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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Woodmen of the World

by Suzy Barile, 2006

Log-shaped gravestone for a member of the Woodmen of the World, Wahaw, N.C. Image from Flickr user catchesthelight (BEV Norton).The Woodmen of the World is a national fraternal benefit society founded on 6 June 1890 during a meeting at the Paxton Hotel in Omaha, Neb. Its founder, Joseph Cullen Root, was also the founder of the Modern Woodmen of America, a fraternal benefit society that began in 1882 and had operations in nine central western states. The organization has worked through the decades on a number of service projects that have had a large impact on North Carolina. In the early 2000s the state had about 150 adult lodges and 90 youth lodges serving approximately 110,000 members. Only 12 of North Carolina's 100 counties do not have lodges, though the organization's long-range goals include construction of lodges in those locations, and its philanthropy continues throughout the state.

An important project of the Woodmen has been the North Carolina Orphan's Christmas Party, which raises money for gifts for the state's orphans. Another project adopted by the organization was inspired by a 1997 promise that Woodmen would visit the more than 700 nursing homes in the state and provide an activity annually for the residents. By the early 2000s, more than 450 of the state's nursing homes had been visited.

Among the organization's other civic activities and achievements have been the donation of a drinking fountain to the Tryon Palace Commission in New Bern in 1957; the building of a children's camp, Fresh Air Camp, in 1958-59 by Woodmen of Asheboro on land donated by two Woodmen members; the hosting of camping trips for youngsters at Sportsman Club units at Lake Waccamaw, Camp Lookout, White Lake, and Fort Barnwell; the honoring of safe drivers; the presentation of wheelchairs to those in need; the sponsorship of the American History Awards, a history essay competition and scholarship program; and the presentation to North Carolina schools of The American Patriot's Handbook, containing the Constitution.

North Carolina's Woodmen are also active in disaster relief, a project that began after the western North Carolina lodges were called on to provide assistance to the town and residents of Macon, Ga., following a 1994 flood. Working with the American Red Cross, Woodmen today coordinate donations that are sent wherever they are needed. After Hurricane Floyd hit eastern North Carolina in September 1999, Woodmen filled more than 238 tractor trailers with donated items ranging from clothing and furniture to food and school supplies and distributed the goods to those in need.

Additional Resources:

Woodmen of the World official website:

"An act to incorporate the Sovereign Camp of the Woodmen of the World." Private laws of the state of North Carolina passed by the General Assembly at its session of 1897. Winston [N.C.]: M. I. and J. C. Stewart. 1897. p. 184-185.,210422 (accessed September 18, 2012).

"Annual Report of the Insurance Commissioner, 1904: Sovereign Camp of the Woodmen of the World." Public documents of the State of North Carolina Session 1905 volume 2. Raleigh [N.C.]: E.M. Uzzell and Co. 1905. p.463.,137813 (accessed September 18, 2012).

"Woodmen to give Orphans Christmas Party." The Dispatch [Lexington, N.C.] November 15, 1951. (accessed September 18, 2012).

Image Credits:

"Woodmen of the World Monument & Happy New Year Greetings."  Wahaw, N.C. January 1, 2007. Image from Flickr user catchesthelight (BEV Norton). (accessed September 18, 2012).




I want to tell everyone that woodmen life insurance is rip off, and especially for your aging parents, after having insurance with them for over 30 years they still your dividends, when you get in your 80’s you better do your homework you might find out that your parents don’t have any insurance because they do all kind of shady things, it was just down right awful how they did my parents after paying all that money they were Forced to get a pre need , they couldn’t afford to pay over $300 a month or every 3 months $600 or more because they had a no good representative long story short they have lint my whole family and I will never tell anyone to get insurance from woodmen, again pre need is really all a person need , yes I’m still pissed


Hello my name is Ramona Ann Griffin Phillips and I do a lot of family history and I found that my family is from Atlanta, Cass County Texas. I have family still there of course and I used to go visit my great aunt every summer as a child. Anyway my father wanted me to look at some headstones in Atlanta and there were several with the Woodsman of the World markings and words on the headstones of our family and we have been wanting more information on what the Woodsman of the world were all about . Can you help please so I can add the information to my family history books please and thank you.



If this article doesn't help, I suggest going to their website at 

Erin Bradford, Government and Heritage Library


I am the great granddaughter of. Mr Felipe Ruiz. His daughter. Juanita Ruiz is my mother's. mom. And my grandmother. My Great grandfater was married to Isidra Ruiz.I know. he's in the books.I'm so proud of my great grandfather.And Love him and miss him very much.Can you send me something that represent him.Thank You.Born late 1800's. He got his picture on the monument.


I have a photograph, probably 1900-1930, that shows a white building with W.o.W on the wall and the words CAMP 105. It also says "The Ben Ali Theatre." Two women and a dog are standing in front. The photo is in a family album but no one knows what it is or who the women are. Is it possible that it has something to do with Woodmen Lodge 105?


Hello Richard,

That seems to be a likely explanation. You can find more information about that chapter in Elkin here:

Best Wishes,

Christopher - NC Government and Heritage Library


Does anyone have a picture or painting of the Woodmen lodge that was located in the Buford Township off of Lancaster Hwy. I believe the building was first Turner School then became the lodge. I currently live on the same property. I have found part of the old foundation and am curious to see what the building looked like. If anyone wants one of the bricks I have several.

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