Members of the National Gavel Society are the present and past highest governing officers of recognized hereditary societies or orders in the United States of America that honor significant milestones or events in the history of this country prior to the 28th of July 1914. The society or order shall have been in existence for a period of not less than five years prior to the issuance of the invitation and shall be national in membership, having no less than fifty active members nationwide. The society or order shall have based their membership acceptance on proven direct or collateral descent by linking each generation to the next from an American ancestor within the Gavel timeframe. A society or order that once belonged to Gavel but disbanded at some point and is being reorganized in the same or similar format must reapply for membership under the same above stated requirements as a new society. Invitation to membership is extended by the President and approved by the committee.

The National Gavel Club was organized April 13, 1963, in Washington, DC. By vote of the membership, in 1977, the name was changed to The National Gavel Society. The purpose is entirely for fellowship among those present and past titular heads of hereditary societies or orders in the USA. The Founder was Mrs. Herman August Knorr, President 1963-1969. The Founders Members were Mrs. Harry Clark Boden IV, Vice President 1963-1969 and President 1969-1972, and Mrs. William Carroll Langston, Treasurer 1963-1965. Charter members were Mrs. Charles Cary Fineout and Mrs. Helen Denny Howard, President 1975-1977. It was agreed that the Founder and the Founder Members (first officers) should approve names selected for membership, and invitations were extended by the President. In 1968, gentlemen meeting the requirements were included.

Current Officers
  • President

    Michael Perry Schenk

  • Vice President

    Anne Caussin Henninger

  • Secretary

    Douglass “Tim” Mather Mabee

  • Treasurer

    Thomas Edward Jacks

Michael Perry Schenk, Gavel President
108 Trace Cove Drive
Madison, Mississippi 39110-9265

Past presidents


Catherine Lindsay Smith Knorr *


Marguerite du Pont de Villiers-Ortiz Boden *


Betty Newkirk Seimes *


Helen Denny Howard *


Mary Genevieve Forbes Morse*


Martha Todd Barker Roberts *


Grahame Thomas Smallwood, Jr. *


Anne Carter Baldwin Holle*


Charles Owen Johnson, Esq.*


Patricia Walton Shelby *


Eleanor Beasley Smallwood Niebell *


Col. Stewart Boone McCarty, Jr. *


John Hallberg Jones


Juanita Sue Pierce Augustus


Barrett Lee McKown


Jacquelyn Dee Gilliam Barnes


Nicholas Donnell Ward, Esq.


Karen Lavone Avery Miller


Mary Robin Redfearn Towns