Homesteaders was founded in 1906 as a fraternal insurance society for men and
women m the United States and Canada who were “first-class risks, physically
and morally.” The society is now extinct, and has no connection with a 1978
“back-to-the-earth” movement of the same name.
of American Yeoman used the word
“Homesteads” for its Lodges.. In 1906, two
officers of the American Yeomen (John E. Paul and Clarence B. Paul) were forced
to resign their posts. They took from their former employers the word
“homestead,” a certain number of Rituals and Ceremonies,
and a fair number of
members. Although the organization is now extinct, the ritual is interesting.
men and women were admitted from the start, and the organization prospered. By
1920, it had 30,000 members in 23 states, plus Canada. In 1923, however, the
group decided to change its fraternal ways and became a nonfraternal insurance
organization under the name of The Homesteader’s Life Association. The
changeover is described in the Fraternal Monitor for November 1923. In
1932 it merged with the Golden West Life Insurance Association, formerly the
Fraternal Brotherhood, and in 1948 it changed its name again to become the
Homesteader’s Life Company; the
standard progression for a financially well-run mutual insurance company.
organization was on the usual three-tier system, with Grand Homesteads and a
Supreme Homestead; the latter met quadrennially.
was based on a dramatization of life in a pioneer village. The candidate was
seized as a spy by the somewhat paranoid pioneers, who would then suggest that
he be “bound to the back of a wild horse and burning brands attached to its
heels, then turn them loose to wander upon the plains until he be dragged to the
death befitting a spy.”
Momentarily recoiling from such equine incendiarism, they would then decide to give him a chance to prove himself by rescuing the wife and daughter of a pioneer who is long overdue from the East. After a sequence of Indian attacks and so on, he would rescue the two ladies, though the missing pioneer dies on a stretcher as he is being carried back to the “barricade” an interesting variation on the usual death theme, with skeletons and coffins. There was also a strong patriotic element, with an annual flag day.