The Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (CTSSAR) was organized on April 2, 1889 as a membership organization of men whose lineal ancestors supported the Patriot cause during the War for Independence. The private, non-profit organization is a society of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) and its purposes, as outlined in its constitution, are patriotic, educational, and historical. An all-volunteer organization, the CTSSAR takes its responsibility as a guardian and interpreter of history seriously.
Lucius P. Deming originally organized the state society to be part of the Sons of the Revolution (SR), but due to a clause in their bylaws at the time, which dictated that any new state society would be “auxiliary” to the New York Society, he and others formed the SAR. Deming was the first President of the SAR in 1889.
The group’s members are organized into nine active branches throughout the state, each of which is involved in a variety of educational and historical projects that benefit its members and the public. The organization focuses on maintaining and sharing genealogical records and supporting the CTSSAR Color Guard, which marches in many parades a year and provides advice, programming, and literature on flag etiquette.
In addition, the CTSSAR is the only Sons of the American Revolution group that owns and maintains historical properties: Lebanon’s War Office, where Connecticut’s Council of Safety met and made decisions throughout the Revolution, and two schoolhouses in New London and East Haddam, where Nathan Hale taught school before joining the Revolutionary cause. All three sites are open for limited hours during the summer, draw on volunteers from the CTSSAR and local communities to care for and interpret them, and attract hundreds of students and tourists annually from the region and beyond.
Each of the CTSSAR’s three buildings has been moved from its original location and has suffered periods of disrepair and deterioration, but they have all been renovated and today’s Real Properties Committee works hard to maintain and improve their present physical conditions and ensure that they remain in their current locations. In addition, the committee has been working with a Consortium of historic sites in Lebanon to improve the interpretation of its War Office, and the results have been extremely positive.
In recent years the CTSSAR’s membership, volunteer corps, historic site attendance, and public programs, including an extensive web site, have grown as a result of improved communications with members and greater overall outreach into communities across Connecticut. The web site, which contains historical information about the Revolutionary War and Nathan Hale, receives thousands of hits annually, with most themup to 60,000 per monthfalling within the school year.