Preamble to the Bylaws of the Order:
Three Civil Wars have had a decisive influence on the United States: (1) the Cavalier and Roundhead Conflict, (2) the American Revolution, and (3) the War Between the States. Only rarely has the American Revolution been recognized as a Civil War. More than the other two Civil Wars, the American Revolution was a time of divided loyalties.
The venerable John Adams noted that on the eve of the American Revolution, only one-third of the colonists were Patriots. Two-thirds were either active Tories or Loyalists, or were neutral. We believe that without knowledge of the lives, motivations, and ideals of these two-thirds of the American colonists who were not Patriots, a clear understanding of the American Revolution is impossible.
Largely because of the excellent work of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and the Military Order of the Stars and Bars, all Americans have a better comprehension of the Southern point of view. Who, however, really knows much about the Cavalier or the Tory? Without a devoted effort by an interested group, a cause becomes “lost,” not only in the sense of suffering defeat, but even more so in the sense of being unknown.
On the eve of the l00th anniversary of the American Revolution, we believe there is too great an ignorance of loyalism. Our Order is being formed to supply at least some small knowledge of its principles and achievements. Each Full Member must furnish not only proof of direct or collateral descent from a Loyalist, but also must furnish evidence of his current membership in an organization requiring descent from an American Patriot. When we consider that one-third of the colonists were Loyalists, that persons in the seventh generation from their Revolutionary forebears have 64 direct ancestors, and that our Order will admit as members persons with only a collateral descent from Loyalists, we believe a large proportion of the present members of the various hereditary and patriotic societies will be eligible for membership in this Order.
By our study of Loyalism during the American Revolution, we by no means intend to detract, however minutely, from the matchless glory which belongs to the Revolutionary Patriot. History has placed that beyond cavil. By subscribing to these by-laws, each of our members attests to his personal belief that the American Revolution stands second to none among the outstanding beneficial phenomena in the history of Western Civilization.
At the time of the centennial of the American Revolution, the Sons of the American Revolution was organized to commemorate the services of the Patriots of that Revolution and the Canadians began organizational efforts for the United Empires Loyalist’s Association, designed to commemorate the efforts of their forefathers to maintain the unity of the Empire and in recognition of the sacrifice made by them in founding Canada as a British Community. Not until almost a century later was there any organization in the United States commemorating Loyalists ancestors.
On 18 Sep 1973, at the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC, a group of members of various hereditary societies, each requiring as an eligible propositus an ancestor who served on the Patriot side during the American Revolution, met and formally organized “The Hereditary Order of Descendants of the Loyalists and Patriots of the American Revolution”. As stated in the bylaws, “We believe that without a knowledge of the lives and motivations and ideals of these two-thirds of the American Colonists who were not Patriots, a clear understanding of the American Revolution is impossible.”
Our Founding Governor General, the late Colonel Frederick Ira Ordway, Jr., outlined the principal objectives of the Order as follows:
1.) To prepare and maintain a bibliography of the literature on the Loyalist Cause,
2.) To accumulate as quickly as possible within our resources a good working library pertaining to the Loyalist Cause,
3.) To encourage our members to prepare and present at our meetings original papers on the Loyalist Cause,
4.) To require all speakers at our meetings to confine themselves to subjects relating to the Loyalist Cause, and
5.) To endeavor in every possible way to publicize the Loyalist side of the Revolutionary War.
These remarks on our history were written by Arthur Louis Finnell, former Registrar General, at the occasion of the Society’s 25th Anniversary in 1998.
This web site is dedicated to those visionaries and their desire to keep alive the memory of the Loyalist and Patriots that are our ancestors.