Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War


Chronological History

Philadelphia Sons of Veterans
Earp Camps -- Sons of Veterans
Post System of New York
[Missouri Sons of Veterans]
Sons of Veterans, U.S.A.
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

A camp (name and number unknown) in Missouri claims to be the first organization to use the name "Sons of Veterans".

August 27, 1878
On motion of Comrade James P. Holt, Anna M. Ross, Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Post #94, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania established a Planning Committee to "devise means of forming a GAR Cadet Corps".

September 17, 1878
The Planning Committee submitted a plan for the formation of a Cadet Corps which was approved by the Post members.

September 29, 1878
Anna M. Ross Camp #1 of Philadelphia held its first meeting.

October 15, 1878
The Planning Committee presented a proposed constitution and rules for the operation of the cadet corps to Post 94. These were approved and the name "Sons of Veterans" was adopted (hereinafter "Philadelphia Sons of Veterans"). Other Posts in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York likewise established cadet corps.

January 3, 1879
General Alexander Hays GAR Post 3, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania rejected a plan by Major Augustus P. Davis for the formation of a Cadet Corps as not suitable.

Mid 1879
Earps of Massachusetts formed camps in that state and in Missouri and New Jersey. This organization also used the name "Sons of Veterans"(hereinafter "Earp Sons of Veterans").

July, 1880
The Earp Sons of Veterans disbanded and all camps joined the Philadelphia Sons of Veterans. A Division organization was formed by the Philadelphia Sons of Veterans.

August - October 1881
Major A. P. Davis repeatedly presented plans to Alexander Hays, GAR Post 3, for the formation of a sons organization. The organization was to be formed along military lines and to be named "Sons of Veterans of Pennsylvania."

November 12, 1881
Davis Camp #1, Sons of Veterans of Pennsylvania was formed at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by Brevet Major August Plummer Davis. Eleven boys were present at the meeting. These are the charter members of Davis Camp #1 Sons of Veterans of Pennsylvania (also the charter members of The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War).
Harry T. Rowley     John Sieferth       Walter Morris
Herbert A. Davis    John D. MacFarland  Henry Maxwell
E. W. Wilker        Ernest W. Lehman    A. P. Hays
George L. Moreland  William L. Feer 

December 27, 1881
Articles of Incorporation were presented to the Common Pleas Court of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania by the above charter members.

December 28, 1881
The Articles of Incorporation were approved by Judge Frederick W. Collier (it should be noted that Judge Collier was a member of Post 3).

January 19, 1882
Articles of Incorporation recorded in the Recorder of Deeds Office, County of Allegheny, Pennsylvania, C.B.V. 7, pages 49-52.

February 22, 1882
The Philadelphia Sons of Veterans formed a national organization following the request of the Earp Sons of Veterans which had not be accounted for in the Division formations of the Philadelphia Sons of Veterans in mid 1880.

March, 1882
The Sons of Veterans of Pennsylvania having spread far beyond the borders of Pennsylvania changed its name to Sons of Veterans of the United States of America.

June 27, 1882
Letters and patent #13003 issued to A. P. Davis for the design of the membership, Division Commander and Commander-in-Chief medals. The Coat-of-Arms, Constitution, Ritual, and by-laws were copyrighted the same day.

October 18, 1882
First National Encampment of the Sons of Veterans of the United States of America was held in the Headquarters of Davis Camp #1 on the second floor of the City-County Building, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. H. T. Rowley was elected the first Commander-in-Chief. The charter of Davis Camp * was placed on loan to the National Organization. It should be noted that until the incorporation in the state of Illinois, all camp and department charters were issued under the authority of the Davis Camp * Articles of Incorporation and the National Organization also operated under authority of these articles.

July, 1883
A special meeting was held in Lancaster, Pennsylvania by the Philadelphia Sons of Veterans. Because of dissension among the camps arising from failure to issue charters and incorrect record keeping, 33 camps of the Philadelphia Sons of Veterans withdrew from that organization and joined the Sons of Veterans of the United States of America.

July 25, 1883
The Grand Army of the Republic had become weary of the hostilities between the two branches of Sons of Veterans. In his report to the National Encampment, Commander-in-Chief Paul Van Der Voort stated:

"The two branches of the Sons of Veterans have made progress. In accordance with the resolution of the last National Encampment, I have encouraged these societies. I have not encouraged the officers and members of either branch in their warfare with each other. I have endeavored to restore harmony, and have earnestly desired that they should act like sons of veterans. I believe that the difficulty between these organizations has been fomented and fanned largely by members of the Grand Army of the Republic. Many of our noblest members have given time and money, and worked hard to establish one or the other branch of this organization. They should harmonize at once. If their proper officers do not appear here and coalesce, this Encampment should recognize one branch or the other."

"Proper" officers of the Sons of Veterans of the United States of America being present and prepared to reach an amenable agreement and no "proper" officers of the Philadelphia Sons of Veterans being present to reach such an agreement, upon the recommendation of the Commander-in-Chief, The Grand Army of the Republic National Encampment adopted the following:

"Resolved, That we hail with pleasure all organizations having for their object the perpetuity of the principles which are dear to us, and we recognize in the Sons of Veterans of the United States of America one that is entitled to the confidence and support of all comrades of the Grand Army of the Republic."

August 6, 1883
Second National Encampment, Sons of Veterans of the United States of America, was held in Columbus, Ohio. Major A. P. Davis gave all rights to the letters and patents and copyrights for the medals, Coat-of-Arms, Constitution, Rituals, and by-laws to the National Organization in return for Davis Camp #1 having a gold camp flag and changing the camp number to a "*" indicating that it is the founding camp of the Order and that these provisions be recorded as a foot note in the Rituals and by-laws.

May 14, 1885
With the approval of A. P. Davis, the following resolution was adopted by Davis Camp *.

"Whereas Miss L. B. Sieferth of Pittsburgh, Pa. by kindness she has shown in times past and by the substantial aid she has rendered us at various times and in diverse manners showed that she had and has an interest in the "Order" of the "Sons of Veterans" at large and Davis * Camp 1, Western Pennsylvania Division in particular be it resolved:

That we as a Camp and as members of the Order at large tender Miss L. B. Sieferth a vote of thanks for her many acts of kindness.

Resolved: That Miss L. B. Sieferth be hereby made an "HONORARY LADY LIFE MEMBER" of DAVIS * CAMP 1 SONS OF VETERANS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and as such shall be borne on the rolls.

Resolved: That these resolutions be spread at large on the Minutes of the Camp and that a copy be engrossed and presented to Miss L. B. Sieferth".

At the same meeting A. P. Davis was granted Honorary membership, recognized as the first camp commander and had Past Camp Commander honors bestowed upon him.

March 10, 1886
Lyon Camp #1, Missouri Division, Earp Sons of Veterans(the last Earp camp), became Lincoln Camp #17, Missouri Division, Sons of Veterans of the United States of America. Thus the Earp organization came to an end.

August, 1886
The two remaining camps faithful to the Philadelphia Sons of Veterans joined the Sons of Veterans of the United States of America. Thus ending the organization known as the Philadelphia Sons of Veterans. These two camps were Anna M. Ross Camp #1 and Ellis Camp #9.

September 12, 1888
At the 22nd National Encampment of the GAR, Commander-in-Chief John P. Rea in his address to the Encampment made the following observation:

"It will be but a short period until our ranks are so meagre, and the surviving comrades so weighed down with the burden of years, that our organization will have ceased to be an active force in the works of loyal love and charity which it has ordained. The tender ceremonies of Memorial Day will then be performed by others or not at all. It seems to me that it would be the part of wisdom for us while yet in our vigor to establish such relationship between our order and the Sons of Veterans [of the United States of America] as to properly recognize that organization. The young men composing it feel a just pride in the deeds of their fathers, and moved by filial love have settled their difficulties and are anxious for recognition from us."

The GAR Encampment went on to adopt the following resolution:

"Resolved, That the Encampment indorse the objects and purposes of the Order of Sons of Veterans, U.S.A., and hereby give to the Order the official recognition of the Grand Army of the Republic, and recommend that comrades aid and encourage the institution of Camps of the Sons of Veterans, U.S.A."

A new organization of "Sons" was started in Albany, New York. This organization was known as the Post system. The GAR strenuously objected to the use of the term "Post" and in effect treated this organization as persona non grata.

The few Posts of the Post system joined the Sons of Veterans of the United States of America. This brought to an end all male organizations of sons of veterans except the Sons of Veterans of the United States of America which was founded by August Plummer Davis in Pittsburgh on November 12, 1881.

In the face of much confusion over the identity of the Sons of Veterans, U.S.A. and attempts by sons of veterans of the Spanish American War and World War I to join the Sons of Veterans, U.S.A., the name of the Organization was changed to Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. At the same time, the Order was incorporated in the State of Illinois and the charter of Davis Camp * returned to the camp.

Compiled by:
David B. Orr
Past National Historian
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

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