James T. Mullen, a New Haven native and Civil War veteran, served the Order as its first Supreme Knight from 1882-1886. He presided over the institution of 22 of the Order’s first 38 councils, and watched it grow beyond Connecticut into Rhode Island (1885). The emblem of the Order dates from the second Supreme Council meeting, May 12, 1883. It was designed by Supreme Knight Mullen.
The emblem incorporates a shield mounted upon a formée cross (having the arms narrow at the center and expanding toward the ends). The shield is associated with a medieval knight, and the formée cross is an artistic representation of the cross of Christ. Mounted on the shield are three objects: a fasces (a bundle of rods bound together about an ax with the blade projecting) standing vertically and, crossed behind it, an anchor and a dagger or short sword. The fasces is from Roman days, carried before magistrates as an emblem of authority. The anchor is the mariner’s symbol for Columbus. The short sword is the weapon of the knight when engaged in an errand of mercy.