The Native Sons' Fellowships
THE NATIVE SONS' FELLOWSHIPS
CHARLES E. CHAPMAN
A. The Native Sons of the Golden West.-The Native Sons of
the Golden West have the unique distinction of being perhaps the
only fraternal society in the United States which devotes its efforts
and its funds to the promotion of State history. In so doing, they
are taking the logical course springing out of the circumstances
of their origin and membership. The idea for the founding of
the order orginated with General A. M. Winn, who, as grand mar-
shal of a Fourth of July parade at San Francisco in 1875, had
arranged for a division of marchers made up entirely of young
men "born under the American flag" in California. Such a group
was formed, and it marched in the parade, held that year on Mon-
day, July 5. The following Sunday, July 11, a number of the
participants and others within the terms of General Winn's call
held a meeting, and at Winn's suggestion formed a society, choos-
ing the name which still endures. In March, 1876, the society
was incorporated, at which time it had a membership of 113.
Membership was limited to men (over eighteen) born since July
7, 1846, the date when Commodore Sloat took formal possession
for the United States at Monterey.' In 1885, the rules were ex-
tended to include native Californians born before the raising of
the American flag, as well as those born afterward.
The founders seem originally to have contemplated an exten-
sion of the order into the various states of "the Golden West,"
but it is perhaps fortunate for the cause of history that the order
eventually became purely Californian in its aims. It has increased
in influence, until today there are 174 chapters, or "parlors," with
a membership (December 31, 1916) of 20,722. Closely affiliated
with it is the order of the Native Daughters of the Golden West,
a similar organization for California women, with a total of 143
The Native Sons have long been engaged in work tending to
the perpetuation of the records of California's past. To them are
'General Winn and one G. W. Anthony were admitted as honorary mem-
bers; neither was a native -of the state.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 21, July 1917 - April, 1918. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101073/. Accessed March 15, 2014.