History of Sigma Alpha Epsilon
A paragraph history of Sigma alpha epsilon from the founding of the
fraternity to the present time. Chronologically arranged.
The Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity was a secret fraternity. As such, a lot
of the names of members has been lost over the years. However, if your
ancestor was a member of this fraternity, then this manuscript should provide
some insight into the early chapters of the fraternity.
Birth of Sigma Alpha Epsilon
The Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity was founded on the ninth day of March,
1856, at the University of Alabama, in the old city of Tuscaloosa. Eight
students who had become hard and fast friends were the founders of this
brotherly society, which was destined to extend to the furthermost limits of
the country. Chief of the eight was Noble Leslie De Votie, an Alabama boy by
birth, who was a youth of splendid promise. He was the originator of the
fraternity. He, as well as the others, had formed a warm friendship for each
of their group, and it was his idea that a fraternity would best perpetuate
the ties which, as their college days drew to a close, seemed nearer and
dearer to them all. Along the banks of Black Warrior River is the edge of the
Tuscaloosa campus, and in the fall days of 1855, as these companions strolled
by the river side, De Votie first unfolded his conception of a new fraternity.
The thought of a bond which would hold them together for all time was full of
interest to them. So it came about that in the late hours of a stormy night,
the friends met in the old southern mansion and by the flicker of dripping
candles organized Sigma Alpha Epsilon.
There were eight of the friends. They were Noble Leslie De Votie, John B.
Rudulph, John W. Kerr, Nathan E. Cockrell, Wade Foster, Abner Patton, Samuel
Dennis and Thomas C. Cook. The last of these named was not present at the time
of organization. Cook had planned the fraternity with the others, but shortly
before it was organized he had withdrawn from the University of Alabama and
entered Princeton. At the first meeting it was voted that no one should be
considered a member of the fraternity "except those present." This was
afterwards rescinded to the extent of voting Cook a member, and sending him a
ritual that he might initiate himself. He has always been considered one of
There are no table of contents for this manuscript.
the Book - Free
Who actually founded the Sigma Alpha Epsilon is still a
matter for debate. While all purport that these eight were indeed there at
the beginning of the fraternity, who created the actual idea of the
fraternity, and who wrote most of the bylaws is debatable. You can find
another history located here:
Notes on Theta's History