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Fraternal Order of Eagles

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  • Allen Jonas Carbaugh (1881 - 1968)
    GEDCOM Note ===Gettysburg Times 9/5/1968 Allen J. Carbaugh, 86, Main Street, Arendtsville, died at his home at 4:30 o'clock Wednesday afternoon after an illness of several years. A native of Adams Coun...
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  • Jacob John Goering, Sr. (1896 - 1963)

Fraternal Order of Eagles (F.O.E.) is an international fraternal organization that was founded on February 6, 1898, in Seattle, Washington by a group of six theater owners including John Cort (the first president), brothers John W. and Tim J. Considine, Harry (H.L.) Leavitt (who later joined the Loyal Order of Moose), Mose Goldsmith and Arthur Williams.

Originally made up of those engaged in one way or another in the performing arts, the Eagles grew and claimed credit for establishing the Mother's Day holiday in the United States as well as the "impetus for Social Security" in the United States. Their lodges are known as "aeries."


Terracotta ornamentation of the former Eagles Aerie No. 1, Eagles Auditorium Building in Seattle. The Fraternal Order of Eagles, an international non-profit organization, unites fraternally in the spirit of liberty, truth, justice, and equality, to make human life more desirable by lessening its ills, and by promoting peace, prosperity, gladness and hope.

The Fraternal Order of Eagles was founded on February 6, 1898. The organization was formed by six theater owners sitting on a pile of lumber in Moran's shipyard in Seattle, Washington. They were competitors who had come together to discuss a musicians’ strike. After deciding how to handle the strike, they agreed to "bury the hatchet" and form an organization dubbed "The Order of Good Things."

Early meetings were held on local theater stages, and after taking care of business, attendees rolled out a keg of beer and enjoyed social time. As numbers grew, participants selected the bald eagle as the official emblem and changed the name to "The Fraternal Order of Eagles." In April 1898, the membership formed a Grand Aerie, secured a charter and developed a constitution and by-laws, with John Cort elected the Eagles' first president.

Touring theater troupes are credited with much of the Eagles' rapid growth. Most early members were actors, stagehands and playwrights, who carried the Eagles story as they toured across the United States and Canada. The organization's success is also attributed to its funeral benefits (no Eagle was ever buried in a potter's field), the provision of an aerie physician, and other membership benefits. The Eagles pushed for the founding of Mother's Day, provided the impetus for Social Security, and pushed to end job discrimination based on age. The Eagles have provided support for medical centers across the United States and Canada to build and provide research on medical conditions. Every year they raise millions of dollars to combat heart disease and cancer, help children with disabilities, and uplift the aged and infirm.

History of the Auxiliary

A "new era for the women of Eagledom" began when an amendment to the Grand Aerie Laws to establish a Grand Auxiliary passed unanimously at the 1951 Grand Aerie Convention in Rochester, New York. Eagle Auxiliaries had existed before the Grand Auxiliary was formed, the first being founded on March 24, 1927 in Pittsburg, Kansas. Three days later, a second Auxiliary was established in Frontenac, Kansas. By March 1951, 965 local Auxiliaries were in existence, totaling 130,000 members. By the end of that year, 22 state and provincial Auxiliaries were also operating.


1898 — "Order of Good Things" established. Later that year, the organization changed its name to Fraternal Order of Eagles and formed the first Aerie.

1904 — F.O.E. starts advocating for Mother's Day

1927 — Creation and formation of the Ladies Auxiliary

1935 — Support for enactment of Social Security Law

1944 — Eagles Memorial Fund established

1954 — Nearly 10,000 Ten Commandments plaques distributed

1955 — F.O.E. Ten Commandments monument placed in Ambridge, PA. F.O.E. Ten Commandments monument placed on the grounds of a state capital, Denver, CO

1957 — Nationwide "Jobs After 40" program inaugurated

1967 — Jimmy Durante Children's Foundation established

1972 — Golden Eagle Fund established

1983 — Max Baer Heart Fund offered first grants for Aerie-sponsored CPR classes $405,000 donated to Eagles' Truman Cardiovascular Lab at Research Medical Center, Kansas City Golden Eagle Fund donated $5,000 in grants to institutions conducting Alzheimer's disease research

1985 — Donations to St. Jude Hospital top $1 million

1988 — Eagles matched grants up to $500 to sponsor Drug Education Seminars

1991 — Eagles supported Operation Desert Storm with mail and food packages

1995 — $50,000 donated for the Eagle Alcove of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C. (Roosevelt was a lifetime F.O.E. member)

2001 — Memorial Foundation established Attack on America Fund and raised $500,000 F.O.E. purchased property to consolidate international headquarters

2002 — International headquarters opened in Grove City, Ohio

2005 — Eagles rededicated Ten Commandments monument at international headquarters F.O.E. generously supported development of a new scoliosis brace named the "Eagle Brace" F.O.E. signed first year contract with Braun Racing for car

2006 — Eagles worked with local government leaders to keep "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. F.O.E. signed second year contract with Braun Racing

2007 — Eagles supported American Eagle & Literary Challenge in quest to name June 20 National Eagle Day, The Disaster Relief Fund was passed which will allow the Eagles to have "trailers" stocked with supplies to be a first response team.

2008 — $25 million gift commitment to fund The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center at The University of Iowa.

2016 - February 24, Carol Wierzbicki was voted into the New Westminster chapter as an Aerie member, as the first Female Aerie.


At one point the qualifications for membership were that one must be 21 years old, possess a good character, not be a Communist and be a Caucasian. By the late 1970s the all white provision had officially been rescinded, but, because the Order used the blackball to admit new members, it was difficult for minorities to gain membership. In 1979 the FOE tried to get a lawsuit dismissed that alleged it was violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by not allowing African Americans to use their athletic facilities. The article stated that a local Eagle official could only cite Joe Louis as a black member of the FOE.

As of 2007 membership is open to any person of good moral character, and believes in the existence of a supreme being, and is not a member of the Communist Party nor any organization which advocates the overthrow of the United States government.

In 1979 the Order had 800,000 members, a figure said to have been relatively constant over a decade. In 2011, it had 850,000 member in the main organization and 250,000 members of the women's auxiliary.

The FOE no longer uses secret passwords or "roughhouse initiation" rite. But, in 1979, it still had a ritual. The prospective member was asked to promise before God and on his honor, not to disclose the rituals of the Order to anyone outside of the FOE. The initiation took place in lodge room furnished with an altar and a Bible and included religious phrases and prayers.

The FOE had an insurance program in its early years, but discontinued this in 1927. Instead it offered sick and death benefits for members who would pay higher fees. Therefore, the FOE now has two membership categories, beneficial and non-beneficial.

Charitable giving

"People helping people" is a statement that guides the charitable actions of the Fraternal Order of Eagles and has led the Eagles to donate more than $100 million annually. As part of the charitable philosophy, the Eagles give back 100 percent of the contributions received in the form of grants. All administrative costs are paid by the International Organization through membership dues.

In 1941 the FOE donated funds for the construction of a dormitory at Boys Town, Nebraska. Father Flanagan, the founder of Boys Town was member of the order. A few years later the Order sponsored the creation of Eagle Hall at the Range for Boys at Sentinel Butte, North Dakota. The High Girl Ranch, near Midland, Texas has also received a dormitory.

The Memorial Foundation was founded in 1946, and regularly supports medical research projects. In the 1970s the FOE joined environmentalists in efforts to save the bald eagle from extinction. They also lent their efforts to help the golden eagle as well. In 1959 the FOE began construction on a retirement home for elderly members in Bradenton, Florida. Today this home is part of Eagle Village, where there are other facilities available to the elderly.

Government Relations

Since the time of the New Deal the FOE has promoted social legislation, particularly old age and mothers pensions, Social Security and workmens compensation. By 1980 it was advocating for seniors to work after age 65 and to return the Social Security system back to its original purpose

Mothers Day

Frank E. Hering, a Past Grand Worthy President of the Fraternal Order of Eagles in South Bend, Indiana, campaigned for "a national day to honor our mothers," nearly 35 years after social activist Ann Jarvis first proposed a similar U.S. holiday. The idea of advocating for Mother's Day came to Hering when he was a faculty member at the University of Notre Dame. Walking into the classroom of a fellow instructor, Hering found his colleague distributing penny postcards to students. Each student addressed his or her card and scribbled a message on it. Hering was informed the students could write anything, as long as it was addressed to the students’ mothers.

Hering leveraged his connection with the Fraternal Organization of Eagles to organize its members in promoting the holiday, and in 1914, legislation in the U.S. Congress requested a presidential proclamation to designate the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day. This date was encouraged by Anna Marie Jarvis, daughter of Ann Jarvis who continued her mother's work in crusading for a U.S. memorial day for mothers. President Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation and May 10, 1914 became the first official Mother's Day.

In 1925, the "Society of War Mothers" invited Hering to participate in a special Mother's Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. There, at the "Tomb of the Unknown Soldier," before a large audience including many congressmen and senators, Hering was introduced as "the Father of Mother's Day." That was 11 years after President Woodrow Wilson by Proclamation officially made Mother's Day the second Sunday in May.

Today the Eagles’ work to acknowledge mothers on Mother’s Day is recognized by the Anna Jarvis Birthplace Museum – a museum honoring the daughter of Ann Jarvis. Grand Madam President Margaret Cox (2007–2008), was named “2008 Mother of the Year” by the Anna Jarvis Birthplace Museum in partnership with the International Mother's Day Shrine in Grafton, WV. Cox was honored at the 100th anniversary of the holiday during the Mother’s Day Founder’s Festival, May 10 and 11, 2008.

Notable Eagles

United States Presidents

Seven United States Presidents held membership in the Fraternal Order of Eagles.

Theodore Roosevelt - Cheyenne, Wyoming, 26th President

Warren G. Harding - Marion, Ohio, 29th President

Franklin D. Roosevelt - Buffalo, New York, 32nd President

Harry S. Truman - Independence, Missouri, 33rd president

John F. Kennedy - Hyde Park, Massachusetts, 35th President,

James Earl "Jimmy" Carter - Atlanta, Georgia, 39th President,

Ronald Reagan - Santa Barbara, California, 40th President,

Notable Aerie members

James Riddle "Jimmy" Hoffa (February 14, 1913 – ?) was an American labor union leader and author who served as the President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) union from 1958 until 1971. He vanished in late July 1975 at age 62.


Jack Christian, Louisiana politician

William Allen Egan, Governor, Alaska

J. Edgar Hoover, FBI Director,

Joe Manchin, West Virginia US Senator

Walter Mondale, Vice President

Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court


Father Edward J. Flanagan, founder of Boys Town


Billy Ray Cyrus, musical performer and entertainer

Kenaula Ziegele, singer and entertainer

Jimmy Durante, musical performer and entertainer

Keoki Ziegele, comedian, performer

Tony Orlando, musical performer and entertainer

Quentin Gambone, Professional Italian


Max Baer, boxer/heavyweight champion

Jim Crowley, College Football Hall of Fame member, one of the Four Horsemen

Joe Foss, WWII "ace" pilot, first commissioner of the AFL

Bob Griese, Super Bowl winning quarterback

Sam Hornish, Jr., IRL and NASCAR driver

Jim Houston, College Football Hall of Fame member

Gordie Howe, Hockey Hall of Fame member

Johnny Longden, jockey, Honorary Lifetime Member

Joe Louis, boxer (claimed)

Roger Maris, baseball player

Earl Morrall, NFL Most Valuable Player 1968

Stan Musial, Baseball Hall of Fame member

Joe Nuxhall, pitcher and broadcaster

Arnold Palmer, golfer

Art Rooney, founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers

Red Schoendienst, Baseball Hall of Fame member

Warren Spahn, Baseball Hall of Fame member

Tony Stewart, NASCAR driver

Jerry Quarry, boxer

Devin "Belvedere" Shea, 4 time Massachusetts/Rhode Island F.O.E. State Pool Champion

Wilma Rudolph, American sprinter, Olympian

Notable Auxiliary Members

Virginia Graham, radio and TV personality

Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of former U.S. President

Bess Truman, wife of former U.S. President

Susan Wagner, wife of New York Mayor Robert F. Wagner, Jr.