It was in 1967, amidst the anti-war movement, when John Thomas Teller and Peirmont “Piney” Winston returned from their second tours of Vietnam where they had served together as paratroopers in the Army. While overseas, they were trained in mechanics and possessed a new knowledge and fascination with machinery. They bonded over their love of motorcycles and desire to live off the radar. Feeling a mutual need, JT and Piney decided to take a ride across country, to explore the land they had defended, on two wheels. They cruised the Northern California coast from Eureka to Big Sur-- Redwood Country -- and along the way met other men who shared their same ideals. They wanted the same camaraderie and structure that the military had provided, but wanted to live by their own credo, only answering to one higher authority -- the club.
Their bond born on the battlefield but solidified on the fringe of society, John and Piney decided to name the motorcycle club Son of Anarchy. The first charter was called “Redwood” simply because they hadn’t settled in any one city. Years later, JT met his match; Gemma Madoc, a free-spirited, sexy brunette who was wise beyond her years. It was Gemma who brought SAMCRO to Charming after becoming pregnant with her first son, Jackson, forcing SOA to settle in the town she had grown up in. Years later, after they had made Charming their home, John thought “Charming” was a little too cute for the charter name, so he called it the Redwood Original. That’s when the SAMCRO handle was born.
·The first members of the first charter of the Sons of Anarchy are known as the First 9 and are recognized by the First 9 patch they wear on their kutte.
·Most of the First 9 members are dead, only four are living: Clay, Piney, Keith McGee, and Lenny “The Pimp” Janowitz.
·Six out of the nine were war veterans.
·The First 9, in order of joining were: John Teller, Piney Winston, Lenny “The Pimp” Janowitz, Keith McGee, Wally Grazer, Thomas “Uncle Tom” Whitney, Chico Villanueva, Otto “L’il Killer” Moran (not to be confused with "Big" Otto Delaney) and Clay Morrow.
John Teller began a downward spiral when his youngest son Thomas began to suffer from his heart condition, nearly leading to his death. Afraid that he let his deeper goals of freedom and camaraderie be corrupted by the greed and violence, he began repenting and ruminating in a detailed journal. The journal ultimately became a manuscript entitled "The Life and Death of Sam Crow: How the Sons of Anarchy Lost Their Way." Things were changing; the club he and Piney once formed as an alternative to society's box and a love of the open road was turning into a dark, lonely place where blood and bullets were the way of life. Once night, while riding on 580, John Teller lost control of his Harley and was struck by a semi, his Panhead mangled and stretched across the westbound lanes. He died two days later, but left a legacy within the club. That 1949 Harley Panhead FL Hydra Glide was later reconstructed by his sons, Jackson and Thomas and Jackson's best friend Opie Winston, and it sits in the SAMCRO Clubhouse as a reminder of where the club came from.