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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Secret Societies I Have Known...That Are Not That Secret (updated)

I've written about sorta secret societies before...Click here

Woodmen of the World 1907

I found this in a closet in the basement of a home in Trumbull, CT. Under some heavy floor tiles was an old poster with colorful illustrations of some detail. It was in poor condition, as though someone tried to extract it without removing the tile. Once freed and seeing a date of 1907 and I knew I had to have it.    

There are numerous fraternal Socities, more than I can count. Many were secret and recently I discovered this very old one that is no longer secret…to me. 

A man by the name of JC Root established a society whose main in goal was to do good, protect the defenseless and also sell insurance. It’s not hard to determine which goal came first, but it worked, because Woodmen of the World Insurance is still around. 

The Woodman Tower in Nebraska was the tallest building in Omaha, until recently. 

These sections of their souvenir poster from the society tell the tale of their origin and purpose in a few short passages. Our story begins with the woodman himself:

He is there to raise and support a family and carry out the goals of the organization, but who knows what is in store for him?

Time passes and he, like the mighty oak, must fall, but who is left behind? Has he planned for the end and the afterward? Of course he has, for he is a Woodman of the World!

His debt is paid and he will be sent to his final reward, not alone, but with the support of his fellow Woodmen. His family is secure and his headstone is paid for and what a proud and noble structure it is. 

Woodmen of the World was JC Root's second incarnation of his idea, having originally started Modern Woodmen of the World, he became dissatisfied and left to start this one.  though it started out providing headstones to members upon their death grew to provide many more forms of coverage benefits. 

This one that was based out of Bridgeport may have disbanded but there is at least one other in my state and you may already know of the one in yours. 

UPDATE:  After posting this I had several good commentators reach out to inform me that this was no secret society and the changes to the text above reflect that.  If the New Haven chapter would reach out to me I would gladly hand this piece over to them.

Update 2: A good friend told me that his mother had worked for the Woodmen and left there with this glowing recommendation (below) Thanks Gene!


  1. The Woodmen were all over Nebraska. There was a chapter in Loomis, the town I grew up in. The Woodmen Hall 100 years ago was where most social gatherings in the village were. They even showed movies in the hall. In Omaha they founded radio station WOW (now KXSP) and TV station WOW (now WOWT). They had to sell the stations in the 50s. It is still headquartered in Omaha, The Woodmen Tower was Omaha's tallest building from 1969-2002.

  2. Thanks Tim! I would like to approach the chapter(s) in CT and see if they would like this poster. Thanks for filling in the blanks in my research.

  3. I have that same Woodmen of the World Poster. I bought it at an auction for 2 dollars when I was 15 in 1972 in Toledo, Ohio. Mine is in its original frame with glass on top!


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