Williamsport Red Men Tribe #84 is the Largest Tribe within The Improved Order of Red Men Organization. The Great Council of the United States and the Reservation of Maryland chartered the Conococheague Tribe 84 in 1887. We then occupied an old church on South Conococheague Street in the Town of Williamsport Maryland 20 years or so after the Civil War came through this area.
The fraternity traces its origins back to the 1765 and is descended from the Sons of Liberty. These patriots concealed their identities and worked “underground” to help establish freedom and liberty in the early Colonies. They patterned themselves after the great Iroquois Confederacy and its democratic governing body. Their system, with elected representatives to govern tribal councils, had been in existence for several centuries.
After the War of 1812 the name was changed to the Society of Red Men and in 1834 to the Improved Order of Red Men. They kept the customs and terminology of Native Americans as a basic part of the fraternity. Some of the words and terms may sound strange, but they soon become a familiar part of the language for every member. The Improved Order of Red Men is similar in many ways to other major fraternal organization in the United States.
The Improved Order of Red Men is a national fraternal organization that believes in…
- Love of and Respect for the American Flag.
- Preserving our Nation by defending and upholding the principle of free Government.
- America and the democratic way of life.
- Preserving the traditions and history of this great Country.
- Creating and inspiring a greater love for the United States of America.
- Helping our fellow men through organized charitable programs.
- Linking our members together in a common bond of Brotherhood and Friendship.
- Perpetuating the beautiful legends and traditions of a once-vanishing race and keeping alive some of the traditional customs, ceremonies and philosophies.
- Legally, The Improved Order of Red Men is a patriotic fraternity chartered by Congress. It is a non-profit organization devoted to inspiring a greater love for the United Sates of America and the principles of American Liberty.
In more recent history in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s Williamsport Red Men Tribe #84 fell on hard times and almost had to surrender it’s Charter. There were only a handful of dedicated and committed members left at the time. But fortunately for the tribe it was enough to keep it going and growing.
During the 1970’s, a Boys group was formed called the Degree of Hiawatha, and it was designed for boys between the ages of 8-16 years old. They learned the Tribal ways, and helped with the parades that were held in town. The Red Men and Degree of Hiawatha, along with the Degree of Pocahontas would dress in our Indian Regalia and use a float for these town parades. The boys group has since become defunct.
In the Early 1980’s we had saved enough money to purchase a large tract of land outside of the town of Williamsport, and a new improved facility was built there. . This large red facility sits on several acres of land on Lappans Road in Williamsport, and it is complete with ballroom, dining room, game room,, and bar area. The Grand Opening was held on May 20, 1989. A few years later a large pavilion was built and complemented with kitchen, grills, refrigeration units, and modern restrooms.
Today the Williamsport Redmen and Pocahontas have over 4,000 members and are still growing.