The Royal Highlanders was a “benevolent and fraternal corporation” originally established in Aurora, Nebraska in 1895. The goal of The Royal Highlanders was “to unite for mutual benefit and fraternal protection all white persons who are in good health, of exemplary character, and between the ages of 16 and 65.” The Royal Highlanders headquarters building in Aurora was supposedly modeled after Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
The first lodge, or “castle,” was established by F.J. Sharp with help from his brother, W.E. Sharp. At the time, the Sharp brothers were also running a hardware business in Aurora and Stockham under the firm name, F.J. Sharp & Bro. F.J. and W.E. Sharp would become the “Chief Secretary” and “Most Illustrious Protector” of The Royal Highlanders. A good source for additional information about the Royal Highlanders is the book, Historical Sketches of the Royal Highlanders by Rev. J.B. Sharp (available in the NSHS Library). The following images come from this book:
The Royal Highlanders would eventually move their “Executive Castle” or headquarters to Lincoln. In 1937 they changed their name to the Mutual Legal Reserve Life Insurance Company. In the following years, they would also use the names Lincoln Mutual Life Insurance Company and Lincoln Direct Life Insurance Company. The NSHS Library/Archives holds a sizable collection of policy records from the Royal Highlanders. These records can be a good genealogical resource because they often contain family information and death records for individual members. The following is an example of a benefit certificate from the collection.
Our Nebraska History Museum also holds several items relating to the Royal Highlanders including these pins and badges:
-Tom Mooney, Curator of Manuscripts