What Is the History of the Woodmen of the World?

The Woodmen of the World is a fraternal organization that has been in existence since the late 1800s. Founded on June 6, 1890, in Omaha, Nebraska, by Joseph Cullen Root, the organization aimed to provide financial help and support for its members and their families. The history of the Woodmen of the World is rich and varied, with many notable events and milestones.

Root’s Inspiration

Joseph Cullen Root was inspired to create the Woodmen of the World after attending a speech by a colleague who discussed the benefits of fraternal organizations. At that time, many men worked in dangerous jobs such as logging and mining, which made it difficult for them to obtain life insurance or other forms of financial protection for their families. Root believed that a fraternal organization could provide this protection while also promoting social connections between members.

Early Years

The Woodmen of the World grew quickly in its early years and soon became one of the largest fraternal organizations in America. By 1900, it had over 200,000 members across the country. The organization provided life insurance policies to its members and also promoted community service through events like parades and picnics.

The Symbolism Behind “Woodmen”

The name “Woodmen” was chosen because of its connection to logging, which was a common occupation at the time. The organization’s logo featured an ax and a log cabin to further emphasize this connection.

Growth and Expansion

In addition to providing financial protection for its members, the Woodmen of the World also played an important role in supporting communities across America. During World War I, it raised funds for war efforts and supported soldiers through care packages and other initiatives. The organization also played an important role in founding hospitals and schools throughout America.

Becoming an Important Part of American Culture

The Woodmen of the World became an important part of American culture during the early 20th century. Its members participated in parades and other events across the country, and its logo was featured on everything from postcards to advertisements.

Modern Day

Today, the Woodmen of the World continues to provide financial protection for its members and their families. It has also expanded its mission to include community service initiatives and support for charitable organizations. The organization remains committed to promoting social connections between members and serving as a positive force in communities across America.

The Symbolic Meaning Behind the Headstones

One notable aspect of the Woodmen of the World is the distinctive headstones that can be found in cemeteries across America. These headstones feature a tree stump with an ax embedded in it, symbolizing a life cut short. The headstones are often inscribed with phrases like “Dum Tacet Clamat” (though silent, he speaks) or “Here Rests in Honored Glory An American Soldier Known But to God.”

  • Conclusion:

The history of the Woodmen of the World is a fascinating one that spans over a century. From its humble beginnings as a fraternal organization providing financial protection for its members, it has grown into an important part of American culture.

Today, it continues to promote social connections between members while also supporting charitable organizations and community service initiatives. With its distinctive headstones and commitment to serving others, it remains an enduring symbol of hope and support for people across America.