Company of Saint John

The Company of Saint John is a chivalric confraternity founded in 1914 as Rock Island Commandery (Illinois) as a local chapter of the Knights of St. John and Malta, an order that claimed to be a branch of the historic Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. The original patron was St. George, the patron saint of Rock Island.

The organizer and first Commander was George W. Place (1914-1958), whose father is said to have been a member of the St. John order in Bay City (Michigan). He was succeeded as Commander by his son C. A. Place (1958-2000), who was succeeded by his son Justin Swanström (2000- ).

After the death of Chevalier Place in 2000, the commandery was re-named and re-organized as the Company of St. John. Other changes included:

  • The patron was changed to St. John the Baptist, the traditional patron of the Hospitaller Order.
  • The office of Commander was changed to Master.
  • The ranks of Knight of Saint John (KSJ) and Lady of Saint John (LSJ) were changed to Companion of St. John (CSJ).

As a further part of the reforms the company was amalgamated with two of its affiliated organizations:

  • Company of Saint Bede, an academic confraternity of historians and those charged with historical preservation, education, and scholarship. The company was founded in 1976 under the patronage of St. Bede, patron saint of historians and Father of English History.
  • Noble Company of the Swan, a chivalric confraternity founded in 1971 under the patronage of St. Michael, patron saint of knights.

The arms of the Company of Saint John are the arms of the Place family with the addition of a Maltese cross: Azure a Maltese cross Argent and on a chief Argent three chaplets of roses Gules.