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RISSAR is a hereditary society, with our members, brought together through friendship, sharing a common sense of honor and obligation to our patriot ancestors.  

The Rhode Island Society of the Sons of the American Revolution is a hereditary society for male descendants of patriots of the American Revolution. Our goal is to preserve and promote the history and ideals of the men and women who achieved American independence. We strive to honor their memory, and to inspire future generations to embrace the values they fought for. We welcome anyone who can prove their lineage to a patriot of the American Revolution to join us in our mission. 


  • Foster true patriotism…To preserve the spirit and memory of patriots and their sacrifices in achieving American Independence.

  • Promote historical values… To celebrate the blessings of liberty and commemorate events connected to the American Revolution.

  • Educate.… To perpetuate historical knowledge to the public, focusing on our Nation's founding.


What We Do

  • We decorate the graves of Revolutionary War soldiers and patriots.

  • We participate in patriotic observances.

  • We support research and preservation of historic material relating to the men and women who fought or gave service for independence in the American Revolutionary War.

  • We honor outstanding individuals for patriotic and civic achievement.

  • We honor outstanding Junior and Senior ROTC cadets annually with the presentation of the ROTC Award.

  • We select an outstanding Eagle Scout annually to compete in the NSSAR Eagle Scout scholarship program.

  • We support the Boy Scouts of America by developing historic trails and assisting Boy Scouts working on the American Heritage merit badge.

  • We sponsor chapters of the Children of the American Revolution and we cooperate with the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Children of the American Revolution in the promotion of patriotism.


The Sons of the American Revolution are direct descendants of citizens who participated in and or supported the American War for Independence from 1775 - 1783. The Rhode Island Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (RISSAR), was organized in Providence on February 1, 1890 and received its charter from the Rhode Island General Assembly in 1894. RISSAR is the state affiliate of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.


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From Edward Fields Rhode Island Defenses

The beacon, which is depicted on the badge of this Society, had its origin pursuant to the recommendation of Congress, and in accordance therewith it was voted at a town-meeting held on July 3, 1775, that the town take steps regarding its erection, to alarm the country in case of the approach of the enemy. At a meeting held a week later, a committee, consisting of Joseph Brown, Joseph Bucklin, and Benjamin Thurber, was appointed to erect a beacon on Prospect Hill, a spot where, in 1667, one had been erected during the Indian war. This structure was very simple in its design, consisting of a wooden shaft, or mast, purchased of Joseph Brown, about eighty-five feet in height, securely braced at the foundation. Wooden pegs or steps at regular intervals projected from either side, to enable a person to climb to the top. From the end of this shaft an iron crane was extended, from which hung an iron basket which was filled with inflammable material, and, by order of the town, a house was built at its base in which to store the combustibles, so as to be ready at a moment's notice.

     The Providence Gazette, July 29, 1775, informed the colonists that a "beacon is now erecting on a very high hill in the town by the order of the Honorable General Assembly. A watch is likewise kept on Tower Hill in case of any attempt by water from our savage enemies." Upon the completion of the beacon, the committee under whose direction it had been built were ordered "to fire the same on Thursday, the 17th day of August, at the setting of the sun, and that they procure one thousand hand-bills to be printed, to advertise the country thereof, that proper observations may be made of the bearing of the beacon from different parts of the country and that they notify the country that the beacon will not be fired at any time after August 17th, unless the town or some part of the colony should be attacked by an enemy, in which case the beacon will be fired and three cannon discharged to alarm the country that they may immediately repair to the town, duly equipped with arms and accoutrements." It is probable that these hand-bills contained the same information as the following notice, which appeared in the Gazette on August 12th:


The town of Providence to the inhabitants of the towns adjacent:

  Loving friends and brethren in consequence of the recommendation of the Continental Congress that those seaport towns which are principally exposed to the ravages and depredations of our common enemies should be fortified and

put in as good a state of defence as may be, which has also received the approbation of the legislature of the colony: besides a strong battery and entrenchment on the river, there has been lately erected on the greatest eminence in the town A Beacon for the purpose of alarming the country whenever it shall become necessary in our defence, and as we doubt not of the readiness of our friends and brethren, both within and without the government, to give us every assistance in their power on such an occasion if timely apprized thereof. This is therefore to inform you that it is our urgent request that you all hold yourself in readiness, and whenever you see said beacon on fire you immediately and without delay, with the best accoutrements, warlike weapons and stores you have by you, repair to the town of Providence, there to receive from the military officers present such orders as may be given by the authority of this jurisdiction for our common safety and defence. In case of an alarm we intend to fire the beacon and also discharge cannon to notify all to look out for the beacon. Be it observed and carefully remembered that the discharge of the cannon alone is not an alarm, but the firing of the beacon of itself, even without cannon, will be an alarm in all cases, excepting on Thursday, the 17th inst., at sunset, when the beacon will be fired not as an alarm, but that all may ascertain its bearings and fix such ranges as may secure them from a false alarm, and that they may know where to look for it hereafter. When you hear the cannon look out for the beacon."


     This trial proved a perfect success. A letter received by John Carter, the publisher of the Gazette, states that it was observed over an area of country extending from Cambridge Hill to New London and Norwich, and from Newport to Pomfret. It is stated that many of the inhabitants of the neighboring country not properly notified of this trial, hurriedly left their homes and promptly repaired to Providence to report for duty, imagining that the town was about to be invaded by the enemy. The beacon, probably, was never fired after the trial of August 17th, unless, perhaps, at the proclamation of peace, it was used to spread the glad tidings throughout the neighboring country.    



















Grave Records of Revolutionary War Patriots Buried in Rhode Island.

Compiled by The Grave Marking Committee & The Rhode Island Society, S.A.R.

Col. Willis C. Metcalf, Chairman
Capt. Walter M. Baker, Secretary


Select any of the items to download a PDF version of the selected list.


Compiled by Bruce Campbell MacGunnigle

State President, 2008-2010

The Rhode Island Society of the Sons of the American Revolution 2010


Rhode Island’s Own “Real Sons” of the American Revolution

Since the founding of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution in 1889, there have been 226 men that have joined, having the distinction of being the sons of men who were veterans of the American Revolution. There were 6 “Real Sons” in Rhode Island. (2.65%)
The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution has 760 “Real Daughters” and there are 26 in Rhode Island. (3.42%)
It is estimated that 350,000 men fought in the American Revolution. In 1864, there were only seven surviving veterans, all centenarians. All veterans of the American Revolution had died by 1870.
“Real Sons” joined the National Society as early as 1889, the year the Society was organized, and as late as 1926. The last “Real Son” died in 1941.


Click here to learn more about Rhode Island's "Real Sons".

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