There shall be a Color Guard, composed of members of the Society, the duties of which shall consist of the care, custody, and proper official display of the Colors, Flags, and Standards of the Society. (Extracted from the bylaws of the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution)
Purpose and Origin of the Color Guard
For some years the Society had only the National Colors which William Darlington Evans, Esquire (the first “Guardsman”) volunteered to carry. On March 8, 1891, the Society Flag came into existence and on January 9, 1893, the Society formed a Committee on Flags, authorizing it to purchase facsimiles of flags used during the Revolution. On October 7, 1897, the Board of Managers authorized the formation of a Color Guard “the duties of which shall be the care, custody and proper official display of the Colors, Flags and Standards of the Society.” A Committee on “Color Guard” was established with Francis von Albade Cabeen, Chairman, and Alexander Wilson Russell, Jr., USN, Captain. Election of members of the Guard was by recommendation of these two gentlemen with appointments made by the Society.
On March 8, 1914, the Color Guard became an established organization with its own By-Laws approved by the Society on April 3, 1915. In the same year, the Color Guard Flag was added to the collection. The Society’s Committee on Flags was discontinued and the Guard managed its own affairs through a Captain (and later an Assistant Captain), a Secretary-Treasurer (who also served as Quartermaster and Historian) and a Lieutenant.
With the passing of years and the acquisition of additional flags, the Guard increased its membership and officer strength. Now, a Captain, First Lieutenant, Second Lieutenant, Historian and Membership Committee Members are elected and a Quartermaster (one of the Lieutenants), two Sergeants and Committees are appointed by the Captain. The Guard maintains custody of 48 flags and its roster calls for 39 Active Members (three of each of the thirteen original states – the maximum allowed under the By-Laws) as well as Veteran Members (the number of which is not limited).
The Guard is governed by By-Laws as last amended on January 22, 1998.
An interesting historical footnote reveals that in April 1914 at a Triennial Meeting in Washington, D.C., the National Society sanctioned a motion “that all state Societies be urged to acquire similar Guards to that of Pennsylvania.” This motion was duly passed and the New York and New Jersey Societies soon had their Color Guards with the District of Columbia and other states following with similar Guards.