I recently came across a document about one of my ancestors that mentions his membership in an organization called “the I.O.U.W.” IOUW is abbreviated as if any reader would understand it, but we 2021 people don’t know what they were talking about.
My family and I are at our wits end trying to find out what that is.
The relevant facts are as follows: The document was published in 1902. The ancestor was veteran of the American Civil War and a member and once commander of a local post of the Grand Army of the Republic (abbreviated as “G.A.R.” in the document). The document was written to honor this man, calling him “one of [town]'s most respected citizens”. In his civilian life, after the War, he worked “in the metal business” before partnering in a business dealing in meats. After retiring he became a state legislator (Republican). The document says that “In 1900 he was appointed a Messenger of the United Stated Senate” but a contemporary newspaper article refers to him as a “sergeant-at-arms” of that body.