Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Burial Societies in the 19th Century

Knights of Honor Receipt
The amount is actually $1.00, not $100

Before there was life insurance, burial insurance, and funeral homes there were burial societies and fraternal organizations.  John Williamson Moran was a member of the Knights of Honor, Dresden Lodge No. 312.  He had been assessed the sum of $1.00.  Why?  One reason people joined organizations like Woodsmen of the World or the Knights Of Pythias is because the members would help pay for funeral costs for its members and their families.  In the upper left hand corner it says that the last Assessment was on May 16th, 1880 because there had been a death.  The 1,371st death to be exact.  The current assessment, no 71 was for the 1,372nd death.

In an age where medicine often times killed more than it cured death was a frequent visitor.  Whole families were wiped out by influenza, pneumonia, Yellow Fever, Typhoid and the list goes on.  Being a member of a lodge gave peace of mind that, God forbid you died, your family had a way to pay for your burial.

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