Enlarge Text

Q: I'd like to know more about this framed sign that says "John Hunter, Mizpah Council No. 361, Washington, Pa." and has fraternal symbols on it. There is also a shield on it with the Masonic compass, an arm holding a hammer with the letters "Jr.O UAM," and another shield with a school building and the words "The Fortress of American Freedom." The words "Virtue," "Liberty," and "Patriotism" are on banners. Along the bottom it says, "Visit the sick" and "Bury the dead." Can you tell me what this represents?

A: All of the symbols on the sign were used by the Junior Order of United American Mechanics, which was founded in the Germantown section of Philadelphia in 1853. The original Order of United American Mechanics, at first called the Union of Workers, was a patriotic and nativist organization founded in the 1840s. (Nativists favored the established culture and were against the immigration of people from countries with different cultural or religious backgrounds.) The Junior OUAM, founded as a branch of the OUAM, became a separate organization in 1885 and dropped its age restrictions.

The sign in your photo apparently honors a member of the Junior OUAM's Mizpah chapter, located in Washington, Pa. ("Mizpah" is the name of a Biblical town.) The Junior OUAM eventually grew to be much larger than the OUAM. By the 1930s, the Junior OUAM had almost 3,000 councils and 200,000 members. The organization, by then open to non-mechanics, promoted trade among its members. It also supported public schools and the separation of church and state, but it encouraged Bible reading in public schools and continued to be against unrestricted immigration. It offered insurance benefits for sickness, disability, or death, and also founded an orphans' home in Tiffin, Ohio. In 1928 a second home was built in Lexington, N.C. That home is now known as the American Children's Home. The Junior OUAM is still in existence and describes itself as a nonsectarian "patriotic benefit society."

mizpah council no. 361 sign John Hunter













#1 Hunter Mizpah Council Framed Signjynshlly 2012-08-11 19:14
Regarding the question about this framed sign from a Jr.OUAM council in Pennsylvania, I also recently found one of these , Identical to this one , including the frame,with only one exception , it is from the Jacobs
Creek Council in Jacobs Creek PA , which I believe is in Greene County. In researching my Framed Sign I came across this Q & A . I was wondering if you could estimate the age and the possibly the value of this piece? Also do you know what the sign is made from,? eg...paper or tin ? It appears there may be some type of metallic paint or glitter used in the lettering.
any insight into the composition. I would appreciate any more info on this piece, as I said mine is identical to this but if needed I can send a picture.

Login to leave a comment.

Join The Discussion

Kovels.com is pleased to share your comments. Your postings may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in our print publications. We encourage a variety of opinions, but ask that you refrain from profanity and hate speech. To post comments, you must be a registered user of Kovels.com. Please remember that your username will appear with any comments you post.

Get The Latest Collecting News Every Week for FREE!

Enter your email below to receive Kovels Komments for the latest antiques & collectibles news, answers to readers questions, marks and tips. In your inbox every Wednesday.

You can unsubscribe at any time. Please refer to our Privacy Policy or Contact us for more information.
Kovels Premium