Improved Order of Red Men
Ritual of the Haymakers’ Degree
At the appointed time the Chief Haymaker assumes his post, gives one rap with
the gavel and says:
Chief Haymaker: We are about to open a convocation of Haymakers,
all those not qualified Companions will retire beyond the approaches of this
At this time all those not companions will retire.
Chief Haymaker: Guard of the Hayloft are the approaches secure and
the Guard of the Barndoor at his post?
Guard of Hayloft: Chief Haymaker the approaches are secure and,
the Guard at his post.
Chief Haymaker: The Companions will invest themselves with their
regalia, the Horn Blower will examine all present in the Loft and ascertain if
they are true believers of the tenets of Fun and Good Fellowship.
Those not found in possession of the necessary qualifications must retire,
unless vouched for by a Companion who is acquainted with the fact that they are
in good standing in an Association.
The Horn Blower after attending to the duties assigned him, advances to his
post, gives the sign of respect and reports.
Horn Blower: Chief Haymaker, I have received the proper
information that those present are entitled to remain within the Hayloft.
The Chief Haymaker gives two raps with the gavel, when all arise.
Chief Haymaker: We now declare this convocation of Haymakers
opened for the transaction of such business as may be brought before it, and we
trust that all will preserve order and decorum, thus assisting us in the proper
rendition of the ancient ceremonies of the craft.
Gives one rap with the navel which seats the Companions.
Chief Haymaker: Assistant Chief Haymaker you will take charge of
the approaches and notify the Guards that this convocation of Haymakers is now
Assistant Chief Haymaker: Guards this convocation of Haymakers
being now in session, you will admit all companions who are in waiting.
The Guards admit those companions who are properly entitled.
Order of Business
2. Roll of Officers.
3. Reading of and approval of the minutes of the previous Council
4. Are any of the Companions unable to make hay?
5. Has any of the Companions changed his private Hayloft? If so, at once notify
the Collector of Straws.
6. Proposition for Companionship.
7. Election of Candidates.
8. Conferring of the Degree.
9. Collection of Straws. (Dues)
10. Reports of Committees.
11. Unfinished business.
12. New Business.
13. Good of the Order.
14. Number of Straws announced by the Collector of Straws.
16. Lunch, if any has been prepared.
This order of business may be transposed by the Chief Hay-maker.
Ceremony of Initiation
Chief Haymaker: We are now about to instruct tramps in the mystery
of our sublime Craft, and teach them that if they desire to be true followers of
Fun and Good Fellowship they must neither be haughty or proud. Horn Blower, you
will now retire beyond the barndoor, notify those who are in waiting, ascertain
their names, and collect the fee of initiation?
The Horn Blower retires as directed, attends to the duties assigned him,
re-enters, advances to his post, and reports as follows:
Horn Blower: Chief Haymaker, your commands have been obeyed. I
find in waiting … names them,
the fees have been collected, and they now await your pleasure.
Chief Haymaker: Thou hast acted thy part well. Boss Driver, you
will retire, prepare, and introduce the Tramps.
The Boss Driver retires, divests the Tramps of their hats. coats and shoes;
places them inline, the left hand on the shoulder of the Tramp in front, enters
the Hayloft, and leads them around from left to right. The Companions in the
loft form a line in like manner, marching around with the Tramps, gradually
making the circle smaller, at the same time singing the Initiation Ode, at the
end of which the Companions exclaim, "Git," the Tramps making a break
for the approaches.
The Boss Driver then prepares one or more of the Tramps, by placing on them
an old coat, tattered and torn, an old hat, and if practicable, a pair of old
shoes tied with strings; then conducts them into the Hayloft, marching once
around and halts in front of the Overseer, who says:
Overseer: Boss Driver, from whence do you bring these strangers,
clothed as Tramps and having the appearance of Wandering Willies?
Boss Driver: I met them at the approaches of
the Barndoor. They declared they were weary and hungry, and disappointed with
their mode of living, and being unacquainted with their designs, thought it best
to bring them to you for disposal.
Overseer: Do they enter our Hayloft as
friends seeking knowledge, or do they imagine, by idle curiosity, they can learn
the mysteries of our Craft?
Boss Driver: I am ignorant of their designs; I have performed my
duty by bringing them to you; if you so decide I am ready to dispose of them as
you may determine.
Overseer: Much will depend upon their behaviour while in our
midst. Tramps, do you entertain a sincere desire to change your mode of life and
learn the mysteries of our Craft? Are you willing to maintain austere and
upright lives, and by so doing overcome the difficulties that all must encounter
who promulgate our tenets?
The Tramps must answer in the affirmative.
Overseer: Are you willing to enter into a pledge of honor with us?
The Tramps must answer: I am!
Overseer: Your ready acquiescence to the queries propounded to you
assures us that you are sincere in your desire to learn our method of making
Hay. You will, therefore, assume the proper attitude.
The Ross Driver, with a proper number of Companions as assistants, will place
the Tramps in proper attitude to take the pledge, which is done by placing the
left hand on the back of the neck and the right hand on the right hip.
Boss Driver: Overseer, the Tramps are in due and ancient position
to take the pledge.
The Chief Haymaker gives two Raps.
Overseer: You are now in due and ancient position. You will repeat
I do promise on my word of honor that I will not make known to any one not a
Companion; any part of the ceremony through which I have passed, or am about to
pass; that I will never confer, or assist in conferring the same upon any one
outside of a regular convocation of Haymakers, except for the purpose of
instituting a new Association of Haymakers; and under no circumstances will I
confer, or assist in conferring upon any one but a member of the Improved Order
of Red Men. To all this I pledge my honor without equivocation or mental
The Chief Haymaker gives one Rap.
Overseer: You are now bound by one of the holiest ties that can
bind men together, your pledge of honor, and one that has always been held with
respect by all true Red Men. We have a profound conviction, judging from your
antecedents, that you will keep it inviolate. You. will now be conducted to the
Past Chief Haymaker, who will impart words of wisdom. Tramps, pass on.
The Boss Driver conducts the Tramps to the post of Past Chief Haymaker.
Boss Driver: Past Chief Haymaker, these Tramps have pledged their
word of honor in due and ancient form, and now desire to hear your words of
Past Chief Haymaker: List en, Tramps, to words of wisdom, for I
speak by the mouth of authority. If you do not desire to inherit the wrath of
the scorner, be ye not proud. Walk ye in the path of wisdom and be as wise as
serpents and as harmless as doves. Do not attach yourselves to that mass of
unthinkers who go into everything that is put forth for them to take without
having the slightest moral weight of any increased obligation in their minds.
Ponder well on these adages, and then be enlightened by our Assistant Chief
Boss Driver conducts the Tramps to the Assistant Chief Haymaker.
Boss Driver: Assistant Chief Haymaker, these Tramps have listened
to the words of wisdom from the mouth of authority, and now desire to be
Assistant Chief Haymaker: Tramps, beware of vanity, of w6rldly
pride and haughty bearing. The traditions of our Craft have taught us that while
haymaking was a lowly occupation, yet the toilers were good-tempered and merry,
and in ancient times had organized a society, into which none could enter but
the just and worthy—then only by a straight path, and in a humble and contrite
manner. The tyrants of the Dark Ages even sought by chicanery to learn their
mysteries, but all in vain. Pass on and seek further knowledge.
The Boss Driver conducts the Tramps to the Chief Haymaker, arranging them so
as to form a semi-circle in front of his post, the Companions being in the rear.
Boss Driver: Chief Haymaker, from the approaches of our Hayloft to
the various positions therein, I have conducted these Tramps; they have taken
our pledge, listened to the words of wisdom, and have been enlightened as to our
Craft and now they await your pleasure as to further knowledge.
Chief Haymaker: Tramps, I understand that you have learned wisdom,
been enlightened as to the Craft being ancient and honorable, and your laudable
ambition prompts you to attain that knowledge so that you may become acquainted
with the sublime secret of our mystic tie. But your appearances are against you—none
but the pure and upright can learn the word that makes Haymakers jolly and
merry. What do you mean by appearing before us in this disguise? Away with you.
The Tramps, at the suggestion of the Boss Driver rush towards the approaches
after which the Tramps are brought in by one or more Companions, one at a time,
and learn the hidden mysteries of the Hayloft, each Association having the
privilege of us log such paraphernalia as they may deem best; provided, that
none shall be used which might result in any injury of a Tramp.
The hayloft is then arranged as a hayfield, the Officers and such Companions
as may be necessary, disguised as haymakers, with scythe, rakes and forks made
of wood, they being seated in the centre of the hayloft. When all is ready the
Boss Driver prepares one or more of the candidates by investing him or them in a
garment to represent a King, and then conducts them into the hayloft, and after
marching around once, enter the circle, when all those representing Haymakers
arise with surprise.
Chief Haymaker: What means this intrusion? Why are we interrupted
in the midst of our festivities?
Boss Driver: He who stands before you is a representative of one
of the tyrants of ancient times, who was feared and detested by all of his
subjects. He has heard of our Craft—that within the confines of our hayloft
much enjoyment can be had. While in this disguise he has wandered among his
subjects and affected much familiarity. He thus learned that we had a very
valuable secret to impart, which he believes will bring him much closer to his
people, and at his request I have guided him thus far on his journey.
Chief Haymaker: Sire, so you desire to learn that which will make
you one of us, and through it obtain wisdom from among the lowly? Do you know
that to be exalted one must humble himself, and to be wise you must approach
with a clear and contrite heart? While our Craft is ancient, yet none can have
imparted to them the secret unless he is worthy of our confidence. Do you still
desire to learn our mysteries?
The candidate must answer: I do.
Chief Haymaker: You will now kneel place your crown upon the floor
in front of you, place the left hand upon the back of the neck and the right
hand upon your hip for the, purpose of taking you final pledge, and repeat after
I pledge my word of honor never to communicate the sublime secrets of this
Craft, except in the manner and position in which I am about to receive it.
Chief Haymaker: You will clasp your hands together, place them in
your crown back of them downwards, bow your head in humility to the floor, and
repeat after me:
That I believe, that we all believe that my …
The grand secret of this Craft is that …
After all of the candidates have had the grand secret imparted to them, and
the hayloft is re-arranged, the candidates are conducted to the Chief Haymaker
by the Boss Driver.
Chief Haymaker: Companions, for such we have now the honor to call
you, our secret has been imparted to you, and we trust that no apology is
necessary for our attempt to illustrate by ceremony a lesson of practical
humility. It was not our intention to either humiliate or mortify you, as all of
us have passed through the same ordeal and in the same manner and ancient form,
for none of us have the advantage of the other, except in priority of having had
imparted to us this valuable secret. There is no one among us who would injure
or mar your feelings, but on the contrary they will be your friends, and will
grapple you to their affections with hooks of steel.
The old adage, "O wad some power the giftie gie us, To see ourselves as
others see us," teaches us that sensible men sometimes deceive themselves;
therefore, the lesson you have been taught should admonish you not to
overestimate yourselves, as all of us are but atoms that help to make the scheme
But away with moralizing! We welcome you into this Craft, builded upon the
precepts of Fun and Good Fellowship. Treat not with levity the Craft, nor be too
gratuitous in imparting its mysteries, for the greatest injury that can be done
to any Fraternity is to belittle it in the opinion of others. We are proverbial
for Hospitality, and the legitimate expenses require a proper fee, which, under
no circumstances, can be less than twenty-five straws. This is a rule which must
never be deviated from.
We will now instruct you in the unwritten work of the Craft:
1. Rap at the outer approach is …
Password is …
2. Rap at the inner approach is …
Password is …
3. The sign to C. H. is …
Who answers it thus …
4. The sign of distress is …
5. If the Companion can assist yon he responds thus … (meaning that he is
in good condition).
6. If unable to assist you he responds thus … (meaning bad condition).
7. The recognition sign is …
8. The answer is …
9. In rising to speak you will make the following sign …; it is also used
as a sign of respect in crossing the hayloft.
10. The voting sign is …
11. The grip is made thus …
12. The regalia is your hat.
This gavel is the emblem of authority. One rap calls to order, or seats the
Companions when standing. Two raps calls up the Companions.
You are allowed among the Craft to smoke, we being more liberal than most
societies, and if you have any spare cigars, you will please pass them around.
Chief Haymaker: Boss Driver, you will now introduce our new
Companions, so that they may receive the congratulations of the older believers
in the sublime mysteries of our Craft.
The Boss Driver then faces the new Companions towards the Assistant Chief
Boss Driver: Companions, I have the gratification of introducing
to you these Companions who have become true believers of all that which is
humble and high.
A recess is then declared to allow the Companions to congratulate the new
After which the regular order of business is proceeded with.
The Chief Haymaker gives two raps and the Companions arise.
Chief Haymaker: The labors of making hay has come to an end, and
it is our duty to close this convocation and permit you to return to your own
private haylofts, but before doing so we wish to admonish all, that true
Haymakers should at all times carry out the principles of Fun and Good
Fellowship; in our walks of life be as wise as serpents and as harmless as
doves, so that the sublime precepts of the Craft will not become a stench in the
nostrils of the uninformed.
Chief Haymaker: I now declare this convocation at an end until
unless called together, when each Companion shall receive due and timely notice.
Gives one rap.