Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
A Pictorial Catalog of
Commemorative Flagholders & Plaques
 of Organizations & Military
 Order of United American Mechanics
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Commemorative Plaques & Flagholders
 of Military and Organizations
as Photographed by Joyce M. Tice 

Order of United American Mechanics

Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice How to Use This Site Contact Joyce Flagholder Table of Contents
Related and similar organizations
Daughters of America Jr. Order of United State Mechanics Daughters of Liberty Sons & Daughters of Liberty Patriotic Order, Sons of America

I have not yet found any flagholders of this organization, but have included a "council" or chapter flagholder of one of its "offspring" groups, Jr. Order of United Amrican Mechanics. Flagholder or not, this organization has to be included in this site because of its multiple progeny which left flagholders in abundance in our cemeteries. In 1845 the Union of Workers was founded in Philadelphia. Its members were working people, actually men only, who opposed immigration, most particularly of Catholics. Additionally, they provided in this pre-insurance era, a sick fund and a funeral fund which was incentive to join whether or not you were a bigot. They changed their name to the Order of United American Mechanics. Only native born, white, "Americans" who believed in a supreme being who controlled it all and kept things in order, were allowed to join. Ironically, many of the parents of these members, not being "native born," were not eligible to join and receive the insurance benefits. These people supported the separation of church and state, and members could not be involved in the liquor trade. Their basic reason for supporting this "non-sectarian" attitude was in its opposition to Catholic parochial schools. The founding of this organization and others like it coincided with the massive immigration of Irish escaping the starvation of their potato famine.

Since OUAM was a male only organization, it formed a women's auxiliary unit called Daughters of Liberty, confiscating the name of an earlier organization that operated underground prior to and during the American Revolution. The D of A itself metamorphosed into the Sons and Daughters of Liberty in 1915. This also was a confiscation of a name that had been used in Philadelphia by an organization dedicated to preserving the history of the original Sons of Liberty and Daughters of Liberty. To further complicate an already complex issue, this same name is used in the present for radical organizations the purpose of which most of us would rather not know.

In 1853, they formed a Junior lodge (JOUAM) which outgrew them, declared its independence in 1885, and absorbed them. Perhaps its progeny became more radical than the parent (Every parent understands this feeling), but it survived well beyond the lifetime of the parent organization. See the offspring organizations for more history. JOUAM formed an auxiliary which survives in the present time as Daughters of America.

The Daughters of America is possibly the only section of this group of related organizations that survives today. The Patriotic Order, Sons of America, a similarly Anti-Catholic, Anti-Immigration group that operated in the same geographic regions, also formed an auxiliary called (Patriotic) Daughters of America.Whether these two groups with similar ideology ever merged is not included in the references I have so far acquired.

A coalition of secret societies with isolationist and anti-immigration beliefs formed the nucleus of a politcal party called the Know Nothing Party formed in 1852. The OUAM was among these. The name came from the response of all members of the party who indicated to all questions that they "know nothing about it (the party)." Its momentum was lost with the formation of the Republicn party in 1856, and it returned to its secret society roots.

All of these groups have in common that they hide their ideology behind symbols that society trusts and respects such as patriotism and religion. These same tactics are alive and well in our contemporary society. I have to say that seeing first hand the prevalence of the emblems of these ideologies in our area gives a different slant to our history than our textbooks might have emphasized. 

Source of some of this material is adapted from The International Encyclopedia of Secret Societies and Fraternal Organization, Alan Axelrod,Checkmark Books, 
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Published On Tri-Counties Site On 06/05/2003
By Joyce M. Tice

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