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Ancient and Honorable

One of the most pleasing of lineage societies has long been a fixture in my head, since as a child I watched endless ranks of minutemen file past on the Patriot’s Day parades each April 19 in Lexington, Massachusetts: the ‘Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company‘ of Massachusetts. Does ‘honorable’ necessarily belong with anything ancient, or if one hears it repeated in the title frequently enough, one believes it must be true? At any rate, this group wins both for its pleasing name (wearing its self-image in its very title) and for its ancient-ness, since being founded in 1637 it leads the order of precedence repeated among ‘lineage societies’—for those who care about such matters (I have more to say about the spurious age of some lineage societies elsewhere).

One thing I like about the ‘Ancient and Honorable’ is that one needn’t be a descendant to join: it is a fraternal organization, a reenactor’s group, and a civic group with a purpose which has un undeniably timely cachet in our current hawkish and defense-conscious regime. But it seems fun that there is a membership category for members ‘by right of descent’.

At any rate, this is one of the few ‘lineage societies’ I take some pleasure in contemplating, and, though I have no ‘Ancient and Honorable’ descents myself, maybe my son might be interested in being affiliated with things that go bang. Or my brother-in-law, who introduced me to the pleasures of spud-chucking. On a separate page I give their descents from some of the early artillery company leaders and members.

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