The Patriotic Order Sons of America is one of those groups that sprang out of the first Golden Age of Fraternalism, which stretches from just after the American Civil War to about 1900. Interestingly enough, the roots of this group extend to the pre-civil war period, but it was during the reconstruction era that it began to flourish.
According to their website “The Patriotic Order Sons of America was organized December 10, 1847 to preserve the Public School System, The Constitution of the United Sates and our American way of life. It was incorporated by an Act of the Pennsylvania State Legislature, February 27, 1867. The subordinate unit, Washington Camp No. 150 was chartered by the Parent Corporation in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, May 21, 1871.” The group was instrumental in the saving of George Washington’s headquarters at Valley Forge as well as establishing what would today become the Freedom Foundation, which is now under the direct supervision of the National Park Service.
Today the group claims that “The Objectives of the Order are … to inculcate pure American Principles; to teach loyalty to American Institutions; to cultivate fraternal affection; to oppose foreign interference in State or National Affairs; to oppose all appropriations of public moneys for Sectarian Purposes; to maintain and support the Constitution of the United States of America; to defend and maintain the American System of Public Schools; to defend the rights of Men and Armed Forces; to work as America’s foremost Civilian Patriotic Organization in combating foreign propaganda and in preventing our participation in future foreign wars; to work for an adequate Army, Navy and Air Force, which will command respect of foreign nations and prevent future war.”
Recently the group helped to cover financial support and participation in the dedication of the Tennessee State Memorial in the National Military Park in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and participation in raising funds for the Statue of Liberty.
Normally we would start our articles off by mentioning what the name of the group was that had the fez. In this case, that doesn’t matter – every local body of the Sons of American was called Washington Encampment. The only different factor was the number, which is 869 on this fez. This piece was purchased in Pennsylvania. Since the group’s presence was strongest in that State, it is presumed that the local body probably met there. The fez is in great shape, showing a badge with the face of George Washington along with a nice blue tassel. Until this piece was purchased, there had been no record that the Sons of America had ever worn a fez. That fact makes this fez one of the most unique among the collection!