1880s SELECT KNIGHTS A.O.U.W. Fraternal Sword & Sheath
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Sold Date: 05/17/2007
Channel: Online Auction
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This NO RESERVE auction is for an extremely ornate antique Fraternal ceremonial sword. The sword dates to the late 1800s. The sword is 37" in length without the sheath. One side of the blade is engraved with the initials F.F.D. with an ornate pattern. The other side of the blade is engraved A.O.C.U. The sword was made by Parsons & Co. of St. Louis.
The handle of the sword is very ornate with an eagle on top of a helmet at the top and a full figured cast Knight and shield. The scabbard Is marked Select Knight with a skeleton hand and an ornate initial SK. The scabbard is also engraved AOUW.
This sword is over 100 years old and is in excellent condition for age. I have not attempted to clean the sword or scabbard. The ornate metal work has a gold gilt type finish over iron which shows a little wear and t is some surface rust on the blade but no corrosion or any pitting damage and this antique sword should clean up beautifully.
This sword dates circa 1880 and Select Knights of America were part of the Ancient Order of United Workman and followed Masonic rituals. "The period after the Civil War was a time of stress, turmoil and uncertainty. It was during this period that Fraternal Benefit Societies, Mutual Benefit Associations, and Self Help Groups developed in the United States to provide members with financial protection, a collective voice, and fraternal brotherhood.
The first such organization was the Ancient Order of United Workmen (AOUW). The AOUW was founded by John Jordan Upchurch and thirteen others in Meadville, Pennsylvania on October 27, 1868. Each member paid $1 into the insurance fund to cover a death benefit paid to a members dependents when he died. Each time a member died, $1 was due from the surviving members to reestablish the fund. Fraternal benefits societies soon became quite popular as a means of providing financial protection to working class people at an affordable rate. Additionally, Fraternal benefits societies typically maintained a lodge w members could meet together in a spirit of fraternalism and brotherhood. In at least one case - the Populist movement - the fraternity evolved into a powerful political organization providing a voice for their members. By 1887, the AOUW had more than 176,000 members in 3,200 member groups (called lodges) across the country. The order had about died out by the late 1940's."
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