Before giving an account of the first meeting of the Society of the Sons of King or Saint Tammany, held in this city, we must call attention to the fact that the fame of our patron saint had already traveled beyond the land of his birth.
In "Eddis's Letters from America," dated Annapolis, Maryland, December 24, 1771, he writes, "The Americans on this part of the continent have likewise a Saint, whose history like those of the above venerable characters [St. George, St. Patrick, St. Andrew, and St. David] is lost in fable and uncertainty. The first of May is however, set apart to the memory of Saint Tamina on which occasion the natives wear a piece of buck's tail in their hats or in some conspicuous situation. During the course of the evening and generally in the midst of the dance, the company are interrupted by the sudden intrusion of a number of persons habited like Indians, who rush violently into the room, singing the war song, giving the whoop and dancing in the style of those people; after which ceremony a collection is made and they retire well satisfied with their reception and entertainment."
A later writer adds, "This custom of celebrating the day was continued down within the recollection of many of the present inhabitants of this city [Annapolis, 1841] ." We have noted this celebration here to show that the fame of Tamanend had traveled from the neighboring Province of Pennsylvania, where he had long been celebrated on account of his services to and friendship for the early settlers, and also to call attention to the custom of those taking part in the affair to decorate themselves with buck tails or buck skins, for the reason that a little later the followers of Tamanend and those subscribing to their ideas were designated in the public prints as "Buck Skins." The first meeting of the Society is recorded in an issue of the Pennsylvania Chronicle, dated May 4, 1772. "On Friday, the first instant, a number of Americans, Sons of King Tammany, met at the house of Mr. James Byrn, (Located on the west side of Tenth Street between Mulberry (Arch) and Sassafras (Race), Deed Book I, p. 36.) to celebrate the memory of that truly noble Chieftain whose friendship was most affectionately manifested to the worthy founder, and first settlers of this Province. After dinner the circulating glass was crowned with wishes loyal and patriotic and the day concluded with much cheerfulness and harmony. It is hoped from this small beginning a society may be formed of great utility to the distressed, as this meeting was more for the purpose of promoting charity and benevolence than mirth and festivity."