Society of the Cincinnati Celebrates Independence Day and George Washington in Newport


Jonathan Woods, President General of The Society of the Cincinnati, with Elizabeth and Earl McMillen

George Washington probably did not sleep at The Redwood Library & Athenaeum, but he visited, and was impressed enough with its rusticated exterior to incorporate its technique into changes at Mount Vernon. Washington was  the first President General of The Society of the Cincinnati, serving from 1783 until his death in 1799.  Society members met at The Redwood Library on the eve of the Fourth of July, and honored General Washington  by laying a wreath at his statue.

Benedict Leca, Executive Director of the Redwood Library, taking a photo of the speaker

The Society of the Cincinnati, the oldest lineage society in the US, was created on July 3,  1783, which  was also the day that George Washington took command of the Continental Army at Cambridge, Massachusetts.It is open to qualified male descendants of officers of the Continental Army and Navy and their French counterparts during the Revolutionary War.

Donald O. Ross (l.)

The nation's oldest patriotic organization, founded in 1783, took its name from the ancient Roman Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, a hero of the Roman Republic. In the fifth century B,C,, Cincinnatus led the republic's army against foreign invaders and, after their victory, returned power to the Senate and refused rewards for his service. He became the embodiment of civic virtue both in the classical world and eighteenth-century America. The founders of the Society referred to themselves as Cincinnati—a plural form of the name Cincinnatus—to indicate their commitment to the virtues of the Roman hero.

Toby Field listens to comments by Jonathan Woods

Today, the Society it is a nonprofit historical and educational organization, headquartered in Washington, D.C.,  that promotes an appreciation for the achievement of American independence through library, museum, and educational programs and other efforts.
Earl McMillen III of the Virginia chapter proposed the July 3 gathering, and it was formally hosted by The Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Rhode Island and was open to members of all the state societies, particularly members who summer in New England in honor of the day that General Washington took command of the Continental Army, July 3, 1775, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Members of The Society of the Cincinnati

Attending were Newport's Earl McMillen III, Toby Field, Emlen Drayton, Donald O. Ross, Dick Brickley, Guillaume de Ramel, Brendan Kelly, Ronald Lee Fleming, Brian Owens, Frank Mauran III, current President of the Society, many others,  and several lady guests.

                                                                                 -- L.P.

Contributed photos


For information on the Society of the Cincinnati, go to

Frank Mauran IV, President of the Rhode Island chapter, laying the wreath at the statue of General Washington


Earl & Elizabeth McMillen with Frank Mauran III. former President General of the Cincinnati












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