posted on Jun, 30 2006 @ 08:24 AM
I got this e-mail from a friend and I am curious:
Sidon, sometimes referred to as "Poseidon", is supposedly a secret Colonial-era social fraternity for Harvard, Tufts, Colby, Brown, Dartmouth and
Yale university men who descend directly from the first settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Although Sidon's members are believed to assemble for dinner in a windowless basement club room on Beacon Hill (the door to this room is supposedly
etched with a stylized trident - the barbs on the outer tines have ornate, Arabesque serifs on them, a possible reason why the few outsiders who know
about Sidon tend to misapprehend its name), the group's true character is far less noble than legend suggests. Sidon formed as a cartel of
second-tier mercantilists vying for regional control over the lucrative business of building slave ships.
Believed to be named for the ancient Phoenician trading port on the southern coast of what is now modern Lebanon, Sidon's New World incarnation is
believed to have begun in early 18th Century Boston as a price-fixing arrangement between a minor shipyard owner, William Emerson (or Ammerson), and
an occasional rum (and slave) merchant named John Hall.
While the terms of the Emerson-Hall deal do not appear to have survived into modern history, by the 1720s it is believed that the Sidon pact had
expanded to affect the operations of every major shipyard and trading house in New England. Whatever the terms, membership clearly had its privileges.
By the 1750s, sources claim that Sidon members controlled the New England vertex of triangular trade, although it is difficult to isolate any
representation of the financial benefits accrued, if any, since virtually all of the prominent shipbuilders and traders of the era became quite
Unlike other secret societies, Sidon appears to operate entirely on the basis of oral history and verbal contract. Researchers have never found any
written charters, articles of incorporation or financial records related to Sidon. Likewise, even though genaeologists and historians have apparently
uncovered occasional references to Sidon in personal journals (usually the writings of wives, brothers and other non-members), no accounts of the
group appear to have ever emerged in the the printed histories of New England, a surprising oversight.
Is Sidon the last, best-kept secret in America or a simple dinner club of lesser merchants similar in character to the "Junto" group convened in
Philadelphia by Benjamin Franklin?
As far as I know, there have never been any membership lists published, but confidential sources believe that James DeWolf, the Rhode Island
slaver-cum-U.S. Senator and one of the richest men in colonial times, may have been a member. Membership also is alleged to have included at least one
of the Boston Dudleys, Rhode Island Browns and Maine Pepperells.
Far more significantly, however, Sidon is believed to have perpetuated itself by drafting new middle-class aspirants into its numbers, buying their
loyalty and secrecy by offering otherwise unavailable access to information, wealth and power. Sidon members were probably told whom they might marry
and which business relationships they would be required to accept. The financial paybacks doubtless exceeded the cost of members' freedoms.
Sidon apparently initiated its current practice of targeting high academic achievers from humble beginnings while they were studying at New England
universities during the middle of the 18th century and is believed to have continued it into the present day. In an annual selection ritual not
dissimilar from the recruiting for Greek letter societies, Finals Clubs and Yale societies, a small number of upperclassmen (probably no more than
three or four a year initially, today probably no more than ten) supposedly receive invitations to dine with one or several prominent local
businessmen at area restaurants.
Does anybody know anything about this?