The Knights of the Maccabees was formed in 1878 in London, Ontario, Canada, extensively reorganized in 1881 and 1883, and shortened its name to “The Maccabees” in 1914.

The Knights of the Maccabees were a fraternal and benevolent “legal reserve society.  Families of deceased members received benefits in the form of legal-reserve insurance.  All white persons of sound health and good character, from birth to 70 years of age, were eligible for membership. The fraternal part of this organization drew on the exploits of the Jewish military genius Judas Maccabeus.  His wisdom in the use of power, and the fact that he seems to have been the first recorded military leader to order his soldiers to reserve a part of their spoils for the widows and orphans of their fallen colleagues. 

In 1884 the Knights of the Maccabees of the World, incorporated in Detroit, Michigan.  Originally it operated on an assessment basis; whenever a member died, each living member was assessed 10 cents to go into a pot to provide the widow $1,000.  After reorganization, it became much more sophisticated, collecting monthly assessments based on payouts. By the 1890’s it provided not only death benefits but also sick benefits of $4 to $10 week; total and permanent disability benefits of $50, $200, or $300 annually (depending on the size of your assessment); $175-$2,000 for loss of hands, eyes, feet, etc.; funeral benefits, and so on. Coal miners, and other dangerous professions were excluded.  Manufacturers, sellers, and drinkers of alcohol were also excluded.

The Maccabees were one of the more successful of fraternal benefit societies, which sprang up after the Civil War. They were one of the few that provided a safety net along with pleasant social meeting and other gatherings.  Each men’s local chapter of the Maccabees was known as a Mutual Tent.  The ladies chapters were known as Hives.  The men met the 2nd and 4th Wednesday’s of the month and the ladies met on the 2nd and 4th Saturday’s.

Andover’s chapter of the Maccabees was organized on November 4th, 1885 and was known as Mutual Tent No. 18.  I don’t know when the ladies chapter was formed but it was known as Maple Grove Hive No. 188.  The men’s offices were; Commander, Lt. Commander, Knight Record Keeper, Master at Arms, Sergeant, Chaplain, Guards, Sentinel, and Picket.  The ladies officers were; President, Finance Secretary, Recording Secretary, Vice President, Chaplain, Treasurer, Lady of Ceremonies, Sergeant, Inner Hostess and Outer Hostess.

I don’t know what happened to the Maccabees as I don’t know of any written records of them.  But sometime in 1928 after 43 years of existence, they were no more. But at least we know they were here.  The other day we had the luck to find someone in Florida that had the compete set of officers pins and rulebooks for sale and they were purchased and now belong to the Andover Historical Society.  Attached you will see some these articles. I know that Andover wasn’t the only chapter in Allegany County, but I don’t have any information on the others.


(pictures needed)

Submitted by William A. Greene
Info found: “Allegany And its People “, Andover Newspaper, Assorted websites on Internet