An aerial view of the modern
College of William and Mary.
The fiery hearth of the Apollo Room cast a cheerful glow of warmth on this group of young students of the College of William and Mary. They had gathered at the Raleigh Tavern in the town of old Williamsburg on this cold December night to discuss an ideal so new to them yet as old as time itself.
The last of the lingering guests had brought to a close their discussion of Virginia politics and had departed for the night, leaving the comfort of the fireplace to John Heath and four of his closest friends. The business of the evening could now be transacted with the secrecy for which it deserved.
A sketch of the Raleigh Tavern
the reconstructed city of Old Williamsburg.
|The Apollo Room in the restored Raleigh Tavern.|
Heath confided to his friends the dream which he had nurtured for some time, and enthusiastically they seconded it and set about making it a reality . . . a secret society with a Greek name and a motto! A ritual and a grip!
Frienship, Morality, Learning--these would be the principles symbolized by the three stars on the medal adopted as the insignia of their membership--mark of their leaders!
When the embers of the fire cast weird shadows across the Apollo Room as Heath and his newly accepted "brothers" arose to leave, Phi Beta Kappa had come into existence, and the first Greek-letter fraternity had been formed on the North American continent.