History of Societies
Prior to the formation of The Royal Society of St. George in 1894 and before the American Revolution, Societies of St. George had been founded in the then North American Colonies for the relief of British immigrants and to give them general assistance in the new country. Today there are societies all around the world branching from the historical legacy of St. George, the Patron Saint of England.
The earliest branches of which there are any records are those of New York (1770), Philadelphia (1772) and Charlestown (1773). Subsequently branches were formed in all the great cities of the North American continent and celebrations were always held on St. George's Day. Initially following the Revolutionary War the activities of the societies diminished, but within 20 years the strongest societies regained their footing as we can see with Philadelphia where they filed a legal constitution in 1797. At the time of the War of Independence many Loyalists moved to Canada and founded similar societies in Halifax (1786) and other cities.
In 1769 St. George was used as the patron saint for the building of the first Methodist church in America in Philadelphia. In the 1800's several churches were erected in the United States bearing St. George as their defender including the St. George's Cathedral in Philadelphia.
In the 1920's the Society of the Friends of St George's and Descendants of the Knights of the Garter, a constituent group of the Foundation of the College of St George, Windsor Castle was established.
Shortly thereafter, a separate Philadelphia-based group, the Society of Descendants of Knights of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, was founded in 1929 according to the group, the Hereditary Society Blue Book and the Hereditary Society Community of the United States of America.
The Royal Society
Howard Ruff was the founder in 1894 and the first Honorary Secretary of the Royal Society of St. George. In 1900 he gave up farming to devote his time exclusively to the Society. The Society's first Royal Patron was Queen Victoria - each monarch since has been the official patron of the Society.
The Society was incorporated by a Royal Charter which was presented by Elizabeth II in 1963 and has its own Armorial Bearings granted under Letters Patent in 1990 and now has members and branches around the world.
In 2016 the Royal Society chartered a Branch in California through several members who are also social circle descendants of the Knights of the Most Noble Order of the Garter. Each year the California Society has affirmative plans to celebrate St. George's Day with events and festivities.
The charter members of the California Branch are known to have ancestors in England dating back to the American Revolution and during the time of King Arthur.
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History of St. George
Saint George according to legend, was a Roman soldier of Syrian origin and officer in the Guard of Roman emperor Diocletian, who ordered his death for failing to recant his Christian faith. As a Christian martyr, he later became one of the most venerated saints in Christianity and in particular the Crusades.