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Fraternal Societies. Many of the secret fraternal societies of the United States include in their obligations the payment of sick and death benefits, and fraternal care of the members when sick. Others are formed for the express purpose of insurance, the money for death payments being raised by assessments, the assessment rate either remaining stationary or increasing with the age of the member. The insurance is generally from $1,000 to $3,000. Another class of such societies is that in which the lodge principle prevails and which have the social features prominently kept in view. In these a stipulated sum is paid on the death of a member, and assessments are made on the death ratio. Among the largest of these organizations are the Odd Fellows, founded in 1819; Knights of Honor, 1873; Knights of Pythias, 1877; and Royal Arcanum, 1877. The insurance paid by these varies from $500 to $3,000. There are numerous other societies conducted on the same principle. According to the reports of the supreme bodies of these organizations for 1901, the membership of the principal fraternal organizations in the United States and Canada was as follows:

Odd Fellows ............................... 1,027,628
Freemasons .................................. 902,601
Modern Woodmen of America ................... 642,957
Knights of Pythias .......................... 516,944
Ancient Order of United Workmen ............. 420,000
Improved Order of Red Men ................... 260,459
Woodmen of the World ........................ 252,130
Knights of the Maccabees .................... 227,936
Royal Arcanum ............................... 226,782
Foresters of America ........................ 195,206
Independent Order of Foresters .............. 187,000
Ancient Order of Hibernians of America ...... 152,864
Junior Order of United American Mechanics ... 103,786
Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks ..... 100,000
Ladies' Catholic Benevolent Association ...... 71,668
Knights of the Golden Eagle .................. 70,000
Tribe of Ben Hur ............................. 67,428
National Union ............................... 60,328
Knights of Honor ............................. 59,932
Knights and Ladies of Honor .................. 53,736
Improved Order of Heptasophs ................. 52,462
Order of United American Mechanics ........... 47,011
Catholic Benevolent Legion ................... 41,984
Ancient Order of Foresters ................... 38,220
Sons of Temperence ........................... 32,675
Independent Order of B'nai B'rith ............ 30,000
New England Order of Protection .............. 29,125
Knights of Malta ............................. 26,000
Catholic Knights of America .................. 24,006
Royal Templars of Temperence ................. 23,641
United Order of Pilgrim Fathers .............. 22,747
Brith Abraham Order .......................... 19,457
Star of Bethlehem Order ...................... 17,500
United Ancient Order of Druids ............... 17,354
Mystic Circle ................................ 16,500
Irish Catholic Benevolent Union .............. 14,000
American Legion of Honor ...................... 7,630
Smaller organizations not reported ........... 42,972
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            Total (1901) 6,102,663; (1909) 11,720,215.

Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.

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