Friday, July 26, 2013

The Knights of the Maccabees

Mrs. Paul Bogert donated this picture, taken by W.A. Bishop, of a local chapter of the Knights of the Maccabees, taken around the turn of the twentieth century. Though we do not know exactly who each individual is in this picture, the first five individuals in the back row (from left to right) are: John Schoepfle, Frank Close, Jacob Hoffman, Alex Saxer, and Adam Smith. In the very front row are: Conrad Rhonehouse, Mosey Hohl, Bert Wiegel, Henry Bromm, and Dan Arndt (or Arend.) Other men in the group photo are: Gus Koegle, Caleb Till, Fred Hinkey, Robert Fox, George Braley, George Maley, Joe Andres, Lewis Biehl, E. Stevens, Dr. H.A. Chandler, John Kohler, and Al Ernst. 

Though the Knights of the Maccabees ceased to be a fraternal organization in 1962, in the late 1800s and the early 1900s the organization was active in Sandusky. In the 1916 Sandusky City Directory, there were four “tents” of the Knights of the Maccabees and two “hives” of the Ladies of Maccabees. One of the main benefits of joining the Knights of the Maccabees was the opportunity for members to obtain life insurance at a reasonable rate. 

An article in the July 16, 1900 issue of the Sandusky Star reported on a trip that the Maccabees took to Columbus. The Chandler Division of the uniformed rank, Knights of the Maccabees, marched from their hall on Market Street to the train station. As they marched, the members of the Maccabees wore wigs and played kazoos. While in Columbus, they had an encampment with several of divisions of the Maccabees. A special side show exhibit was held at the Maccabees encampment, in which Jacob Hoffman portrayed one of Custer’s scouts and Dr. Chandler served as a “crack-a-jack” story teller. 

If you have ancestors from Sandusky or Erie County, visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. In our Clubs and Organizations collection, are many photographs, historical articles, and primary sources about many of this area’s former residents.

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