Except for a few that are owned by my
sister’s employer, Bob Oliver, or well known for other reasons,
I can truthfully say that I have never “looked up” to see names
on buildings around the square. And, just as I used to pass by
the Monument; knowing full well it was there, but not stopping
to really look at it, I had no idea that the buildings around
the square speak volumes of the history of Winchester.
Even though I have become very interested in the historical, I
still tend to think of Winchester in terms of my lifetime. What
it was like when I was a kid and what it is like now; what we
wish we could recreate and what we feel could be improved.
So, it was with a bit of surprise that the day of the Dickens on
the Square event, I was walking in front of the A&B when I
“looked up” at the building across the street. It used to house
the Winchester House and now stands empty. At the very top was
the date 1901 and under it was a crest. Imp. O. R. M read the
initials, crossed hatchets underneath and T.O.T.E. at the
bottom. How was it that I never looked up to see that crest on
the building? I crossed the street to look at the cornerstone.
The names were worn, but I could clearly see that there was an
inscription Mohawk No. 72.
|As soon as I returned to my mom’s I started searching the
internet for those letters and it very soon that discovered that
it stands for Improved Order of Red Men; the oldest fraternal
organization in the United States. There are still chapters
around the US and a few in Indiana, so I wrote to, David Lintz,
the current director of the Red Men Museum and Library. He was
very quick to respond:
• The Mohawk Tribe No. 72 was formed in Winchester in 1884.
• The building was built in 1901, and the chapter was defunct by
1940. It is unknown when the chapter closed.
• In 1900, they were shown as meeting in Miller’s Block, which I
think was on Franklin Street
• After 1902, they began meeting in what was known as Red Men’s
Block, which would have been in their building on North Main
• In the 30s, membership in the “Tribe” was known to have over
• Some of the earlier Chiefs of Records (tribe secretaries) were
• J. H. Twibell
• Charles Favorite
• Emil Newman
• John C. Meier
• Edgar Murray
• S. D. Fox
• Some of these names sounded familiar from past research, so I
asked Monisa, our “go to” resource if she had information on any
of these men.
• Charles Favorite came to Winchester at the age of 19, and
later brought his parents to live there. He was a blacksmith and
carriage builder. He designed and built a School Car that sold
in Michigan, Ohio and all the way West to Washington State. He
died in 1913.
• John C. Meier – came to Winchester from Germany. He was father
to Alma Meier Price, Irene Meier, Davis Brumfield. He operated a
bakery and died July 1917
• Samuel D. Fox – He arrived in Winchester in 1860 and was a
stonecutter for Daniel Hoffman, He was a member of three lodges
in town plus the GAR. He served as City Clerk for 16 years after
he left his career as a stonecutter. He passed away in January
of 1915 and was very well thought of.
All three of the above men are buried in Fountain Park Cemetery.
Freedom * Friendship * Charity
Who Are The Red Men?
The fraternity traces its origins back to 1765 and is descended
from the Sons of Liberty. These patriots concealed their
identities and worked "underground" to help establish freedom
and liberty in the early Colonies. They patterned themselves
after the great Iroquois Confederacy and its democratic
governing body. Their system, with elected representatives to
govern tribal councils, had been in existence for several
After the War of 1812 the name was changed to the Society of Red
Men and in 1834 to the Improved Order of Red Men. They kept the
customs and terminology of Native Americans as a basic part of
the fraternity. Some of the words and terms may sound strange,
but they soon become a familiar part of the language for every
member. The Improved Order of Red Men (IORM) is similar in many
ways to other major fraternal organizations in the United
The Improved Order of Red Men is a national fraternal
organization that believes in…
• Love of and respect for the American Flag.
• Preserving our Nation by defending and upholding the principle
of free Government.
• America and the democratic way of life.
• Preserving the traditions and history of this great Country.
• Creating and inspiring a greater love for the United States of
• Helping our fellow men through organized charitable programs.
• Linking our members together in a common bond of Brotherhood
• Perpetuating the beautiful legends and traditions of a
once-vanishing race and the keeping alive some of the
traditional customs, ceremonies, and philosophies.
Legally, The Improved Order of Red Men is a patriotic fraternity
chartered by Congress. It is a non-profit organization devoted
to inspiring a greater love for the United States of America and
the principles of American Liberty.
History of the Red Men
The Improved Order of Red Men traces its origin to certain
secret patriotic societies founded before the American
Revolution. They were established to promote Liberty and to defy
the tyranny of the English Crown. Among the early groups were:
The Sons of Liberty, the Sons of St. Tammany, and later the
Society of Red Men.
On December 16, 1773 a group of men, all members of the Sons of
Liberty, met in Boston to protest the tax on tea imposed by
England. When their protest went unheeded, they disguised
themselves as Mohawk Indians, proceeded to Boston harbor, and
dumped overboard 342 chests of English tea.
During the Revolutionary War, members of secret societies
quenched their council fires and took up muskets to join with
the Continental Army. To the cause of Freedom and Liberty they
pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors. At
the end of the hard fought war the American Republic was born
and was soon acknowledged among the nations of the world.
Following the American Revolution many of the various secret
societies founded before and during the conflict continued in
existence as brotherhoods or fraternities.
For the next 35 years, however, each of the original Sons of
Liberty and Sons of St. Tamina groups went their own way, under
many different names. In 1813, at historic Fort Mifflin, near
Philadelphia, several of these groups came together and formed
one organization known as the Society of Red Men. The name was
changed to the Improved Order of Red Men in Baltimore in 1834.
At Baltimore, Maryland, in 1847, the various local tribes came
together and formed a national organization called the Grand
Council of the United States.
With the formation of a national organization, the Improved
Order of Red Men soon spread, and within 30 years there were
State Great Councils in 21 states with a membership of over
150,000. The Order continued to grow and by the mid-1920s there
were tribes in 46 states and territories with a membership
totaling over one-half million.
Today, The Improved Order of Red Men continues to offer all
patriotic Americans an organization that is pledged to the high
ideals of Freedom, Friendship, and Charity. These are the same
ideals on which the American nation was founded. By belonging to
this proud and historic organization you can demonstrate your
desire to continue the battle started at Lexington and Concord
to promote Freedom and protect the American Way of Life.
Goals of the Red Men
To promote patriotism and the American Way of Life, to provide
social activities for the members, and support various
charitable programs. Our activities include:
• Flag Recognition Program — A program to honor those patriotic
Americans who display the flag regularly.
• Faith Of Our Fathers Chapel — Chapel erected at Freedoms
Foundation at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, to memorialize the
ideals and principles of our founding fathers.
• Annual Pilgrimage To Faith Of Our Fathers Chapel — Annual
meeting to renew and strengthen our beliefs in the American Way
• Children with Cognitive, Intellectual, and Developmental
Disabilities Program — Support of various projects and programs
of the ARC (formerly Association for Retarded Citizens) and
• Red Men's Day At Arlington National Cemetery — Annual ceremony
to honor our unknown soldiers and all brave Americans who have
fallen in battle to protect our Freedom.
• Red Men's Week — Week of December 16th, designated as National
Red Men's Week, commemorating the Boston Tea Party in 1773.
The National Charity project of the Improved Order of Red Men is
Alzheimer's research. Since 1991, the Organization has given
over two million dollars to the Alzheimer's Association.
Alzheimer's disease knows no social or economic boundaries; but
it does incline heavily toward older people, affecting seven to
nine percent of Americans over the age of 65, yet it strikes
those in their 40s and 50s as well. Indeed, some of our own
members have been stricken with this dreaded disease. Our
members not only give generously, but also work with local
Alzheimer's Chapters across the nation.
I have never heard of this organization, and there is some
debate over their origin, but I now know that the week of
December 16 is designated as National Red Men’s Week in honor
commemorating the anniversary of the Boston Tea party in 1773.
Winchester history never ceases to amaze me and I think I would
do well to “look up” a little more.