Improved Order of Red Men

October 29, 2006

The Improved Order of Red Men is a fraternal organization that traces its origins to pre-Revolutionary War patriotic societies like the Sons of Liberty, who were responsible for the Boston Tea Party. The name was changed to the Society of Red Men after the War of 1812, and to the Improved Order of Red Men in 1834. They use some customs and symbols of Native Americans. Today they are a patriotic fraternal organization that promotes freedom, friendship and charity. In cemeteries you will usually see an Indian head symbol like the example here, or an Eagle. The letters TOTE stand for Totem of the Eagle. The female auxiliary of the Red Men is called the Degree of Pocahontas, which was founded in 1885.

Red Men cemetery symbol - TOTE - Totem of the Eagle

Photo: from the headstone of John Z. Oak (1881-1918), Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, Colorado