History: Knights of the Maccabees, Tent 169, Greenwood, Wis. (1908)

Contact: janet@wiclarkcountyhistory.org


Surnames: Hubbell, Tuttle, Hartson


Knights of the Maccabees was a fraternal organization formed in 1878 in London, Ontario, Canada. A related but separate organization, "Maccabees of the World", was also established, the two merging under the title "The Knights of the Maccabees of the World" (KOTMOTW), later shortened to the Maccabees in 1914.



The original group named Maccabees were a priestly family of Jews who organized a successful rebellion against the Seleucid ruler Antiochus IV and reconsecrated the defiled Temple of Jerusalem.  "The aspects of Maccabeus's feats that appealed to the founders of the modern Maccabees were steadfastness and persistence; his wisdom in the use of power; and the fact that he seems to have been the first recorded military leader to order his soldiers to reserve a part of their spoils for the widows and orphans of their fallen colleagues, and lastly his unwavering determination to protect the particular nation and culture of his people in their ancestral land.".  As a fraternal organization, the Knights of Maccabees want to emulate his example.

19th Century

In 1878, the Knights of Maccabees was founded by Nathan Boynton in London, Ontario in Canada and was reorganized in 1883.  The Knights of the Maccabees had a membership of 209,831 in 1896.



The motto of the Knights of Maccabees is the Latin "Astra Castra Numen Lumen" which means "The stars my camp, the Deity my light".

Organizational Structure

The modern Knights of Maccabees accepts men and women of good moral character. The offices of a KOTM Tent are:
Grand Commander
Lt. Commander
Knight Commander
Captain of the Guard
Knight Record Keeper
Master at Arms
Inner Guard
Outer Guard
Members who do not hold office are called Warriors


Degree of Protection - In the Degree of Protection, the candidate was introduced to the demands of Honor, Courage, and Obedience. The candidate learned the history of Maccabee household and how it protected Judea from King Antiochus during the war of independence. To prove themselves fit to "join in the cause of humanity," the tyros had to undergo an ordeal.

Degree of Friendship - In the Degree of Friendship, the Commander takes the part of Mattathias, the Lt. Commander that of Judas, the Past Commander that of John (son of Mattathias), and the Chaplain that of Eleazar (son of Mattathias). The candidate received instruction in the nature of friendship.

Degree of Loyalty - In the Degree of Loyalty, the dramatic work revolved around the following characters: Apelles, Mattathias, Matthathias's four sons, Judas, Soldiers, while the candidate, Sentinel, and a Knight took the parts of Jewish peasants. In keeping with the Maccabee legend of the revolt at Modin the patriarch Mattathias remained steadfast to the Jewish religion when ordered to make sacrifice to Roman gods and at great personal risk stops an apostate Jew from offering sacrifice to false gods. The lesson derived from his example was that of genuine patriotism and inculcated the duty to uphold and defend the rights of liberty and conscience when they are threatened by irresponsible power in any form. Additionally, the candidate was reintroduced to the ghost of Eleazar and finally sees the end of the rebellion.





The above notice for Black River Tent, No. 169, K.O.T.M. appeared in the Greenwood Gleaner,

Greenwood, Wisconsin 10 Dec 1908


----Source:  Greenwood Gleaner, Greenwood, Wisconsin 10 Dec 1908


Black River Tent No. 169, K.O.T.M. meets first and third Wednesdays of each month.  L. A. Thrapp, Com.,  H. E. Hartson, R. K.



----Source: Greenwood Gleaner 30 Aug 1906

The funeral of Arthur Hubbell was held Sunday afternoon from the M.E. church where Revs. Presnall and Hendren each delivered addresses, after which the Black River Tent No. 169, K.O.T.M. (Knights of the Maccabees), of which deceased was a member and an officer, escorted the remains to the cemetery and there performed the last sad rites in his honor. The church was beautifully decorated with flowers and the casket was laden with the same , and with floral designs provided by the tent and by the Lady Maccabeus, who also accompanied the Sir Knights in the procession from and to the house.