Lineage Society, Sources of Service

Can the Connecticut freeman’s oath be considered an oath of allegiance for a Revolutionary War lineage society?

To vote in colonial and early Republican Connecticut, you had to be a “freeman” (typically a white male, over the age of 21, holding land) and to have taken the freeman’s oath to uphold local government.

In October 1776, the state changed the wording on the oath, making it a clear statement of loyalty:

You A.B. do swear by the ever-living God that you will truly and faithfully adhere to and maintain the government established in this State under the authority of the people, agreeable to the laws in force within the same; and that you believe in your conscience that the King of Great Britain hath not, nor of right ought to have, any authority or dominion in or over this State; and that you do not hold yourself bound to yield any allegiance or obedience to him within the same; and that you will, to the utmost of your power, maintain and defend the freedom, independence, and privileges of this state against all open enemies or traitorous conspiracies whatsoever: So help you God.

Charles J. Hoadly, Public Records of the State of Connecticut from October, 1776 to February, 1778 inclusive (Hartford: Press of the Case, Lockwood & Brainard Company, 1894), 5; digital images, HathiTrust (https://hdl.handle.net/2027/uc1.c025914774?urlappend=%3Bseq=17%3Bownerid=115935568-21 : accessed 3 November 2022).

This new oath required freeman to swear allegiance to what the king of England would have considered a rebellion – and should be considered as a loyalty oath by the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution.