Knights of Honor


This society was organized on June 30, 1873, in Louisville, Kentucky, by men from the Ancient Order of United Workmen and also from the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Upon being founded, the KOH had as one of its objectives to provide fraternal unity and benevolent assistance for white men of sound moral character and good physical health. The KOH differed from most fraternal societies in that its candidates did not take an oath in the initiation rite. They merely promised to obey the regulations of the society and to help a "brother" in need. The order had three degrees: Infancy, Youth and Manhood.

In 1875 the society created a ladies’ auxiliary degree, but in 1877 the supreme lodge repealed its resolution of 1875, apparently because few auxiliaries were formed during the two years from 1875 to 1877. The repeal led to the formation of a new, independent beneficiary order: The Order of Protection of Knights and Ladies of Honor. Later this group changed its name to Knights and Ladies of Honor.

The KOH was one of the more successful fraternal benefit groups. By 1898 it had 90,335 members. But when the order upgraded its method of collecting fees for the insurance fund, many dropped their membership because insurance cost more. This was a common occurrence in other fraternal organizations too. Many members would not accept the changes that led to better actuarial methods. By 1916 the society was forced to disband.

Membership was drawn exclusively from white males, who professed belief in a supreme being. Each prospective member also had to be "able to earn a livelihood for himself and his family." Every member was to keep the affairs of the society secret so that "intruders and unworthy men" could not falsely obtain benefits from the society.

The seal or emblem of the KOH was a shield, depicting a knight with his shield arm raised. On the main shield was a triangle with the letters O.M.A.

Organizationally, the KOH was a three-tiered structure, like almost all fraternal societies. The local units were called "Subordinate Lodges." State or regional groups were referred to as "Grand Lodges," and the national authority was known as the "Supreme Lodge."

Ritual for the First Degree of the Uniform Rank      
Ritual for the Second Degree of the Uniform Rank : Knighting