Woodmen of the World

(A section of the NICEVILLE, FLORIDA - Onlne History Center)

"NOT what we have, but what we use; Not what we see, but what we choose - These are the things that mar or bless The sum of human happiness. Not as we take, but as we give; Not as we pray, but as we live - These are the things that make for peace, Both now and after Time shall cease." ~ Joseph Cullen Root

Woodmen of the World -

On June 6, 1890, Joseph Cullen Root founded Woodmen of the World in a small hotel room in downtown Omaha. Root had the simple idea of making life insurance available to everyone.

By 1898, Woodmen of the World had more than 88,000 members from all over the country.

A new Woodmen of the World building opened in 1912 at the corner of 14th & Farnam in downtown Omaha - it was the tallest structure between Chicago and the Pacific ocean at the time.

Membership surpassed 750,000 in 1915.

The first cash refunds were paid to members in 1921, totaling $1,250,000.

Radio station WOAW made its first broadcast on April 2, 1923.

The W.O.W. monument grave marker program ended in the 1920's. (woodmenoftheworld.org)

Boggy, Fla:
"Special to the Journal.
The new church and W.O.W. Woodmen of the World hall is progressing nicely under the direction of B. P. Edge. It is a two-story building, something that has been needed for a long time." (Pensacola Journal, 12/04/1908)

"A large crowd from here attended the picnic at Boggy Saturday. Henry Hawkins from Boggy, was a business caller here Friday."  (Pensacola Journal, 06/30/1909)

"Miss E. Destin attended the W.O.W. (Woodmen of the World) picnic at Boggy Saturday. George Marler and family went to Boggy Saturday and report a splendid time." (Pensacola Journal, 06/30/1909)

Pensacola News Journal, 07/23/1909: (Note: W.O.W. home at Boggy)

Boggy name needs changing

"The Woodmen of the World annual picnic at Niceville, has been postponed from May 20th until a later date on account of the sad death of Sov. N. E. Burlison." (The Breeze DeFuniak Springs, 05/18/1911)

Noah Edward Burlison Grave Marker

"Woodmen of the World Monument Unveiled (at Rocky Cemetery at Niceville): Sunday November 5, Juniper Camp, 241 unveiled the monument of Sov. N. E. Burlison, who was drowned on the sinking of the steamer Belle in Choctawhatchee Bay on April 27. There was quite a large crowd attended the ceremonies." (The Breeze DeFuniak Springs, 11/16/1911) 

John A. Early died Monday at 4:30 after a long illness and was buried in Rocky Cemetery Tuesday evening. He leaves a wife, seven children and a host of friends to mourn his death. (Note: John A. Early Woodman of the World monument below. He was born December 25, 1855 and died March 11, 1912.) (The Breeze DeFuniak Springs, 03/21/1912)

WOW John A. Early marker

"The annual picnic of the Woodmen of the World was held at Boggy, (Niceville) last Saturday, and the little town was filled to the muzzle with people from every section of the county, making the trip in every conveyance from log carts to automobiles, launches and steamboats. The people amused themselves in fishing, bathing, boating and talking politics until 1 o’clock P.M., when the finest dinner we ever saw, and the most of it, was spread on some long tables under the magnificent oak trees in front of Mr. Edge’s store and everybody urged to come up and fill up.

    The crowd needed precious little persuasion, for everybody was hungry, and the way grub disappeared from those tables was something amazing. Notwithstanding the hearty appetites that were everywhere in evidence, there was plenty of good old fodder left to have fed two more crowds the size of the one that was present. The good ladies of Niceville surely know how to build a dinner fit for the gods.
After dinner, there being quite a number of candidates present, all who desired to do so were given an opportunity to address the people. After about an hour of this sort of thing the platform was cleared, the fiddlers got busy and the young people spent the remainder of the afternoon in dancing.
    It was a jolly fine picnic and it was with a feeling of genuine reluctance that the crowd commenced to disperse late in the afternoon and some of them to start for their homes in distant parts of the county.
Messrs. J. D. Sellars, Ben Infinger, Rev. S. J. Catts and the HERALD man made the trip in Mr. Sellars’ automobile and succeeded in negotiating the road from DeFuniak to Niceville in fine style, but the devil owed us a debt and paid us off in luck coming back. We had scarcely made half a mile on the return trip when the splendid little Ford car commenced to show signs of distress. Her breath came in quick, short gasps, she quivered from stem to stern and seemed to be suffering acutely in the region between the vox populi (public opinion) and the geranium. After coming over the first bad hill the little car got rapidly worse; her pulse became quick and feverish; her parallax became twisted around her equator; her radiator was found to be impinging on her doxology; she made a few unsteady plunges forward, gasped, shivered, and finally came to a dead stop on the side of a hill where the sand was 85 feet deep and as dry as ashes.
    By dint of coaxing, threats and prayer the car was brought to a point about five miles this side of Boggy, where we roosted in the woods until John Adams and Thad Bell, who had been doing all they could to help us, could make the run with their car to DeFuniak -forty miles away- and get back to us. Think of it! There we were, in what is probably the most desolate region in Florida, without any water, either for ourselves or the car, and there we were going to have to stay for goodness only knew how long! Finally, away in the night, Brother Catts declared that he could hear frogs somewhere to the west of us. Ben Infinger and the HERALD man then took the water jugs and marched off through the scrub oaks and rattlesnakes looking for the frogs - and water. Near Pensacola we found a small branch, filled ourselves and the jug and pulled back to the car. Bro. Catts and Mr. Sellars killed about half the water in the jug, poured the remainder into the radiator and the little machine made another mile and there we stuck till 3 o’clock Sunday morning.
     About might night a car passed us headed south and one of the occupants called out to know if we were broke down. Nothing but the presence of a minister saved that man from an instant and terrible death. Just as if anything but a breakdown would cause four able-bodies men to be roosting in such a place at that hour of the night. Bro. Catts, who conscience was probably easier than that of any of the others, managed to sleep a little, but the rest of us toughed it out till three o’clock Sunday morning, when a car from DeFuniak, containing John Adams, Thad Bell, Henry Stubbs and Lewis Fralick rolled up, bringing to us poor marooned outcasts a box of sandwiches and a big can of ice water. Gee, but that water was good!
    And those fellows in the car struck us as being the best looking men we had ever seen. Even John Adams, who had always looked to us more like a circus tent than anything else, appeared to us just at that time as being the most beautiful man that ever happened. Well, we had a reunion. We ate, drank and made merry and then we drank some more of that good cold water. Then we laughed, slapped each other on the back, forgave every man that we owed money to and felt as happy as a bunch of two year-olds in a clover field. John then towed our car to Mossy Head where Mr. Smith, the turpentine man, took us in his car and brought us home, arriving in DeFuniak Sunday morning at eight o’clock.
    Yes, Niceville is all right and we enjoyed the picnic hugely. We expect to go again next year, but - We “give you” the Boggy road”. (The DeFuniak Herald, 06/04/1914)

Henry I. Edwards WOW marker

"H. I. Edwards and family have moved back from Bagdad. People very often leave Niceville but they soon come back." (The Okaloosa News Journal, 11/19/1915) (Note: Henry Edwards died March 8, 1918 and is buried at Early Cemetery in Niceville. His grave on right is marked with a Woodmen of the World monument.)

“The Picnic At Niceville: It was through the kindness of our efficient and ever accommodating Tax Collector, Hon. J. A. Richbourg permitting us to use his Ford that the Editor and Mrs. Mapoles and our little son, Clayton Webb, together with Mr. and Mrs. T. C. Vaughn and their little son, Johnnie, and Grady Keel, were able to attend the picnic and fish fry at Niceville and enjoy the hospitality of those good people Saturday.

     There were present about 5 or 6 hundred people and there was never assembled a more good natured and orderly bunch of people in Okaloosa County, there being only two or three whom you could tell was drinking liquor, and these were very quiet and orderly. The dinner was one of the best and most plentiful we ever saw served, and we especially thank the good ladies of the place who helped to prepare it. There was dancing for those who enjoyed it, and boat riding, automobile riding, etc., for others who did not dance.
     The speaking in the afternoon by Messrs. J. A. Hart, and J. F. Richbourg, espousing their cause why they should be elected representative of Okaloosa County, was very interesting, clean and wholesome, and all in all the day was spent most pleasantly and much enjoyed by all that were present, and the editor is looking forward to the time when he can enjoy another outing just like that one.” (Note: Was this the forerunner of the Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival?) (Okaloosa News Journal, 05/31/1918)

"Mr. Pingles from Alabama is spending a few days here writing up W.O.W. insurance." (Okaloosa News Journal, 06/21/1918).