History of the Society
On October 6, 1783, officers of the Virginia Continental Line gathered at the Town House in Fredericksburg to consider the proposals of the Society's Institution. The founding meeting stretched on for four days, during which the Virginians "pledged to each other their sacred honor" by signing their names to the Institution, thus becoming the tenth constituent society to form. On the last day of the meeting, the Virginia Cincinnati elected their first officers: Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates, president; Brig. Gen. Peter Muhlenberg, vice president; Lt. Col. Oliver Towles, secretary; Lt. Edward Carrington, treasurer; and Capt. Henry Young, assistant treasurer.
In 1784, the Virginia Society voted to adopt the amended Institution that had been proposed at the first General Meeting, which did away with the provision for hereditary membership. Although the amended Institution was never ratified, the early Virginia Society, perhaps in deference to President General George Washington, did not admit a hereditary member.
In the early years of the nineteenth century, the Virginia Society began planning for what it called its "natural dissolution." This took place in 1824, when the remaining members disbanded their society and donated the bulk of their treasury, about $25,000, to Washington College (now Washington and Lee University). After six decades, the Virginia Society was reorganized by descendants of the original members and was readmitted to the General Society in 1899.