Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Page 12 of my great-grandfather's Souvenir Blog includes 7 ribbons from various organizations.  All are silk, and are thoroughly glued onto the page -- indeed, they are glued into the page!

The first one is a 7" silk ribbon from the Knights Templar organization, advertising the "62nd Annual Conclave of the Monroe Commandery No.12, Grand Commandery Oct 12, 1875, Rochester NY".  I looked this up online, and found an example of the same ribbon described as follows, in the New York Historical Museum & Library:   Polychrome printed silk ribbon: depicts vertical arrangement of masonic elements emblematic of Knights Templar:  helmet, cross, crown, triangle, circle, and Maltese cross;  with inscriptions:  "IN HOC SIGNO VINCES / 62d / ANNUAL CONCLAVE / MONROE / COMMANDERY / No. 12 / K.T. / GRAND COMMANDERY / Oct. 12, 1875. / ROCHESTER, N.Y."
The Latin motto stands for "by this symbol [the red cross] you shall conquer"; sometimes stated as "by this sign you will succeed".    Clearly I need to find out if my great-grandfather and/or his father were members.  Or perhaps he had friends who were members.  My great-grandfather was a puzzle - he seems to have been a member of many different organizations, but it isn't clear to me how active he was in any of them.  As I go through the Album, I will be doing more research on this to try to gain a clearer understanding of him. Sometimes I think these items are from his own father, James M. Terwilliger, who stood on several election tickets, and was also the first Secretary for the new Republican Party when it was formed.

Next is a slightly wider white silk ribbon for the Hugh de Payens Commandery, No. 30, Buffalo, N.Y.  Once again, this is for the Knights Templar organization, the Masons.  But Buffalo is a long way from home for my great-grandfather.  Perhaps he collected ribbons from other Brother Masons.  For those readers who are not familiar with the the Masons, here is a link to a brochure found online.

In the middle is a wide, 8" black ribbon, with gold-thread edging and 'tails'.  "State of New York / WM. H. SEWARD. / Memorial honors. / by the LEGISLATURE. / Albany, April 18, 1873. / OFFICERS."  Clearly the wearer would have been an Officer for the Legislative Memorial Service - was this worn by my 2nd great-grandfather James M. Terwilliger? He would have been 53 in this year, so this is certainly possible, whereas my great-grandfather James "Grove" Terwilliger would only have been 27 yrs of age.   William H. Seward was a very well-known politician in New York state as well as in Washington DC.  Click to read more about him.  He died October 10, 1872, and this Memorial Honor event in the following spring, was put on by the Legislature to honor his services; the link leads to the NY Times newspaper write-up of the entire speech given for Wm. H. Seward.

Next is a 6" white silk ribbon, Knights Templar, for the CENTRAL CITY Commandery, Syracuse, N.Y., No. 25.  As in previous ribbons, the number identifies the Lodge number.

On the right is a narrow 6 1/2" ribbon for the CYRENE COMMANDERY, No. 39. in Rochester, N.Y. Under the symbols on the shield is the phrase: "Be thou faithful unto death."   The quote running across the bottom says:
       "Silver and Gold have I none, but,
        such as I have, give I unto thee."
Finally, in very small print at the bottom:  Oct. 12 & 13, 1875 --- A . O .  767

Along the bottom underneath these ribbons, are two small silk ribbons (5" x 1 1/2") for the N.E.A.  This is the National Education Association.  The right white ribbon:  N.E.A. 1892.  Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; and the left red ribbon states:  N.E.A.  Denver, 1895,  New York.  While neither my great-grandfather nor his father were teachers, my great-grandfather had a very good friend who was a school superintendent, and his half-sister [twenty years younger] was also a teacher.  These are plausible - but certainly not proven - reasons why he has these ribbons from two of their annual meetings.

If anyone has more information about these 7 ribbons' events, I would be very happy to learn more, and will amend this post.  Comment below, or email me, calewis at telus dot net.  It was fascinating to read about these groups of Masons/Knights Templar, and the NEA.


  1. Celia - always interesting to find our what our forefathers were up to - love the way you check details, or question why they'd have these momentos.

    1. Every time I do a post, I find I have more questions, and I ALWAYS have more research to do before I finish!! This is only Page 12 - I have so many more pages to go... Thanks for leaving a comment, Leita (my big sister!).

  2. Another album page revealed, thanks. The contents are fascinating. Wouldn't you just love to interview your great-grandfather.

    1. Hi Jill - I'm scared to count every page here - so many more to go (over 100 more)!! But, page by page. And, yes, I'd love to interview my great-grandfather - James "Grove" Grover TERWILLIGER was a bit overshadowed by his father, James M. TERWILLIGER, and it's hard to get a good handle on Grove. Slowly, a bit more is being revealed. Thanks for comments, Jill.

  3. Celia,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a great weekend!

    1. Merci beaucoup, Jana! I appreciate your recognition and encouragement so much.