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Apr 29

Jacob Miller Jr Was a Woodman of the World

I always mention the unique grave markers of the Woodmen of the World in my tombstone/cemetery talk, but until a few days ago I did not know that a member of our family was a member of their fraternal benefit society.

Jacob Miller Jr's Woodmen of the World certificate, 1911.

Jacob Miller Jr’s Woodmen of the World certificate, 1911.

The Woodmen of the World is a fraternal benefit society–a non-profit organization owned and governed by its members, that combines insurance with a common bond of mutual aid and social membership organized into branches with meetings, and conventions.

The Woodmen of the World was organized by Joseph Cullen Root in June 1890 in Omaha, Nebraska. Root first founded the Modern Woodmen of the World in 1882 and it operated in nine of the central western states. Root left the Modern Woodmen in 1890 to organize Woodmen of the World. By 1889 the Woodmen of the World had over 88,000 members from all across the country. [1]

Jacob Miller Jr Woodman of the World certificate, 1911.

Jacob Miller Jr’s Woodman of the World certificate, 1911.

Jacob Miller Jr, my great-uncle, had Woodmen of the World Benefit Certificate no. 253940. Jacob Jr was a member of the Bakersfield, California, Camp no. 460, Pacific Jurisdiction. He was born in Mercer County but left Ohio before 1910 to work in the western oil fields. His certificate is dated 30 November 1910 and is stamped 16 January 1911. It shows Jacob Jr was 25 years old and was from Willshire, Ohio.

Jacob Miller Jr Woodman of the World certificate, 1911.

Jacob Miller Jr Woodman of the World certificate, 1911.

Jacob Miller Jr’s Woodman of the World certificate, 1911.

Jacob Jr’s certificate was in the amount of $500 and his father Jacob Miller Sr was the beneficiary. The certificate states that the beneficiary would receive $250 if the member died within one year of the certificate date, $375 if the member died within two years, and $500 if death occurred after two years.

Jacob Miller Jr (1886-1913)

Jacob Miller Jr (1886-1913)

Jacob Miller Jr was killed out west when an oil derrick fell on him in April of 2013. Two years had passed since Jacob Jr took out the policy so his father should have received the $500 death benefit.

Jacob Miller Jr's Woodmen of the World certificate, 1911.

Jacob Miller Jr’s Woodmen of the World certificate, 1911.

Jacob Miller Jr does not have the distinctive Woodmen of the World tree trunk tombstone or one of their “WOW” insignia that their members sometimes have. The tree stump tombstone was an early benefit of Woodmen membership but was abandoned in the late 1920s due to cost. [2] These unique markers are easy to spot in a cemetery.

Woodman of the World marker, Woodlawn Cemetery, Lima, OH (2013 photo by Karen)

Woodman of the World marker, Woodlawn Cemetery, Lima, OH (2013 photo by Karen)

Throughout the years the Woodmen have merged with other fraternal benefit societies and are still in existence today, known as WoodmanLife. [3]

 

[1] History of Woodmen of the World , accessed 28 April 2016.

[2] WoodmenLife, Wikipedia.org, accessed 28 April 20165.

[3] WoodmenLife, accessed 28 April 2016.

4 comments

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  1. Deb Jones

    Jacob Miller, Jr. was one of our more adventurous ancestors. He is the relative that bought the acreage in Texas that continues to be passed down through the family.

    1. Karen

      You are right! And his untimely death was unfortunate. I am sure he would have had a lot of stories to tell. His half brother Chris also died out west, but of an illness. It sounds as though the West was a dangerous place back then.

  2. Brian Brewster

    My Great Grandfather Noah Black of liberty Twshp was a Modern Woodman. I had his double edged ceremonial axe until this year. I gave it to my nephew Vince . He had always liked it so I thought maybe it was time to clear out a few things so I was sure he ended up with it. Especially since I knew he appreciated it. Hope you are doing well.

    1. Karen

      How interesting and how nice of you to give the axe to someone who will appreciate it. That is a great story and heirloom to pass on.

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