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Improved Order of Red Men

Stewart Bell Jr. Archives
Handley Regional Library
Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society

P.O. Box 58, Winchester, VA 22604
(540) 662-9041 ext. 17


Inventory created by Archives Staff 12/84. Last revised 11/18.

ACCESS RESTRICTIONS: Collection is open to all researchers.

USE RESTRICTIONS: Restrictions may apply concerning the use, duplication, or publication of items in this collection. Consult a member of the archives staff for information concerning these restrictions. The user assumes all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants of copyright.

EXTENT: 0.67 linear feet

CREATOR: Improved Order of Red Men (Shawnee Tribe No. 2 of Winchester)

DATE: 1904-1921

SCOPE AND CONTENT: The Records include by-laws, rosters, treasurers’ reports, and minutes for the Improved Order of Red Men, Shawnee Tribe No. 2 of Winchester, Virginia, as well as some records for the Incohonee Tribe No. 17. The Collection also contains papers, letters, and other items from members of the Great Council of Virginia, and other Virginia, Oregon, and Iowa tribes.

BIOGRAPHICAL/HISTORICAL: The Order of Red Men was a fraternal organization which began in 1765 and was based on another patriotic, fraternal organization, the Sons of Liberty. After the Revolutionary War, the organization was renamed the Improved Order of Red Men. The Order of Red Man patterned their organization after the Iroquois Indian Nation. Despite the name, the organization was by and for the white man and the rituals and regalia used were those that its members believed or assumed were common practices among Native Americans. As the organization’s popularity grew, it became a national organization in 21 states with 150,000 members. Famous members included George Washington, Patrick Henry, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.  The records for the Shawnee Tribe No. 2 of Winchester, Virginia show that by-laws were in place by 1848 although the exact date of its establishment in the area is not clear.

CITE AS: Improved Order of Red Men Records, 420 WFCHS/THL, Stewart Bell Jr. Archives, Handley Regional Library, Winchester, VA, USA.

ACQUISITION: Acquired as a gift. 



Great Council of Virginia - papers, 36 leaves, manuscript

Committee on Judiciary - decisions, 10 leaves, manuscript

Laws, 2 items, printed "General Laws for Tribes in Virginia," 1908
By-laws of Shawnee Tribe No. 2, 1848, includes rituals and terminology

Address of R. T. Barton to the Shawnee Tribe No. 2, 1871, 1 item, printed

Shawnee Tribe No. 2 - papers, 1905-1929, 56 items, 28 leaves, manuscript; 9 leaves, typescript; 8 printed forms; 11 unused envelopes

Other Councils and Tribes, 1875-1906, 45 items, 1 booklet, 46 pages, printed; 44 leaves, manuscript; 1 leaf, 1 envelope, typescript; 1 leaf, manuscript on printed form

Newspaper articles


Prepared roster, rolls, and minutes book - Shawnee Tribe No. 2, 1904-1908, includes committee reports and rituals, 1 item, manuscript on printed forms

Minutes, treasurer's reports, rosters - Shawnee Tribe No. 2, 1904-1921, 1 item, 103 pages, manuscript

Roster and dues records - Shawnee Tribe No. 2, 1908-1913, 1 item, 202 pages, manuscript on printed forms