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The Ancient Order of United Workmen (AOUW) Ceremonial Sword

$295.00

Description

The Ancient Order of United Workmen (AOUW) Ceremonial Sword, made by Foster & Son, Chicago, IL.

The Ancient Order of United Workmen (AOUW) was a fraternal organization in the United States and Canada, providing mutual social and financial support after the American Civil War. It was the first of the “fraternal benefit societies”, organizations that would offer insurance as well as sickness, accident, death and burial policies.

The order began when John Jordan Upchurch, a mechanic on the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad living in Meadville, Pennsylvania, became dissatisfied with a group he had joined, the League of Friendship, Mechanical Order of the Sun.  The latter society had established a lodge, called a subordinate League, in Meadville on April 20, 1868, and its membership was composed almost entirely of mechanics, engineers, firemen and day labors working on the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad and in the local shops.

Upchurch joined the local lodge on June 16, its eighth meeting, and soon rose to become its presiding officer. Another person who would go on to have an important role in the AOUW, William W. Walker, was a charter member. The League of Friendship, Mechanical Order of the Suns avowed purpose was to advance and foster the interests of its members and provide financial assistance on an ad hoc basis. The local lodge was reported to have had a peak membership of about one hundred. Dissension began, apparently, over accusations of improper conduct on part of the Grand Council, the governing body of the League. After the Grand Council ordered a tax from the Meadville League that members thought was inappropriate, many members left. On October 27, 1868, the subordinate League decided to disband.

 

 

Additional information

Weight 60 oz
Dimensions 30 × 10 × 6 in

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