Tombstone Tuesday-Knights of the Maccabees

In addition to the various symbols and artwork engraved on tombstones, fraternal organization symbols are also often seen on grave markers.

Fraternal societies have been popular for decades. These societies have an organized structure, have a function or provide a service, and members usually meet in a lodge or hall. Most societies also have a logo/symbol and a motto. The logo and/or motto are often engraved on a member’s tombstone.

Today, the logo for Knights of the Maccabees. I have only seen one or two of these inscriptions on a tombstone.

Knights of the Maccabees, Woodlawn Cemetery, Ohio City, Ohio.

The Knights of the Maccabees symbol, inscribed on the above tombstone, has the letters K O T M superimposed over a tent.

The Knights of the Maccabees is an insurance and benevolent society, founded in 1878 in Ontario, Canada. They confer three degrees: Protection, Friendship, and Loyalty. Their meetinghouse was called a tent.  

The Knights of the Maccabees was a pass-the-hat organization. When a member of the society died each member was assessed ten cents and the money was given to the widow.

The name was changed to the Maccabees in 1914 and it became more like an insurance company. The organization had over 300,000 members at one time but their membership declined severely during the Great Depression. There are few members today.

The name of the society is Biblical and refers to a Jewish tribe about 200 BC, lead by Judas Maccabeau. He eventually secured the state of Judea and instructed his soldiers to set aside a portion of their spoils for the widows and orphans of their comrades.  

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