The Royal Highlanders

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 Royal Highlanders Headquarters Building in Aurora, Nebraska. (NSHS RG3828.PH.001.0011)

The Royal Highlanders Headquarters Building in Aurora, Nebraska. (NSHS RG3828.PH.001.0011)

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:

W.E. Sharp, Most Illustrious Protector

W.E. Sharp, Most Illustrious Protector (NSHS Library 968 R81s, p. 12)

The Royal Highlander Band of Doniphan, Nebraska (NSHS 968 R81s, p. 110)

The Royal Highlander Band of Doniphan, Nebraska (NSHS 968 R81s, p. 110)

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.

Royal Highlanders benefit certificate (NSHS RG3962.AM)

Royal Highlanders benefit certificate (NSHS RG3962.AM)

Our Nebraska History Museum also holds several items relating to the Royal Highlanders including these pins and badges:

The Royal Highlanders badge (NSHS 7756-10)

The Royal Highlanders badge (NSHS 7756-10)

Royal Highlanders badge, Falls City Castle no. 25 (NSHS 9691-10)

Royal Highlanders badge, Falls City Castle no. 25 (NSHS 9691-10)

Royal Highlanders badge, Falls City Castle no. 25 (NSHS 9691-10)

Royal Highlanders badge, Falls City Castle no. 25 (NSHS 9691-10)

-Tom Mooney, Curator of Manuscripts

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10 Responses to The Royal Highlanders

  1. Susan Rope says:

    Dear Mr. Mooney, I read with interest your December 9, 2010 post on the Royal Highlanders. I have a copy of what appears to be a publication called “The Royal Highlander”, Volume X, Number 3, September 1905. A family friend’s ancestor, and also (what we believe is) one of our ancestors, is pictured with the drill team at Bedrock Castle, Marysville, Montana. Do you know if this publication could be located? It would be wonderful if the picture were captioned with names. Thank you! Susan Rope

    • Tom Mooney says:

      Susan,

      We don’t have any issues of The Royal Highlander in the manuscript collections, but I will do a little checking to see if copies can be located elsewhere. I will let you know.

      -Tom Mooney

  2. Patrick Sharp says:

    Mr. Mooney,

    I was so excited to stumble upont this site. I have inherited the duty of putting together a family geneology of the Sharp family (my grandfather, FWSharp, Sr, handed a lot of information to my father, FWSharp, Jr back in 1985, and I have taken up the task to put it all together.) F.J was my great-great-grandfather. I have found the research to be enthralling, and would love the opportunity to peruse the Royal Highlander archives (and anything else the NSHS might have as it pertains to the family) if at all possible. I hope I can call on you with questions in the future, if you wouldn’t mind.

    Sincerely,

    Patrick W. Sharp

    • Tom Mooney says:

      Patrick,

      Thank you for contacting me regarding the Royal Highlanders collection. As you can see from the inventory, the collection consists almost entirely of records of policy holders.

      http://www.nebraskahistory.org/lib-arch/research/manuscripts/organize/royal-highlanders.htm

      I don’t know that the manuscript collection is going to contain any additional information about the Sharp family unless there are actual policy files for a member of the Sharp family. The background information used in the blog was taken from the book, Historical Sketches of the Royal Highlanders. If you don’t have a copy of this, you can probably purchase one through a used/rare book dealer. If you can’t find one that way, I’m sure you can at least review a copy through interlibrary loan at your local library.

      We also hold copies (on microfilm) of the publication “The Royal Highlander,” which was published by the organization from 1896-1942. We have various county/town histories, so you may be able to find additional information in the Hamilton County section of our reference library. We also have local newspapers on microfilm, census records, marriage records, land records, etc. If you can come to the Archives, I’m sure our Reference Staff can assist you in finding additional information about the Sharp family in Nebraska.

      If there is anything else I can do, just let me know.

      Sincerely,

      Tom Mooney

  3. gil hughes says:

    hi tom , dont know if anybody would like this info,i found a policy for a earl wright of bassett nebr. castle 268 dated 1904

  4. Michael Carnahan says:

    My relative, F. W. Samuelson was entered as a charter member and past illustrious protector of Carnegie castle in Humboldt, Nebraska. He also resided in Falls City. Have you any records of him or his family?
    Thank you very much.

    • Tom Mooney says:

      Michael,

      It doesn’t appear that we have any papers relating to F. W. Samuelson or the Samuelson family. There are no Samuelson files in the Royal Highlanders collection, and we don’t have any other family papers listed under the name, Samuelson. It’s possible that our Library/Archives has other resources containing information about the Samuelson family, including census records, land records, marriage records, cemetery listings, newspapers and local histories. You should contact our Reference Services department to see what other resources may be available:

      http://www.nebraskahistory.org/oversite/staff/library.htm

      Good luck with your research!

  5. Greg says:

    I found a Bebefit Certificate, No76930 for my Grandfather William Stultz. It was issued May, 1912. It has a red and green seal at the bottom of the certificate.

  6. Pam ferguson says:

    I can’t found my great grandmother’s name in the different boxes on another website. Is there a list in order by policy number or by last number. I recently received information about a different grandmothers policy. Wanted to check this certificate out completely. Thanks Pam

    • Tom Mooney says:

      Pam,

      It’s possible that there might be a reference to your grandmother on the microfilm that is listed at the beginning of the box list for the Royal Highlanders. The microfilm contains death/policy records as well as an alphabetical index. Our staff can look up information for you (for a fee), or you could request the microfilm through interlibrary loan at your local library. I will send you an e-mail directly with costs/options.

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