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Insurance (No Gecko)

The Woodmen of the World was founded in Omaha, Nebraska, on June 6, 1890. It was open to white males ages 18 to 45, excluding men in dangerous employment [e.g. gunpowder factory workers]. As an insurance organization, its membership costs were minor and each member was guaranteed a tombstone. In 1899, the tree stump was adopted for the official tombstone to represent equality. These “treestone” memorials were made locally, most often a concrete stump.

Women of Woodcraft Charter, 1902

 

 

 

Women of Woodcraft was the female counterpart to the Woodmen. They organized in 1897. The Leadville Chapter, Violet No. 1, became the national headquarters in 1902. On March 1, 1902, the Kinnikinick No. 453 Chapter organized in Red Cliff. The charter for this chapter is now hanging in the Red Cliff Museum.

 

 

Women of Woodcraft Officers: Guardian Neighbor, Past Guardian Neighbor, Magician

The Women of Woodcraft in Red Cliff had officers [Guardian Neighbor, Past Guardian Neighbor, Magician] and had the same ceremony and rituals as prescribed by the national headquarters.

 

 

 

 

 

During meetings, the ceremonial \"fire\" was lit.  During meetings, the ceremonial fire was “lit” while business was conducted.

 

 

 

Ballot box, marbles, and clickers.

 

Nominated members could be accepted or rejected by using white or black marbles in a ballot box.  A black marble was rejection or being “black balled.”  Children could be accepted and by the time a child reached 18, an insurance nest egg of $250-$500 could be cashed in for education or other purposes.

 

The women also had drill teams which competed with other chapters in the state. Clickers were used to indicate drill movements.

Below, the ten members of the Red Cliff Neighbors of Woodcraft Drill Team are lined up with their spears. All are in formal length white gowns with corsages at the left shoulder and wearing pearl necklaces.

From left to right: Annie Snow, Marie Warren, Marie Edwards, Beth Squires, Pearl Lewis, Joy Dump, Dorothy McDonald, Johanna Fear, Lorna Warren, Pearl Mize (Captain)
Red Cliff Neighbors of Woodcraft Drill Team are lined up with their spears.

 

In 1917, the name was changed to Neighbors of Woodcraft and in 2001, the Neighbors merged back with Woodmen of the World.

 

In Red Cliff, the Neighbors of Woodcraft met in the old frame schoolhouse at 403 Pine Street (across from the Red Cliff School built in 1937).  It is still standing.

Old Frame Schoolhouse at 403 Pine Street. It is still standing.

Thanks to Robert Trezise for sharing his knowledge and the Neighbors of Woodcraft mementos.

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