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Life insurance, as commercially conducted in the mid to late 1800's failed to meet the needs of the masses. Only the prosperous minority could afford to indulge in such an expensive luxury. Thousands upon thousands had seen their dearly bought protection vanish in bankruptcy proceedings and receiverships.

Masons and Odd Fellows had organized relief associations that bound members of the lodge together. That gave rise to the concept of bringing men together in a fraternal union for purposes of protection.

John Upchurch founded the Ancient Order of United Workmen in Pennsylvania, upon the principle of combining cooperation and fraternity with the business of furnishing protection at the lowest possible cost. While his plan was wrong in detail, the protection was what people demanded. He planted the seed, from which grew a tree whose branches would protect many thousands of widows, orphans, and dependants.

The Knights of Honor was founded in Kentucky, with a slight improvement in recognizing sound insurance principles. Their growth was rapid, almost spontaneous. People in moderate circumstances welcomed them with open arms and pockets.

In 1876-77 two of the founders of Knights of Honor, John A. Cummings of Boston, MA. And Dr. Darius

President Eisenhower with Claremont council

Wilson attempted to have the K. of H. adopt a scale of assessment, recognizing one of the well-known elements of life insurance. The effort failed, because of a lack of public education.

Upon their return to Boston, Brothers Wilson and Cummings organized a new society under Massachusetts's law. Dr. Wilson invited the members to meet at his house, 1066 Washington Street, on June 23, 1877, and by virtue of his position as founder of the order, organized the Supreme Council of the Royal Arcanum.

RA Club musical revue in Brooklyn,ny

The association received a charter from the State of Massachusetts on November 5, 1877.

prize winning float from 1929

Although Royal Arcanum is one of the success stories in the fraternal life insurance business, the same can not be said for The Knights of Honor as they were bankrupt by 1916.

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Founded in Boston

The city of Boston was founded in 1630 and is famous for its historical landmarks and the events that have taken place here such as the Boston Tea Party, Battle of Bunker Hill and the midnight ride of Paul Revere.boston

Thirteen major colleges and universities are here including Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Boston College.


In sports, the hometown teams are the Boston Red Sox in baseball, the Boston Celtics in basketball, the Boston Bruins in hockey and the New England Patriots in football. The sports fans in Boston and throughout New England are very passionate about their sports teams and readily support them.

Royal Arcanum was founded in Boston in 1877.




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