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Sunday, July 3, 2011


Woodmen of the World (W.O.W.) is not the topic that I planned to choose for my first blog entry, but I have spent the better part of my research time this week searching historical Texas newspapers for information about Woodmen of the World.
According to the Woodmen of the World web site, the fraternal organization was founded in 1890 by Joseph Cullen Root. Root believed that members of the W.O.W lodges should be active in helping those in need. During the early years of the organization, member’s benefits included life insurance and grave markers. Today the organization has approximately 2,000 community-based Woodmen of the World lodges with about 800,000 members.
My reason for researching the W.O.W. is this photograph of my grandfather, Redic E. Bryan. I always wondered about the ribbon, but didn’t think to search for it until I attended Maureen Taylor’s* Photography, The Civil War and Your Family Pictures at Southern California Genealogy Jamboree in June. She discussed veteran’s organizations and showed a similar picture of a man wearing ribbons with a hat on the table beside him. When I returned from my trip, I rescanned this photo at 600dpi so that I could better see the ribbon and compare it to those found through searches at Google and eBay. Although the writing was partially covered and not legible, Redic Bryan’s ribbon easily matched Woodmen of the World convention ribbons.
When and where was this convention? Google and historical newspaper searches for Woodmen of the World and the photographer, Harper & Co. did not answer this question. However, I did learn from the Dallas Morning News at, that my great-grandfather, Terrell Bryan, was voted banker of the Stephenville Woodmen of the World Lodge in both 1894 and 1904.
For more information about W.O.W., click on the links below. I hope that you enjoyed my first blog entry.
Diana, the official site
Visit the Masonic Museum at to view an actual beneficiary certificate.
*I purchased Maureen Taylor’s book, Finding the Civil War in your Family Album which has lead me to re-examine many of my family pictures.

© 2011, copyright Diana Quinn

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