Ancient Order of United Workmen

From Kook Science

Ancient Order of United Workmen
Motto "Alterum Alterius Auxilio Eget" ("Each Needs the Help of the Other")
Formation 27 October 1868
Meadville, Pennsylvania
Dissolution 1952 (as national organisation; Grand Lodges continued to operate independently)
Purpose/focus Mutual benefit society
Membership 320,000 (in 1895)

The Ancient Order of United Workmen (A.O.U.W.) was a North American fraternal benefit society, formed by John Jordan Upchurch in 1868 at Meadville, Pennsylvania. Its main practical purpose was the offering of health and life insurance policies to members who were largely drawn from the white working class.


See our page on Lodges of the A.O.U.W. for index of local Lodges

The United Workmen were organised into local Lodges, presided over by a Master Workman and their officers, each lodge existing under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge on the state or provincial level (or the directly under the Supreme Lodge where no Grand Senate existed).


Degree of Honor (D. of H.) lodges were organised as a women's auxiliary, "intended to promote union, sympathy and friendship among the wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters of members of the Order."[1] The D. of H. lodges would eventually form their own Superior Lodge in 1896, and by 1910 became an independent organisation, the Degree of Honor Protective Association.

Further Degrees

In addition to the main set of four (later reduced to three) degrees within the A.O.U.W. ritual, members could further opt to take an endowment rank, the Grand Legion of Select Knights, for extended insurance. A side degree known as the Ancient Order of Adhesive Mogullians, intended to "furnish amusement as well as substantial benefits"[2] (and likely mainly the former), was likewise instituted by certain humour-minded members.



  1. "XV. Degree of Honor", Digest of the Constitutions, Laws and Decisions of the Ancient Order of United Workmen: As Adpoted by the Supreme Lodge, at Its Seventh Annual Session, at Nashville, Tenn, March, 1879, Ancient Order United Workmen, Supreme Lodge, 1879, p. 98,, retrieved 2016-06-17 
  2. Stevens, Albert C., ed. (1907), "Ancient Order of United Workmen", The Cyclopædia of Fraternities (2 ed.), New York: E.B. Treat and Co., p. 221,;view=1up;seq=157, retrieved 2016-06-17, "In imitation of the so-called Masonic "side degree," the Workmen, who, by the way, are not necessarily artisans, and in no sense constitute a trades union, confer what is officially entitled the Order of Mogullians. This is said to furnish amusement as well as substantial benefits."