Graveyard

Graveyard
Cedar Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Father OUAM and His Children, Jr. OUAM and D of A



OUAM Symbol, Madisonville Cemetery, Madisonville, PA


We, the undersigned American born citizens, having for years, and more particularly of late, felt the peculiar disadvantages under which we are placed from foreign competition and foreign combinations, and believing, from past experience and present appearances of the future, that instead of the evil abating, there is a strong probability, if not a certainty, of its increasing, therefore we feel ourselves bound, by the duty we owe to God, our country, our families, and ourselves, to provide for our own protection by forming ourselves into an association to advance such objects and carry out such principles as shall best promote the interest, elevate the character and secure the happiness of the body of American born citizens.”

While this could be a petition signed by American-born workers today, voicing their concern about illegal immigration and American jobs being sent overseas, this was instead the preamble of the charter of the Order of United American Mechanics, organized in 1845 in Philadelphia.  This was a Nativist fraternity, organized by workers (at that time, the term “mechanic” was used more like “artisan” or “craftsman”) to combat the labor “threat” from the increasing immigrant populations.   At the time of its inception, the fraternity was anti-Irish, anti-German and anti-Catholic.  (Which is interesting, since the organization’s first leader was Francis Daniel Pastorius, a German immigrant and first settler of Germantown, a suburb of Philadelphia)  Members had to be Caucasian males born in the United States, and they were to only patronize “American” businesses.  

Nativism had its roots in the negative consequences of the Industrial Revolution.  The growth of factories caused the decline of the artisan-craftsman, whose skilled labor became too costly, while the new mechanization increased the need for unskilled labor to run the machines—and they did not warrant the same high pay rates.  In the 1840’s, the issue of slavery also added its incendiary oil to the flame, because if the abolitionists had their way, additional unskilled labor would be competing with craftsman for jobs.  Tensions ran high and riots broke out in Philadelphia during the 1840’s.   The OUAM formed from the fear and insecurity of American craftsman.

Like other fraternal organizations in the 19th century, the OUAM had additional purposes:  they provided members with employment assistance, especially when members were ill, and they provided funeral and survivor benefits.  They had lodge meetings and paid dues to fund their assistance programs, and they were also strong supporters of the public school system and temperance.

At the height of their membership, they were 160,000 strong.  But they were eclipsed by their junior organization, the Junior Order of United American Mechanics, founded in 1853 and open to members as young as 16.  In 1885, the junior fraternity declared itself independent, and eventually absorbed the parent order.  At their peak in the 1930’s, the junior organization boasted 200,000 members.   In 1875, they also spawned a short-lived female auxiliary called the Daughters of America.  

The JOUAM, inspired by the principles of Virtue, Liberty and Patriotism, began the JOUAM National Orphan’s Home in Tiffin, OH, in 1896.  It provided a home for more than 5,000 orphans until 1944.  On the orphanage’s property, the JOUAM also started a community hospital and a canning factory that provided jobs to local residents (who I am sure had to be native-born).  In the late 1920’s, a second orphanage was opened in Lexington, North Carolina.   The orphanage in Ohio is still owned by the JOUAM, operated now as the American Children’s Home.

Over time, JOUAM membership was opened to Jews, African-Americans, Catholics and women, but by the late 1970’s, membership had declined to less than 10,000 members.  They even survived a lawsuit brought on by the Free Masons over the use of the square and compass used by both the OUAM and JOUAM in their logo.  (the logo also includes a muscular arm wielding a hammer)  The JOUAM also claims to not have been motivated by anti-immigrant sentiments, unlike their parent organization, and state they organized to heal the hatred spawned by the OUAM.

The JOUAM still has an insurance plan for members and non-members, but the hey-day of the OUAM, the JOUAM and the D of A has passed.  Of course, there is always the Tea Party.

** There is another organization called the Patriotic Order Sons of America that also had a ladies auxiliary called Daughters of America.  It is possible that the D of A markers below could be from that order; more research is needed to determine this.

Daleville Cemetery, Daleville, PA

Dunmore Cemetery, Dunmore, PA

Dunmore Cemetery, Dunmore, PA

Dunmore Cemetery, Dunmore, PA

Indian Orchard Cemetery, Indian Orchard, PA

Doylestown Presbyterian Cemetery, Doylestown, PA

Easton Cemetery, Easton, PA

Indian Orchard Cemetery, Indian Orchard, PA

Nicholson Cemetery, Nicholson, PA

Prospect Hill Cemetery, Peckville, PA

South Canaan Cemetery, South Canaan, PA

St. Paul's UCC Cemetery, Swiftwater, PA

Lemon Cemetery, Lemon, PA

St. Paul's UCC Cemetery, Swiftwater, PA

Union Cemetery, Blakely, PA

Lakeville Methodist Cemetery, Lakeville, PA

Laurel Grove Cemetery, Port Jervis, NY (with some nasty cocoons)

Laurel Grove Cemetery, Port Jervis, NY

Newtown Cemetery, Newtown, PA

South Canaan Cemetery, South Canaan, PA

Stroudsburg Cemetery, Stroudsburg, PA (on Right.  Independent Order of Odd Fellows chain and all-seeing eye in middle.  To Left...a Masonic Symbol?  still researching it)

Sunnyside Cemetery, Tunkhannock, PA

Daughters of America, Fairview Cemetery, Lake Winola, PA

D of A, Post Hill Cemetery, Falls, PA

Union Cemetery, Blakely, PA

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I find this very interesting. How did you know where to look to find all these tombstones with all the symbols? Pat Bonitz