Thursday, October 20, 2011

United We Stand

I introduced William Drechsler in my previous post.  I recorded his existence in the database at Washington County Historical Society.  I discovered more information about Bill in a longer obituary that came in the following edition of the Stillwater Gazette.  I discovered he was married, raised two sons and a daughter.  He and his family resided on the other side of the ferry in Houlton, WI.  Apparently, his wife was from that side of the river, and everyone knows "If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy"  I assume things weren't much different then.

The intriguing item in the second entry was a list of organizations he was a part of.  Knights of Pythias, Modern Woodmen were a couple of them listed.  Other obituaries in the Gazette listed additional organizations Independent Order of Foresters, Catholic Order of Foresters, Knights of the Templar, Masonic Temple, G.A.R, Loyal Legion. 

Secret Societies has been a topic of discussion that has achieved popularity due to books by Dan Brown such as the Davinci Code, and others.  The History, and Discovery Chanel have shown documentaries on the topic.  I wondered.  How secret of a society can it be when they publish the information in the newspaper?

Of course, the real mystery in these secret societies is what happens behind closed doors. 

I have no limit of stories from family and friends that talk about societies that someone they knew was a part of.  For instance, my father mentioned once to me that his grandfather JJ was a part of the Masons.  He was a member of this organization in a rather small rural town, Britton SD.  JJ was a member of the Lutheran church nearby his farm as well.  The preacher of the Lutheran church challenged JJ that his membership in the Masons was sacrilegious, and that he needed to choose which master he was going to serve.  Typical of the German heritage, JJ stopped going to church, and he reduced his involvement with the Masons.  My father has never really wanted to talk about this event.  I learned more from my mother and my aunts.  Exactly how JJ felt about what happened I have no idea, but the one thing I do know is that this has left a mark on my father.

My father has no desire to be a part of the church.  He has never been one to join any kind of organization.  Dad is retired now, and he has been participating more with his American Legion then he did while he was working.  He says, because people who served their country need to organize, because someone needs to stick up for the benefits they were promised when they served in the military protecting our freedoms. 

After watching all the programs I can find about secret societies, my opinion is that these organizations found power in unity based on a common idea or profession.  Masons united based on the profession of building trades.  Knights of the Templar united based on defending Christianity.  The Legion is united based on serving in the military.  I don't really need to tell you about these organizations as they are well documented all over the Internet. 

What I do want to share is that the idea of organizing is a universal noble function of man.  "United we Stand, Divided we Fall"  The United States.  Bottom line, I want to be a part of an organization that takes care of their members.  How is being a part of the Masons, or Skull and Bones any different then joining the AARP?

Right now I could stand to be a part of an organization that would help me find a job. 


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