Independent Order of Foresters


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Jule Spohn's grandfather, John T. Tighe, was a member of the George A. Halsey Court of the Foresters Of America in Newark around 1900.

The following information was forwarded by Pat Giovanni:

My aunt, Henrietta Mattern, was a member of this fraternal group when she worked for Eberhard Faber Pencil Co. in Newark, NJ. I have her 1943 membership card. She was a beneficiary member of C. Court Newark...No. 558 of Newark, NJ. On the reverse side of the card the following was listed:

In Case of Accident, please notify your Financial or Recording Secretary at once, or one of the following High Court Officers

Vincent J. MELE, High Chief Ranger
44 Commerce Street, Newark, NJ

Anthony J. LECOQUE, High Secretary
44 commerce Street, Newark, NJ
Tel MArket 2-3905

A.J. WHITEHILL, High Treasurer
306 Woodlawn Avenue, Jersey City, NJ

What is The Independent Order Of Foresters?

The Independent Order of Foresters is one of the world’s oldest and largest fraternal benefit societies with over one million members. The IOF Foresters is international in scope with the majority of its members located in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The IOF Foresters sells a wide range of life insurance, and annuity products.


The concept of Forestry originated hundreds of years ago when people voluntarily formed groups called Friendly Societies to provide help for one another in times of distress. Based on the spirit of brotherhood, each family contributed to a fund from which they could draw when an emergency arose.

In 1874 at Newark, New Jersey, a group of people carrying on these traditions of mutual aid and fraternity started The Independent Order of Foresters. As membership grew, the scope of the IOF Foresters broadened into a family fraternity. Picnics, excursions, dances and Court meetings drew the members closer together and strengthened family ties.

From the beginning, Foresters have often come to the aid of members who are victims of catastrophic disasters. Whether it be earthquakes, floods, tornadoes or fires, the IOF Foresters has many a time extended a helping hand to its members in distress.


The IOF Foresters fraternal structure has three levels of government and activities. At the foundation of the IOF Foresters are its members, who belong to Courts close to where they live. There are nearly 500 of these Courts. Members vote to elect their own Court officers who meet on a regular basis to handle the business of the Court. These officers voluntarily give of their time and expertise for the benefit of all members of the Court.

At the second level are the High Courts, which provide the leadership and direction to assist local Courts in their activities. High Court officers are elected representatives of the Courts within their jurisdiction. At the top of the IOF Foresters is the Supreme Court. This body governs the IOF Foresters and convenes every four years to elect the Supreme Chief Ranger and other Supreme Court Officers.

The IOF Foresters is operated solely for the benefit of its members and their families. There are no stockholders or owners. The IOF Foresters welcomes qualified members of every faith, race and occupation.

Local Activities

Some of the IOF Foresters’ activities are purely social and for fun and friendship. These could include bowling leagues, golf tournaments, bingo parties, dances, trailbike and camper clubs. Many Courts are involved with the youth in their communities in activities such as scouting, little league baseball and hockey.

Throughout the IOF Foresters, there are many examples of benevolence in action. Most Courts are involved in charitable activities in their communities. Funds have been raised and donations made of time to many worthy causes. The IOF Foresters has raised money for Habitat for Humanity, a traveling fire safety education unit, cancer research equipment, guide dogs for the blind…the list goes on.

International Activities

The IOF Foresters sponsors extensive public relations programs focused on effective parenting and the prevention of child abuse. Since 1974, a separately incorporated charitable foundation, the IOF Foresters Prevention of Child Abuse Fund, has given financial aid to family service programs addressing the prevention of child abuse.

IOF Foresters prevention of child abuse efforts have initiated international public awareness programs including the development and distribution of educational brochures and video tapes, newspaper articles, parenting seminars and public service announcements for radio and television.

The IOF Foresters has also had a rewarding relationship with the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) for the benefit of hospitalized children. Each year, IOF Foresters Courts raise hundreds of thousands of dollars which CMN distributes to children’s hospitals throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Fraternal Benefits

IOF Foresters' members in good standing are entitled to FraternalBenefits authorized under the IOF Foresters' constitution and laws.

These benefits presently include

•Scholarship Program
•Scholarship Grants to Children on Death of Parent
•Common Carrier Accidental Death Benefit
•Multiple Sclerosis Benefit - up to $6,000
•Cancer Benefit - up to $2,400
•Tuberculosis Benefit - up to $6,000
•Infectious Diseases Benefit - up to $6,000
•Terminal Illness Benefit
•Newborn Benefit
•Orphan Benefit
•Financial assistance for full orphans
•Senior Benefit (Forester Haven)
•Living accommodation and maintenance for senior members and their spouses who are unable to provide financially for themselves;
•Fraternal Services and Activities

Some benefits may not be available in all three Countries.