence: North Carolina’s Role in the American Revolution.”