ANCIENT ORDER OF UNITED WORKMEN
Fraternalism and Fraternal Benefits Societies
are based on the simple premise that every person is his or her "brothers
keeper", and therefore have a moral responsibility to each other. After the
Civil War, the United States underwent a fundamental economic change, that also changed
the "fabric" of society as well. As the railroads created the potential
for national markets, factories - built to satisfy those markets - created opportunities
that tempted many people to move away from the farms, villages, and hamlets to pursue
their fortunes in the growing urban centers. But massive urbanization created a very
real human need. Many found themselves lonely, alienated, and living on the financial
brink. Most factory workers of the day worked long hours for meager wages, and had
no form of insurance benefits to leave their dependents when they died. In the agrarian
communities, the policies developed by the national governments to pay off the nations war
debt were causing shortages in the supply of money and extremely high interest rates. As a
result, farmers experiencing bad growing years were losing their farms in record numbers
to satisfy their loans under the "crop-lien system." People moving west along
the Oregon trail were faced with virtually the same problems faced by the European
settlers 200 years before them. In response to these difficulties faced by million of
Americans, Fraternal Benefit Societies, Mutual Benefit Associations, and Self Help Groups
developed in the United States during this time to provide members with financial
protection, a collective voice, and fraternal brotherhood.
The American fraternal benefit network began
with the organization the Ancient Order of United Workmen in Meadville, Pennsylvania on
October 27, 1868. The AOUW was founded by John Jordan Upchurch, a Mason, with
the aim of adjusting "all differences which may arise between employers and
employees, and to labor for the development of a plan of action that may be
beneficial to both parties, based on the eternal truth that the interests of
labor and capitol are equal and should receive equal protection." Each member paid $1 into the insurance fund to cover the
sum of not less than $500 in benefits
paid to a members dependents when he died. Each time a member died, $1 was due from the
surviving members to reestablish the fund. Fraternal benefits societies soon became quite
popular as a means of providing financial protection to working class people at an
affordable rate. Additionally, Fraternal benefits societies typically maintained a lodge
where members could meet together in a spirit of fraternalism and brotherhood.
In at least
one case - the Populist movement - the fraternity evolved into a powerful political
organization providing a voice for their members.
Although John Upchurch did not
intentionally seek to establish a new system of insurance, the seed of his
original idea was in fact planted. The crux of Upchurch's ideology was to
"bring together then conflicting social interests, capitol and labor, to
provide a means of arbitration with which to settle difficulties that were
constantly arising." However, that seed, once planted grew into the
tree of mutual protection, "under whose shelter millions today rest in
security from want and dependence."
The emblems and symbols used by the
AOUW are steeped in Masonic attributes, featuring the All-Seeing Eye, the Holy
Bible, Anchor and Square and Compasses, over which the motto "Charity, Hope
and Protection" are displayed. It even boasts of having three
independent degrees as a rite of passage into the order. Its membership
numbered in excess of 318,000 in 1895.
Quoted from an excerpt of a lecture
given by Upchurch defining the AOUW, the pervasiveness of the tenets of Masonry
are easily recognized, when he said, "Today we have members from the
highest professions and the lowest grades of mechanical labor. We come
into this organization on the same great level. It is not money, but it is
purity of character and uprightness that brings us here, and we can take each
brother by the hand as an equal. Brothers, in this organization we have
done more to harmonize the human family, high and low, than all the other
organizations that ever existed."
This AOUW Benefit Certificate #446
of 6 was issued to John Francis Merilees by the Grand Lodge of the Ancient Order
of Untied Workmen of the Province of Ontario, Canada. It is dated December
9, 1897, bears the seal of the Grand Lodge and Almonto Lodge No. 188 and
provides a death benefit of $1,000.00. The AOUW was the first fraternal
benefit society to provide life insurance to its members. This certificate
was found in the home of his son Kenneth following his passing and the family is
pleased to donate it to our museum for archiving and display.
AOUW Past Grand
This badge is over 3-1/2" tall and
1-3/4" wide. It is 14kt gold and weighs about 30 grams. It is engraved,
decorated and marked as follows: Top piece, front; Past District Deputy, 1881 Grand
1887, Master Workman Middle piece, front; Past Master Workman, J. Stewart Wilson
Lower piece, front; C. H. & P. and enameled A.O.U.W. across a nice enameled
flag shield. Middle piece, back; John Frick, NY, SOLID GOLD Lower piece, back;
Manhattan Lodge No. 149, New York City, and large fancy monogram J. S. W. This badge
is in like new condition in it's original box. There are no signs of damage. The box lid
however, has separated at the hinge. The box lining is marked John Frick, 6 Liberty Place,
Adamsville, Arizona A.O.U.W. Cemetery Clean Up Project
Ancient Order of United
Sisters and Brothers, I am about to open ... Lodge. The officers will assemble
at the Altar for the opening ceremony.
The Foreman, with Emblem, steps in front of his
station and stands there until joined by the others. The Overseer, with flag,
and the Past Master Workman, with Bible, march down their respective sides of
the hall, then across to Foreman’s station, where they will face up and all
three march abreast up center of hall to within about a pace of the Altar. As
they come up the hall the Master Workman and Guide march down center until
within about a pace from the Altar, all halt. The Guide takes position in the
rear of Master Workman and remains there until close of the ceremony.
We will now consecrate our Altar of Workmanship.
one pace forward, then one pace to the left, which brings him in front of the
Altar. He will then drape flag on the Altar, blue field toward head of hall
and to the left.
This is the symbol of out country’s greatness and I pledge to it each
Everyone present comes to salute and the organist will play the
refrain of the ‘Star Spangled Banner.’ At the close of the refrain Overseer
steps one pace to right and one pace backward to original position. Instead of
the refrain all present may repeat the oath of allegiance to flag, or both may
The Past Master Workman then steps one pace forward and one
pace to right bringing him in front of Altar. He will then place the Bible on
the flag, opening it in the center. This should be done slowly.
I place hereon God’s Supreme Law, which should be our guidance in all our
The organist will play the refrain of ‘Nearer My God To Thee’
and the officers will bow their heads in reverence while it is played. At the
close of the refrain the Past Master Workman steps one pace to left and one
pace backward to original position.
The Foreman then steps one pace forward and places Emblem on
I crown these with the Emblem of our Order, which typifies our aims and
The organist will play the refrain of ‘Home Sweet Home,’ and
the officers will stand at attention during the refrain. The Foreman then
steps one pace backward to original position.
Having reverently placed upon our Altar these symbols of our duties to God,
Country and Home we are now prepared to further the interests of humanity. The
officers will return to their Stations.
Officers about face and return to stations in the same manner
in which they approach the Altar. When all are at their stations the Master
Workman will seat the lodge.
Brother Foreman, you will see that the Watchmen are at their posts, that the
ante-room is clear and the lodge room is securely guarded.
Note: All members in the ante-room are requested to come into
the lodge room before the door is closed.
Brother Inside Watchman, you will notify the Outside Watchman that the Master
Workman is about to open this lodge and to guard against improper intrusion.
Inside Watchman opens door to ante-room, and standing in the
opening addresses the Outside Watchman as follows:
Outside Watchman, the Master Workman is about to open this lodge. See that the
outer door is securely guarded and the ante-room is clear.
After all members have entered the lodge room closes
door and reports: Brother Foreman. the lodge room is secure.
Master Workman, the Watchmen are at their posts and the lodge room is securely
Brother Guide, you will see if all present are entitled to sit in the lodge.
Guide first receives the password from the Master Workman, then
passing in front of Altar, but without giving the sign, begins at the left of
the Master Workman’s station and secures the semi-annual and permanent
passwords. If any members are without the password they are to be reported to
the Master Workman who will request the member to come to the station and
receive same. After examining all present the Guide will go to the Altar and
Master Workman, I find all present are qualified.
Sisters and Brothers, you will now exemplify the signs of the Order, observing
Brother Overseer. O. rises. What is the
Overseer gives it, followed by the members.
It is given at the Altar on entering or retiring from the lodge when it is in
session, crossing or re-crossing the room, or in addressing the Master
What is the Voting Sign?
Overseer gives it, followed by members.
How is it used?
It is used to decide all questions coming before the lodge for action.
What means of recognition have we to prove ourselves members?
By means of the Mystic Word.
What is the Mystic Word?
O., spelling out:
A – S – S – I – S – T - Assist.
What do the letters signify?
A Safe Solvent Institution Saves Trouble.
As we should ever look to the Supreme Master of the Universe for guidance and
support, let us be attentive while the Past Master Workman invokes the Divine
The Guide will escort the Past master Workman to the Altar, and
will stand about two paces in the rear while prayer is offered.
Almighty God, Our Heavenly father, meet with us and teach us the way of
sympathy and service. Indicate unto this lodge and its officers the right path
in all our deliberations, and make out of our Order a golden network of
Fraternity and Benevolence. Bless all our members tonight; draw near to those
who may be sick and comfort the widow and the fatherless. And unto Thy Name be
all Honor and Glory. Amen
At the conclusion of the prayer the Guide will escort the Past
Master Workman back to his station and then return to his own station.
Let us all join in singing the Opening Ode.
members, let us render
God, our Father dear,
Grateful praise for care so tender
the joy of meeting here
raise our hearts and voices
song of grateful praise,
His love each heart rejoices;
hath blest us all our days.
Brother Overseer, what is the first great principle of our Order?
The first great principle is CHARITY.
Brother Foreman, what is the second great principle of our Order?
The second great principle is HOPE.
Master Workman, what is the third great principle of our Order?
The third and greatest principle is PROTECTION.
Then in the name of CHARITY, HOPE AND PROTECTION I declare ... lodge
opened for the transaction of such business as may lawfully come before it.
*. Officers will be seated.
We will now
proceed with the regular order of business. Brother Recorder, you will call
the roll of officers and note the attendance.
Recorder calls roll and Guide will answer present or absent as
the case may be.
Brother Recorder, you will read the records of the last regular and special
Have the investigating Committees any report to
make. Are there any approved applicants to be balloted for?
Initiation of candidates.
there any applications for membership? Does any member know of a sick member
or a member’s family in distress needing our aid or sympathy? Brother Recorder
are there any communications, bills or notices to be presented at this time?
there any Standing Committees to report? Are there any Special Committees to
report? Nomination of officers.
Election of officers.
Brother Financier have there been any members suspended since our last
meeting; if so please report their names.
there been any members reinstated since our last meeting, if so please report
there any members in arrears for three months’ dues, if so please report their
names. Installation of officers.
there any unfinished business to be disposed of at this time?
any member any new business to bring before the lodge?
Brother Treasurer on what date was the last beneficiairy assessment forwarded
to the Grand Lodge?
any member anything to offer for the Good of the Order?
Recorder, are there any candidates for initiation?
Master Workman. I find the name of ... whose application has been duly
Brother Guide, you will retire to the ante-room with the Past Master Workman,
prepare the candidate and conduct him into the lodge room.
The Guide and Past Master Workman go to Altar, salute and
retire In the ante-room the candidate is taken one side and the Past Master
Workman will address him as follows:
My Friend, before you can be admitted to our Order it is necessary that you
give assent to the following declaration of principles:
The following is to be read to the candidate, either from the
book or from a printed or type-written copy mounted on a card.
believe in a Supreme Being, the Creator and Ruler of the Universe?
Do you subscribe to the principle that the
sanctity of the home should ever be preserved; that we should be charitable at
all times in our intercourse with the world at large; that Hope is the guiding
star to lead us forward toward a higher and better life; that Protection for
those we hold most dear should be the chief aim and object of every true man
and woman, and are you willing to do all in your power to assist in carrying
out these great principles?
Believing in the sincerity of your answers we will recommend that you be
admitted to the Ceremonies awaiting you.
Guide blindfolds candidate, leads him to door and gives three
raps. Note. Where ladies are candidates, or if lights can be sufficiently
dimnied, the blindfold may be omitted.
In answer to the alarm the Inside Watchman opens the door AND
KEEPS IT OPEN DURING THE PRELIMINARY PART OF THE WORK. The door is not to be
closed until after Guide with candidate enters. The Inside Watchman will stand
in the open door when addressing the Guide.
Who seeks admission at this portal?
The Guide and Past Master Workman, with a stranger, who having formed a
favorable opinion of our Order and subscribed to its principles, now seeks to
be admitted to full membership among us.
What assurance have we that he is worthy of our confidence?
The Past Master Workman will vouch for him.
You will wait until the Foreman is advised of this request.
Foreman: Brother Foreman, the Guide and Past Master Workman are at
the portal with a stranger who seeks to be admitted among us.
Those who would be admitted to our Order must be imbued with the high ideals
which actuate us all: the Protection of the home, which is the bulwark of the
Nation. Have we any assurance that this stranger is worthy?
He is vouched for by our Past Master Workman.
Then let the stranger be admitted that he may be taught the way of sympathy
and service as exemplified by CHARITY, HOPE AND PROTECTION.
By permission of our Foreman you may enter our Temple of Fraternity.
After they enter I.W. will close the door. Guide conducts
candidate around room to Altar, the P.M.W. dropping out as they pass his
station. At the Altar the Guide introduces candidate as follows:
Master Workman, through the recommendation of worthy members and the
permission of our Foreman, I present to you ... who has signified his desire
to be enrolled among us that his home may be placed beneath the broad shield
of our Protection.
My Friend, upon the Altar before you is the flag of our country, to which we
all owe allegiance; upon it rests the open Bible containing God’s Supreme Law;
upon the Bible is placed our Emblem, the Anchor and Shield. These typify the
cardinal principles of this Order. A belief in God, loyalty to Country and
love of Home. Under our rules you are required to take a solemn and binding
obligation, pledging yourself upon the symbols of these principles to follow
the high ideals which they represent. With this purpose in mind are you
willing to take such an obligation?
M.W. calls up the lodge and goes to Altar Foreman comes forward
and stands in rear of candidate. Overseer takes position at side of Altar
opposite his station. Past Master Workman takes position at side of Altar
opposite his station.
M.W. to candidate:
You will place your right hand over your heart, your left resting on the Holy
Bible and Emblem of our Order, say I. pronounce your name and repeat after me
the following: I, ..., in the presence of Almighty God and these witnesses, do
of my own free will and accord solemnly promise, that I will preserve the
secrets of this lodge and the Order. I will at all times render true and
faithful allegiance to the Grand Lodge of the Ancient Order of United Workmen
of Massachusetts; abide by and obey its constitution and laws, now in force or
that may hereafter be adopted, and the laws of the subordinate lodge in which
I may hold my membership. I will so far as lies within my power, labor to
extend the usefulness of the Order and increase its membership. I will be
charitable toward those less fortunate than myself, and will aid them to the
best of my ability, provided it be without injury to myself or family. I will
at all times speak well of the Order and its work, even though my membership
may cease. I will practice Fraternity, cultivate Hope and extend the influence
faithful performance of all this, upon these symbols of God, Country and Home,
I pledge my sacred honor. Amen.
M.W., stepping back a pace and addressing the members:
Sisters and Brothers you have heard the obligation taken.
We witness the pledge.
Note: If more than one candidate is to be initiated the Guide
will take one to lead and Assistant Guides will take the others. At this point
the Guide will bring his candidate to the front of Altar, the remaining
candidates being lined up in the rear Guide will have candidate cross left
hand over the right.
O., crossing left hand over right and grasping candidate’s left
hand with his right:
Your left hand is dedicated to CHARITY.
P.M.W., crossing left hand over right and grasping candidate’s
right hand with his left:
Your right hand to PROTECTION.
M.W. crosses left hand over right and grasps Overseer’s left
hand with his right and Past Master Workman’s right hand with his left.
And our HOPE strong and enduring in the prosperity and usefulness of our
Order, let our watchword; ever be:
CHARITY, HOPE AND PROTECTION.
Air: ‘Blessed Be the Tie That Binds’
with hand clasping hand,
welcome extending to you
Charity, Hope and Protection we stand,
these principles ever be true
Master Workman returns to station and seats lodge.
No more solemn obligation can be given than that which you have just
voluntarily assumed, and one which we have all taken. By this pledge you agree
to be charitable toward those with whom you come in contact; to practice
Fraternity, cultivate Hope and extend the influence of Protection Such
commendable principles are worthy of our best efforts, and in order that you
may more clearly understand them you will now make a pilgrimage, under the
direction of our Guide, which will be emblematic of the pilgrimage of life. We
trust the lessons taught you on this journey will’ more firmly impress upon
your mind the aims and objects of The Ancient Order of United Workmen of
Brother Guide, you will proceed with our friend upon this journey.
Guide closes hoodwinks if they are used, and conducts candidate around room
one or more times according to space. As they proceed the Guide will say:
My Friend, human life is uncertain and its pathway lies amid
dangers we cannot foresee. When we look back upon the dangers we have safely
passed we can face the future with courage undaunted.
At Overseer’s station chairs will be placed for Guide and
candidate. When Guide and candidate reach Overseer’s station the Overseer will
give one blow of the gavel.
Who passes this way?
Travelers on life’s journey.
The way is long, travelers, ere you reach the goal. Be seated therefore and
rest yourselves against the fatigues of the journey.
Guide and candidate will be seated. A Beggar slowly approaches.
A song may be used by him as he comes in, which finishes before he reaches the
Foreman’s station. This should be timed so that the Overseer will have an
opportunity to say the following lines before Beggar reaches his station.
Here comes an aged traveler. Evidently poor and friendless.
As Beggar is passing station:
Beg., stopping and facing Overseer:
Pity the sorrows of the poor and friendless. My journey through life is almost
over. A little aid is all I ask to help me on my way.
Let us give aid that the stranger may go on his way encouraged
Guide and Overseer place coins in Beggar’s hand. If candidate
responds Beggar places hand on his shoulder, if not he addresses Overseer and
Heaven bless you friends By your charity you. have lightened my burdens, and I
go on my way encouraged. Farewell: and may prosperity crown your efforts
Beggar retires slowly, watched by Guide and Overseer. When he
is some distance away the Guide will bring candidate in front of Overseer’s
station and that officer will address him as follows:
This scene my
friend, was to illustrate the first great principle of our Order: CHARITY. It
is one of the corner stones in our Temple of Fraternity. We consider it not
only a privilege but a sacred duty for each to lend the other a helping hand
in adversity and distress; to point out the pleasant paths of life; to share
the blessings that are bestowed on His children by an All-wise Father, or to
sympathize with them in their sorrows True Charity does not consist simply in
alms-giving, but in its broader sense means the cultivation of a spirit of
tolerance for the frailties of human nature; and when the members are called
to the Celestial Lodge Above, teaches us to keep a lively recollection of
their virtues and to bury all their imperfections beneath the mound that marks
their last resting place. Let us so labor that our unselfish and kindly acts
will gladden and bless our homes and loved ones, and their genial influence
and example, like the waves of the ocean, will extend and broaden until they
touch the threshold of every home.
you ever remember the lesson of CHARITY, and apply it in its more liberal
interpretation in your intercourse with the world at large.
Brother Guide, proceed with our friend upon your journey and may no evil
befall you on the way.
Guide closes hoodwinks and conducts candidate around the hall.
As they pass the Foreman’s station a member representing HOPE, with a small
anchor, falls in be-lund and accompanies them. As they proceed the Guide will
We are passing God’s Acre, within whose borders lie the remains
of those who lived as you now live, but who have answered the summons of the
Grim Reaper and taken their places in the silent city of the dead.
Pause The way grows narrow: Let us quicken
our steps that we may reach a haven of refuge ere night overtakes us.
Just before reaching Foreman’s station a member representing
Death, armed with a sword, steps out and confronts candidate Pointing sword at
his breast. Care must be taken not to get too close to candidate; paint of
sword should be about three feet from candidate. As Death points sword he will
Halt! Whom have we here?
Peaceful travelers seeking a passage through the valley.
This is Death’s Valley, and you cannot pass the confines of my domain.
stepping in front of candidate and facing Death: Stand aside and let these
travelers depart in peace.
Who are you to make demands of Death?
I represent HOPE which is a divine attribute that will eventually overcome all
obstacles, even triumph over Death itself.
Holding Anchor up to Death:
Hope commands you Stand aside!
Death cringes from the Anchor and as Hope advances a few steps
holding Anchor aloft Death retreats. Hope then returns to candidate and holds
the Anchor out to him:
Anchor, which is the symbol of Hope, and I will conduct you safely through the
perils of Death’s
Candidate grasps anchor, and with the Guide is led by Hope to
the Foreman’s station. He will then take anchor and retire or be seated at
right or left of the station.
Who passes this way?
Travelers on life’s journey, who with the aid of HOPE have escaped the dangers
of Death’s Valley.
My Friend, the experience you have just passed through is symbolic of the HOPE
which springs eternal in the human breast. It is the second great principle of
our Order, and is represented in our Emblem by the Anchor. which has ever been
a symbol of Hope to the storm tossed mariner on life’s tempestuous sea. HOPE,
sublime, is the divine gift of God to His children, and inspires in every
heart renewed courage and a determination to fresh exertions in the World’s
work for the good of humanity Hope in immortal life robs death of its terrors
and leads us ever upward and onward toward the sun: crowned hills, to that
city not made with hands, “Eternal in the Heavens”. When clouds lower and the
road seems dark and drear, HOPE like a beacon light sends its message of cheer
to brighten our pathway. You will soon stand upon the highest level of our
Fraternal Home, and we trust this lesson will ever remain stamped upon the
tablets of your memory May you go forth on life’s journey better equipped to
do the work of our Fraternity because both heart and mind are imbued with the
true spirit of HOPE.
Brother Guide, proceed with our friend upon your journey, and may you escape
the dangers that lurk upon the highway.
Guide closes hoodwinks and resumes journey around the hall As
they pass the Past Master Workman’s station a member representing PROTECTION,
armed with a shield, falls in behind and accompanies them. As they proceed the
Guide will say:
We are now
nearing the end of our journey. Pause.
A storm is gathering in the West and the sky is overcast with dark clouds.
Storm effects may be introduced here. The
hour grows late. Pause. Let us make
haste. Quickens steps.
Just before reaching the Past Master Workman’s station a member
representing POVERTY, armed with a rough staff, steps out and raising staff
threateningly halts candidate. The candidate should be about three feet away
Halt! Whom have we here?
Peaceful travelers on life’s journey, seeking safe pas sage through the
I am POVERTY AND DISTRESS, and you cannot pass the confines of my domain.
Why do you seek to hold up peaceful travelers?
This is the Valley of Despair, and none may escape who have failed to protect
those dependent upon them.
Protec’n, stepping in front of candidate:
These travelers are protected by The Ancient Order of United Workmen of
Massachusetts. Behold the Shield, our emblem of PROTECTION!
Raises shield. Under its broad shelter the
families of its members are safe from your clutches Stand aside in the name of
that PROTECTION we invoke!
Holding Shield in front of him Protection slowly forces Poverty
back until he is out of the way The Guide then proceeds with candidate to the
Past Master Workmans station.
Who passes this way so late.
Travelers on life’s journey, who with the aid of our Shield of Protection have
passed safely through the Valley of Despair.
My Friend, the scene you have just witnessed and in which you took part, was
intended to impress upon your mind the fate awaiting your loved ones if left
without adequate provision for their welfare in case of your death.
Order regards a life of usefulness as a primary duty of every member, and it
is therefore called THE ANCIENT ORDER OF UNITED WORKMEN. Though of
comparatively recent origin its foundation principles are as ancient as the
World itself. The greatest of these principles is PROTECTION. It is the
culmination of all fraternal activities, and is a bulwark of defense against
the assaults of poverty and distress. The Creator of the Universe might have
made man independent, but as dependence is one of the strongest bonds of
society, men were made dependent on each other for protection, thereby
enjoying better opportunities of ful-filling the duties of reciprocal love and
friendship. Thus we have Societies, Communities, States and Nations, all bound
together by strong ties of mutual interest,: the protection of the home. Our
protection is the sunshine that dries the tears of grief, takes fear from the
human heart, the grasp of poverty from the home, and bids the wide and
startled eyes of orphanhood to no longer fear the darkening clouds of
adversity. It awakens that benevolent instinct in our natures which imparts to
the giver consolation, and instills in the recipient the most sacred gratitude
of the soul. The carrying out of this worthy purpose and guarding it so that
it may never fail is an important duty of every member. PROTECTION then, is
our chief aim and object, as through protection of the home our worries are
lessened, our energies are conserved, and the problem of life is short of its
terrors. Be true to this principle and never, through any act of carelessness
or willfulness on your part, allow this Protection to be taken from your home
and loved ones. Brother Guide, proceed with our friend to the station of the
Master Workman, there to receive final instructions.
Guide conducts candidate around hall to Master Workman’s
station, where he will introduce him as follows:
Master Workman, the traveler has returned.
My Brother, I welcome your safe return from your journeying, and trust that
the instructions you have received will bear good fruit. Poverty and distress
are powerless to work their evil influences where the home is under the
protecting shield of our Order. May these lessons sink deep into your heart,
and may you journey along life’s pathway with CHARITY for all, the spirit of
HOPE in your breast, and a determination to spread the doctrine of PROTECTION
as exemplified by our Order, among all with whom you come in contact.
now instruct you in the secret work of the Order that you may prove yourself a
member when visiting lodges other than your own.
secret work consists of an alarm at the outer and inner doors, a semi-annual
password; permanent password, salutation sign, voting sign; and means of
recognition. The passwords are given only to members in good standing by the
Master Workman, or by some one authorized by him to communicate them, and are
always to be given in a whisper or at a low breath. Desiring to enter at lodge
while it is in session you will give one rap or one pull of the bell, if there
be one, at the outer door; but any alarm will be attended to. On hearing the
alarm the Outside Watchman will open the door or wicket and obtain from you
the semi-annual password of the current term, which will now be communicated
to von by the Guide, he first receiving it from me.
Guide gets word from M.W. and whispers it to
candidate. This pass-word will admit you to the ante-room, where
you will clothe yourself in proper regalia, advance to the inner or lodge room
door and give three raps. This alarm will attract the attention of the Inside
Watchman, who will open the wicket, when you will communicate to him in a
whisper the permanent password. which is ... This password proving correct the
Inside Watchman will admit you. You will then advance by right or left to the
Altar, face the Master Workman and give the Salutation Sign, which is made as
follows: Right hand by the side fingers extended, close the thumb in the palm
of the hand, raise the arm and touch the center of the breast with the tips of
the extended fingers, then drop the hand to the side The Master Workman will
acknowledge your salutation by giving the same sign, you will then be seated.
Should you desire to speak, to make or second a motion, you will rise, address
the Master Workman, give the Salutation Sign and wait to be recognized, when
you will have permission to speak. Should you desire to cross or recross the
room while the lodge is in session von will advance to the Altar, face the
Master Workman, give the Salutation Sign and pass on. No wait is made at the
Altar for answer by the Master Workman. Care must be taken however, in
crossing or re-crossing the room never to pass between the Altar and the
station of the Master Workman except in initiation or installation ceremonies.
Should you desire to retire before the lodge is closed you will advance to the
Altar, face the Master Workman and give the Salutation Sign, the Master
Workman will answer your salutation and the Inside Watchman will allow you to
depart. This sign is never to be given until after the lodge has been declared
open, nor after it has been declared closed, nor at public meetings. We have a
Voting Sign which is used to decide all questions that may come before the
lodge for action, and is made as follows: Close the thumb of the right hand in
the palm thereof, raise the hand to the height of shoulder, back of the hand
outward; then drop the hand.
of Recognition: Members visiting a lodge other than their own may prove
themselves by giving the Mystic Word, which is “Assist”. The manner in which
it is given and received will be exemplified by the Master Workman and Guide,
the Master Workman acting as the challenging member.
Guide: Brother Guide, what is the
G., spelling word:
What do the letters signify?
A Safe Solvent Institution Saves Trouble.
This means of recognition may also be used if you wish to make yourself known
outside the lodge room or to satisfy yourself that some other person is a
member. The challenging member will ask the questions and the person
challenged will give the answers in accordance with the form we have just
use of the Gavel. The Gavel is an instrument of authority and in the hands of
the Master Workman controls the movements of the members. One rap (*) calls
the lodge to order or seats it when standing; two raps (**) call up the
officers; three raps (***) call up the entire lodge; one rap (*) the lodge
will be seated.
I now take pleasure in presenting you with this Emblem, the Anchor and Shield.
In ancient times the shield was used as a means of defence against the attacks
of an enemy, and is therefore emblematic of PROTECTION. It rests upon the
Anchor which symbolizes HOPE. This is to remind us that, as the Anchor is
embedded in the firm ground of fraternal helpfulness, over all is the Shield
of our PROTECTION, which secures the future comfort of our loved ones through
the medium of THE ANCIENT ORDER OF UNITED WORKMEN OF MASSACHUSETTS. As a
constant reminder of your membership in and your duty to the Order, wear this
Emblem with honor to yourself and credit to the principles it represents.
present you with a copy of our laws for your information and future guidance;
also an application blank, which we trust you will have signed by some friend
and present at the next meeting of the lodge in order that they also may enjoy
that Protection which is now yours. Down through the ages mankind has
endeavored to develop a higher type of civilization, and in the accomplishment
of this worthy purpose the underlying principles of fraternalism have ever
been an important factor. To live uprightly, deal justly and promote harmony
and friendliness with our neighbors is one of the fundamentals of the true
fraternalist. It is the great lesson taught us in the Golden Rule of Life: “As
ye would that others should do unto you do ye even so unto them”. This sacred
injunction is upon every member, and only by observing this rule in all its
fullness can we hope to attain those high ideals set forth by the great Leader
of all mankind. Let us so live that when our summons comes to pass from time
to eternity, our ministering angels will waft us in spirit to that haven of
rest and peace, among the “Mansions of the Blessed,” where our loved ones gone
before will stand with outstretched arms to give us welcome.
And now in behalf of this lodge and the Order I extend to you a hearty and
fraternal greeting. Brother Guide, you will conduct this brother to the Altar
where you will introduce him to the members present; after which you will
conduct him to the desk of the Recorder, there to complete his membership.
Guide escorts candidate to Altar, taking position a few paces
from same, and introduces candidate as follows:
Brothers, I take pleasure in introducing to you Brother ...
The candidate as name is mentioned
will step forward and give the Salutation Sign. If there is more than one
candidate the same rule will apply; each candidate when introduced will step
forward and salute, then step back to place. When the introduction is finished
the Guide will conduct candidate to desk of the Recorder to complete
membership by signing application for certificate, after which the Guide will
see that candidate is provided with a seat. The Guide must never leave a
candidate alone on the floor during the initiation, nor until final completion
Note: If hoodwinks are used they are kept closed until the
candidate is first brought to the Overseer’s station when they are opened and
remain so until after the Overseer’s lecture. On leaving the station they are
closed until Death appears when they are opened and remain so until after the
Foreman’s charge. On leaving that station the hoodwinks are closed until
Poverty appears, when they are opened and remain open during the rest of the
ceremony, or may be removed altogether on reaching the Past Master Workman’s
Sisters and Brothers, I am about to close ... Lodge. Brother Foreman you will
allow no one to depart until we have concluded the ceremony.
Master Workman, your instructions will be observed.
Brother Financier, how much have you received for the various funds since our
last meeting, and have you turned same over to the Treasurer?
I have received in the Beneficiary Fund $ ..., General Fund $ ... (Any other
funds, naming them $ ...) Total $ and I have turned same over to the Treasurer
Brother Treasurer, how much have you paid out from the various funds since our
last meeting, and what are the balances?
Paid out from the Beneficiary Fund $ ..., General Fund $ ..., (Any other funds,
naming them, $ ...). Total payments $ ...
balance in the Beneficiary Fund $ ..., General Fund $ ... (Any other funds,
naming them, $ ...). Total balance $ ...
The members will be attentive while our Past Master Workman invokes the Divine
escorts Past Master Workman to Altar as
in opening ceremony.
Father, dismiss us with thoughts of peace and feelings of good will. Crown our
actions with Thy blessing. Strengthen our hearts to love and our hands to serve.
Bless our homes and our dear ones; keep Thy servants from want, from sickness
and from danger, and bring them safely into that beautiful land of rest. And to
Thy name eternal praise AMEN. Guide
escorts Past Master Workman
back to station and returns to his own.
Let us all join heartily in singing our closing Ode
“A old Lang Syne”)
members now we join our hands
hearts in sweet accord,
the work our life demands
strength to each afford
to each this pledge we give,
Order to maintain;
binds us all where’ere we live,
The officers will assemble at the Altar for the Closing Ceremony.
Note - Some member should be detailed to act as assistant to the
Guide for the Closing Ceremony. The officers will approach the Altar as in the
Opening Ceremony. The assistant to the Guide will march down on the left of the
Master Workman and the Guide on the right. They will halt about one pace to the
rear of the Master Workman, one on each side, and remain until the flag is to be
Brother Foreman, F. steps forward to Altar
I commit to your keeping the Emblem of our Order.
Hands Emblem to Foreman.
I accept the trust, and may its influence never wane.
Organist plays the refrain of “Home Sweet Home’ and officers
stand at attention. At close of refrain, Foreman steps back to place. The Master
Workman closes Bible and takes it from the Altar, then addresses P.W.M. as
Brother Past Master Workman, P.M.W.
steps in front of Altar I give into your keeping the Holy Bible.
Hands book to P.M.W.
I accept the
trust, and may its precepts ever be our guide and support.
Organist plays refrain of “Nearer My God To Thee” and officers
bow their heads in reverence. At close of refrain P.M.W. steps back to place.
The Guide and his assistant immediately
step forward, one on each side of Altar and fold flag as follows: Each take hold
of the flag and fold it once a third of its width, then a second fold
lengthwise, then assistant folds his end over and the Guide his, until flag is
laid on the Altar with only the blue field up. The Guide and assistant then step
back to place. The Master Workman takes the folded flag on his two hands and
Overseer, O. steps forward I intrust to
your keeping our Nation’s Standard.
Places flag on Overseer’s two hands.
I accept the sacred trust, and may our loyalty to this flag be exemplified by
our devotion to the principles of true Americanism.
Organist plays refrain of “Star Spangled Banner” and the members
come to salute. At close of refrain the Overseer steps back to place.
The officers will return to their stations.
Officers about face and return to stations in same manner as in
Sisters and Brothers, let us depart from this lodge room with a firm
determination to live up to all our obligations as Workmen. Let us seek to throw
the mantle of PROTECTION over the homes of those not already provided, and let
the active spirit of CHARITY and HOPE guide us on to the end.
declare this lodge closed until the next regular meeting which will be on ...