1919-1936 Set of Significant Ledgers of the Improved Order of Red Men Midland, Maryland Tioga Tribe No 126

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On offer are two historically significant ledger books spanning 10 years, maintained by Chiefs of the Improved Order of Red Men of Tioga Tribe No. 126 in Midland, Maryland. 

The first ledger spans 1919-1923 and the second covers 1931-1936.

Each ledger contains the annual Roll of Chiefs, where attendance is kept for each weekly meeting. This is followed by hundreds of pages of meeting minutes, wherein the intimate detail of the tribe’s attendance, discussions, motions, officer nominations, elections and tribe finances are meticulously recorded. Excerpts follow to give the flavour of the ledgers:

“...Moved and Sec. Charles Bevidge be suspended from all rights and privileges of the order carried. Moved and Sec we porospone [sic] class initiation until Dec 30 on account of Indusstrial condition. Carried…” [Oct 28, 1919].

“...Moved and second Bill of Brother Jas Albright for one load of cal be received and paid. Carried. $4.25. Moved and second that a committee of three be appointed and work in conjunction with the other lodges to see about getting a doctor on committee Bro Harry Sulser John Laslo James Albright Motion carried” [March 16, 1920]. 

“Brother McGee reported on Halloween social to be held between Red Men and Ladies Bible class. The committee desires that the Red Men get up an entertainment and Ice cream and all members are requested to bring a parcel post” [Oct 18, 1921].

“Council fire was kindled for the purpose of burying our deceased brother William C. Muir. Sachem appointed. Bros Lindsey, Baiman, Leese and Sarage as pallbearers. Brother Muir died at the age of 81 years Sunday evening July 23 at 5:30 o’clock” [July 26, 1935]. 

“This was a special meeting held in celebration of the 37th anniversary and 204 Washington birthday celebration. The order’s Washington Birthday Ritual was used. The slations were filled as follows: [long list of names and positions of tribe members]...At the close of the Ritualistic Service brother Taylor was called on and he read a history of the Tribe, after which the Tribe adjourned to partake of a Banquet prepared for the occasion. Dart Ball (?) and the other amusements were indulged in” [Feb 22, 1936]. 

“Committee reported having visited Black Hawk Tribe at Westerport. That an open air District meeting will be held in Westernport Sat Sept 19 carried. Carnival committee reported progress…Moved and Sec Resignation of Bro Hunt be accepted and his successor elected. Moved and Sec we go into election of Jr. Sagamore carried….Moved and Sec we paint the outside of building for Carnival. Carried” [Aug 6, 1936]. 

The ledgers are absolutely brimming with names of Officers and Members of this Red Men tribe, making them as interesting to a genealogist as they are to one who studies fraternal societies, Maryland in the early 20th century, or the Red Men more specifically. 

The ledgers measure 9x14 inches. They each contain hundreds of un-numbered pages. The pages ledgers are custom printed for the Red Men by Labor Saving Lodge Books in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. They contain handwriting on most pages, filling in the printed fields. There is tipped in ephemera and extra pages, particularly in the second ledger. Both ledgers show signs of their age. Pages are in tact but the spines are loosening and the cloth hardcovers are beginning to crack and peel. Writing is legible. Overall Fair++. [Note: Ask seller for a link to the 19th Century ledger of a New York tribe of the Red Men being sold separately].

BIO NOTES:The Improved Order of Red Men is one of the oldest fraternal organizations in the United States. The group was made up of members from the Sons of Liberty and Sons of St. Tamia, which were patriotic groups that split because of differences. In 1834 they began using the name Improved Order of Red Men. Their rituals and regalia are modeled after those assumed by white men of the era to be used by Native Americans. Despite the name, the order was formed solely by, and for, white men. Since the original members of the group were said to have been part of the historical Boston Tea party where they dressed as Native Americans, they have continued with this tradition” (Salisbury University, HIST 384: Native American History: Improved Order of Red Men 2024). 

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