The Watertown Provincial Guard recently joined a national group of which seeks to keep alive the tradition and history of American military outfits that have been around since Colonial times.
The local group was welcomed to the Centennial Legion of Historical Military Commands during a ceremony at Watertown’s Edmund Fowle House on Saturday.
The Watertown group formed about 10 years ago, and can be seen in their colonial military uniforms at town parades and other events, but the Centennial Legion just learned of the Watertown unit a few years ago.
“They heard about the unit when they marched in a parade we were in,” said Jack Piantedosi, founder of the Watertown Provincial Guard. “They said maybe we should have the Provincial Guard be recognized by the Centennial Legion.”
The Watertown Provincial Guard was accepted into the Centennial Legion at a ceremony in 2013, said Col. Ron Barnes, Commanding Officer of the Centennial Legion. He is also part of the Pawtuxet Rangers from Warwick, R.I.
“There are units from the Revolutionary War to the Civicl War. There are 88 member units,” Barnes said. “They come from the 13 original Colonies.”
On Saturday the official welcoming ceremony, hosted by the Historical Society of Watertown. They Provincial Guard received a certificate from the Centennial Legion.
The Provincial Guard has a long history, Piantedosi said.
“It started on Sept. 6, 1635, believe it or not,” Piantedosi said. “The unit is still active in the 182nd of the Massachusetts National Guard, and it participated in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the First World War and the Second World War.”
Lt. Col. Ron Morneau, the Legion Commander’s Adjunct, said that the 182nd was one of the first four units ever mustered by the United States in Salem during the Revolutionary War. A ceremony is held by the Mass. National Guard in Salem each year and they include the four units.
The Centennial Legion began in 1875 and had its first big event when military groups from the original colonies marched in Philadelphia’s Centennial Celebration in 1876.
“It formed on the 100th anniversary of Bunker Hill, and was meant to smooth out some of the ill feelings from the Civil War,” Barnes said.
Member units will attend other units events, and other units will come to their events, said Capt. Ed Hebert, past commander of the Centennial Legion.
For more information about the Centennial Legion go to www.centenniallegion.com