When the occupation of 'Postmaster' showed up on Milo’s 1900 Federal census entry, I was pleasantly surprised. It isn’t every day that you find ‘Postmaster’ listed as an occupation. Records that I’ve been able to find show that Milo was appointed Postmaster at Burgevin, LeFlore County, Oklahoma on 19 October 1895. He held that position until 1898. On 28 April 1898, Emma Simmons took over the Postmaster position in Burgevin. Burgevin Post office was discontinued the same year Ms. Simmons took over. Burgevin was located 17 miles northwest of Spiro, LeFlore County, Oklahoma. It no longer exists as a town as far as I can tell.
1915 map of the area south of the Arkansas River including Spiro and Tucker. This is the general area where Milo lived in 1900.
I’m not sure where Milo was working between 1898 and 1900 but I picked him back up on the 1900 census still working as a Postmaster. I’m trying to narrow down the area where he was living but the closest I can come is this map. He was “south of the Arkansas River” and that’s the best I can tell you. In 1900 he stated he had been married to Rebecca for 17 years. Rebecca stated she had given birth to 7 children and all 7 were still living. There are 7 children living in the home with Milo and Rebecca. Milo's brother, Ben DEWITT, was also living with the family in 1900.
In the records, I picked up Milo again in 1903 working as Postmaster at the Tucker Post Office in Tucker, LeFlore County, Oklahoma. Tucker is in northwestern LeFlore County, 9 miles northwest of Spiro. In the 1903 record, it shows that Milo was earning $67.46 in wages. I was unable to find any explanation about whether that amount was a yearly or monthly wage. I have been unable to locate any newspaper articles about him that might help complete his story.
Woodmen of the World
Woodmen of the World is a non-profit fraternal benefit society (similar to a Masonic Lodge) founded in 1890 and based in Omaha, Nebraska. The society was founded by Joseph Cullen Root to benefit people working in dangerous jobs such as loggers. Membership wasn’t restricted to loggers and included anyone with a dangerous occupation. The society was originally called Modern Woodmen of America and was based in Lyons, Iowa in 1883. Joseph Root founded the society after hearing a sermon about “pioneer woodsmen clearing away the forest to provide for their families.” Considering his own surname, the topic of the sermon, and how the sermon moved him, Joseph decided he wanted to start a society that “would clear away problems of financial security for its members.” At some point early on there was some internal discord after which Root was kicked out of the organization he founded. When he moved to Omaha he decided to start again with a new group he called the Modern Woodmen of the World. Shortly after, he dropped the word as ‘Modern’ from the title and that’s how Woodmen of the World came into existence. In the 1960’s, the organization absorbed some other smaller fraternal organizations such as the United Order of the Golden Cross, Order of Railroad Telegraphers, and New England Order of Protection. Like other fraternal organizations it had an auxiliary for the women. Woodmen of the World’s auxiliary was called Woodmen Circles. Local units were called “Groves”. This auxiliary was absorbed into Woodmen of the World in the 1960’s. There was a spinoff auxiliary but it was re-absorbed by Woodmen of the World in 2001. In addition to the women’s auxiliary there were also organizational units for children- Boys of Woodcraft and Girls of Woodcraft- both of which later became Woodmen Rangers and Rangerettes. In 2015, the organization began marketing itself as WoodmenLife.
For a while, Woodmen of the World played an important role in broadcasting but was eventually forced to get out of this business due to their non-profit status. Johnny Carson got his start on the Woodmen’s station, WOW-TV. Eventually the television station was known as WOWT and was sold to Chronicle Broadcasting. The Woodmen’s radio station call letters were WOAW. Today you can hear the station under the call letters KXSP (1490, a Top 40 Hits station) on the AM dial and KQCH (94.1, a Top 40 Hits station) on the FM dial out of Omaha, Nebraska. If you feel like listening today, you can listen to the station live online at http://www.channel941.com/. Would you prefer to watch a movie? You can catch Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt playing a retired Woodman executive actuary.
Woodmen of the World place high priorities on benefitting their communities and others. They have a strong flag donation program. You can get on their website and check out all their programs. Also on their website, they have a section for the flag and whether it’s flying at full- or half-mast the day you visit the website. They also do special lighting on their huge building in Omaha, Nebraska. You can see their special lighting of the day on their website. Try going to the website on the anniversary of 9/11. They do a 9/11 memorial ceremony each year on the anniversary of 9/11. They are a very patriotic organization.
You can get more detailed history and information about Woodmen of the World at these sites: Woodmen.org or SRJ Archives. I also enjoyed reading this blog post on Woodmen of the World at A Grave Interest blog.
There is one thing they do that Bart and I took notice of years ago even before we knew anything about Woodmen of the World. They have fantastic gravestones. This photo comes from the FindAGrave website.
This is the gravestone for Milo DEWITT. This is not the best photo but it's the only one I have right now.
I love this stone! It’s a Woodmen of the World gravestone. The organization wanted to ensure that “no Woodmen shall rest in an unmarked grave.” The stones could be personalized to a certain degree and there is a good variety of stones that I’ve seen in cemeteries around the country. One thing I love about Milo’s stone is that he opted to have the Woodmen emblem and motto on his stone. The motto is in Latin and reads, “Dum Tacet Clamet” which means, “Though silent, he speaks”.
There is much more I'd like to tell you about Milo but I'll save that for October when we celebrate his birthday. Maybe on another day this week I will post some other Woodmen stones we’ve found over the years because they are just that cool! I want today to be about Milo though, so I’m only posting his today. One more interesting fact…Joseph Root, the Woodmen founder, declared June 6th of each year to be “Woodmen Memorial Day”. He declared that on this day especially, Woodmen who had died should be remembered and honored. When a Woodman died, Woodmen organizations held “remembrance celebrations”- a parade of members marched to the cemetery where the deceased member’s Woodmen tombstone would be unveiled and dedicated in a special ceremony held by the local lodge. I do hope Milo got a remembrance celebration. I hope this year that each of you can plan a special celebration on June 6th in remembrance of our very own Woodman, Milo DEWITT. Even more than that though, I hope each of you will take the time today to celebrate and enjoy the living loved ones God has placed in your lives. Don’t save the biggest and best celebrations for when they die. Enjoy your people NOW while they are living. Love on them, hug and kiss them, leave no doubt that you love them dearly. Tomorrow isn’t a guarantee for any of us. You can’t go wrong with love. Love and hugs to all of you from me!
Until next time,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives