History of the Michigan Society:

By James Lyons (1930-2008) with recent additons by Michael Culp

The first page of Journal 1 of the Society has this: "In a letter bearing the date of Jan 4th, 1885 Mr. John Hone, of 62 New Street, New York City, Chairman of the Commitee on State Organizations of the Society of the 'Sons of the Revolution,' requested Mr. F. D. Haddock, of Holland, Michigan, to undertake the work necessary for the organization of a Society in the State of Michigan." 

These were secured, forwarded to Mr. Hone, and duly approved by Mr. James Mortimer Mongomery, Secretary of the General Society, in the following order: Frank Dickinson Haddock, Holland, (Michigan); Joseph Cleary Haddock, Holland; Horatio Seymour, Marquette; Laurens Wright Haddock, Esq., Grand Rapids; John Walter Beardslee D. D., Holland; Henry Denison Post, Holland; John Coaysworth Post, Holland; Hoyt Guernsey Post, Grand Rapids; Robert Wilkins Merrill, Grand Rapids; and David Wolcott Kendall, Grand Rapids.

The organisation of a Society in the State of Michigan being duly authorized by a letter from Mr. Hone bearing the date of Feruary 11, 1896, a meeting was called for thr purpose in the office of Mr. H. D. Post at Holland February 22, 1896 at 10 a.m. Dr. John Breadslee, the President of Western Theological Seminary of Holland, was elected President, an office he held for 20 years. The Society grew rather quickly over the first few years. The recruiitng pattern set the future of the Society. Althought some members were recruited from around the State, the majority was from the Grand Rapids area and most of those were from Holland. 

The Society set February 22 as its Annual Metting date and held a banquet meeting on that date until 1931, at the Warm Friend Tavern in Holland. It appears from the minutes of these meetings that they were the only times that the Society met, except for occasional "Special Meetings" called to deal with specific issues.

The future of the Society changed forever at the Annual Meeting of 1909. A "provision was added to the Constitution of our Society providing for the establishment of Chapters of our Society throughout the State: 'when ten or more members of the Michigan Society, residing within any city or county of the state shall petition the Borad of Managers, requesting the formation of a group to be known as The Holland Chapter. We have no minutes or other records from the period 1909 to 1915 when the first Journal of the Holland Chapter shows the minutes of the "first" meeting, a member presented a scholarly paper on some aspect of the REvolution. These topics were assigned at the Annual Meeting each year.

After 1931 there are no minutes for the State Society Annual Meetings. The Holland Chapter, most years, recessed their meeting, reconvened as the "State Society," elected officers, and then adjourned to return to chapter activities. There were several years when this action did not take place, and it is unclear if the State Society officers remained in place until the next election. 

Although there were occasional discussions about an "outreach program" to the rest of the state, it appears that little real action was taken. Most of the new members came from Holland and the surrounding area. They included the leading men of the community, professionals and businessman, as well as faculty members from the Theological Seminary, Hope College and nearby Olivet College. From time to time there were discussions of forming new chapters in Lansing, Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo, but these efforts never came to fruition.

Following World War II there was a small resurgence of interest in the chapter, but again it was all local. By 1964 attendance dwindled to 10 or less, and at the Annual Meeting a single slate of officers was proposed for the State Socoety and chapter operations. The chapter had, in fact, over the years became the 'State Society." There are no minutes for 1972 to 1977, and it can be assumed that because of reduced membership there were no meetings.

An effort was made by John Knox Wilson, Regional General Society Vice-President, to rejuvenate the Society in 1977. Unfortunately, the effort was not successful, and at a meeting on August 31, 1977, the decsion was made to disband the Society. Blaine Pool of Holland was the President-Regent at this point, and closed out the business and assets of the Society. 

In April 1984 John Knox Wilson, then Regional General Society Vice-President Emeritus, approached James T. Lyons of Lansing, Michigan, when Lyons joined the Wisconsin Society, concerning the re-activation of the Sociey in Michigan. In September Mr. Lyons agreed to look into the prospects for this activity. Contact with Ralph B. Stever, General Society President Emeritus and Chairman of the New Society Committee, showed thatthere were eight members-at-large in Michigan. Three had been members of the former Society. In the effort to reactivate the State Society, seven of the eight members became a part of the organizing group. The balance of those needed came from new members. The process was complete May 11, 1985 in Lansing. A dinner meeting was held and the work of the organization, ellection of officers and other bisiness was transacted. Featured speaker for the program was Terry J. McKane, Mayor of Lansing. James T. Lyons was elected President and served in that capacity for nine years.

After an inital period of recruiting sucess and growth things have leveled off in the past few years. We have several new members who should provide  a new spark. The Society may never be large by some standards, but the ties of the membership are strong and meet the objectives of the Society in developing a bond among the descendants of the men who secured the independence of our country.

In 1999 the Michgan Society maintained a website at www.execpc.com/"sril/srmi.html.

In 2013 The Michigan Society maintained a website at www.srmi1776.org.

                                                   PRESIDENTS OF THE MICHIGAN SOCIETY

       John Walter Beardslee D. D.                                                                         1896-1916                                                           

       George Albert Davis                                                                                    1917

       Irving Andrew Dean                                                                                    1918-1921

       Colonel Earl Ruthven Stewart                                                                       1922-1923

       William Altheus Reddick                                                                               1924

       David Edwin Keyes                                                                                      1925-1926

       Charles Hamilton McBride                                                                            1927-1929

       Dr. George Wyatt Van Verst                                                                          1930-1931*

       Ernest C. Brooks                                                                                         1933

       Sidney J. Jenkes                                                                                         1934*

       Dr. Bruce M. Raymond                                                                                 1941-1943

       Jarret M. Clark                                                                                            1944-1945

       Reverend William C. Warner                                                                         1946-1949*

       C. C. Wood                                                                                                 1952

       Robert Evans                                                                                              1953

       Dr. A. C. V. R. Gilmore                                                                                  1954

       Robert Evans                                                                                              1955

       Harrison Hutchins                                                                                        1956

       G. W. Van Verst                                                                                           1957

       Miles Baskett                                                                                               1958

       Clifford Hopkins                                                                                           1959

       Robert G. Evans                                                                                           1960

       Frank M. Mattison                                                                                        1961

       Robert G. Evans                                                                                           1962-1964

       Rexford E. Chapman                                                                                     1965

       C. B. Hopkins                                                                                               1966

       G. Robert Crawford                                                                                       1967

       Clifford Hopkins                                                                                            1968

       Miles Baskett                                                                                                1969-1971*

       Charles O. Harthy                                                                                         1975*

       Blaine Pool                                                                                                   1977*   


       James T. Lyons                                                                                            1985-1993

       Gary L. Gibson                                                                                             1994-1996

       Paul D. Hodges                                                                                            1997

       Lt Colonel (Ret.) Max J. Rieske                                                                       1998-1999 

       Keith G. Harrison                                                                                          2000-2003

       Gary L. Gibson                                                                                             2004-mid 2016

       Geoffrey A. Hickok                                                                                       mid 2016-


                                     In Memory of President Emeritus, Patriot James T. Lyons (1930-2008)

          * No Record of election results for the missing years