I have been doing a little reading about Shay’s Rebellion. Why you ask? Well as my ancestor General William Shepard was one of the major players in this incident, I thought it might be relevant to my research.
I won’t be going into the rebellion as this time, but in my reading of the incident I ran across an interesting tidbit about William. He was a member of the Society of the Cincinnati.
|The Anderson House where the Society’s archives and main branch resides.|
According to Wikipedia and the Society’s own website this organization was created in 1783 at the Continental Army encampment at Newburgh, New York. The concept was started by Henry Knox and would consist of only those officers who has served 3 years and were above a certain rank. It is the nation’s oldest patriotic organization, founded by officers of the Continental Army and their French counterparts who served together in the American Revolution. Its mission was to promote knowledge and appreciation of the achievement of American independence and to foster fellowship among its members.
William joined the Massachusetts group.
There was some controversy when the organization first started as many Americans were fearful that the group was trying to create an hereditary aristocracy. The group was a bit shocked by the accusations, and decided to change a few of it’s policy’s and rules to alleviate some of the fears of the American citizens, the main one being it’s restriction of hereditary membership to the eldest son.
The group continues to this day. If you want to read more about them check out wiki or go to their web site: http://societyofthecincinnati.org/.