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A fraternal life-insurance company chartered under the laws of the State of Kentucky, U.S.A. It was founded in Nashville, Tennessee by James J. McLoughlin, D.N. Burke, John Broderick, and John MeDonald. The first meeting was held, 23 April, 1877, at Emmett Hall, Nashville, with James J. McLoughlin as temporary chairman. At the second meeting, 1 May, 1877, the first permanent branch was organized with J.J. McLoughlin, president, and John McDonald, secretary. The name selected for the new organization was the Order of United Catholics, which was subsequently changed, on the recommendation of Bishop P.A. Feehan, of Nashville, to Catholic Knights of America. The bishop gave his cordial approval to the new society, and accepted the office of spiritual director. In June, 1877, plans were drawn up for the establishment of a supreme council form of government, and branches were organized in Grafton, West Virginia ; Louisville, Kentucky ; New Albany, Indiana ; and Galion, Ohio.

The first session of the supreme council was held in Louisville, Kentucky, 9 July, 1878. Sixteen branches were represented; a supreme constitution was adopted, the Hon. W.C. Smith of Louisville was elected first Supreme President, and Bishop Feehan was chosen Supreme Spirltual Director. At the second annual session, held in Indianapolis 8 July, 1879, seventy-two branches were represented. It was then decided to hold biennial sessions like most of the fraternal societies that were founded at this period, the Catholic Knights had to learn by experience that their rates were inadequate, and the association was among the first of these bodies to change the rate system. Although the organization sustained a loss of several thousands, the wisdom of the change of rates was early reorgnanized by the loyal members, and the loss was soon made good by the influx of nearly 5000 young members in a period of a little over two years. Financially it is one of the strongest organizations of its kmd in the United States. It has a membership of 20,000, divided among 560 branches, located in forty-two States of the Unions. Since its inception to 1 August, 1907, it has paid to the heirs of over 8500 deceased members nearly fifteen million dollars. The total resources of the order on 1 August, 1907, were $828,000. The head-quarters are located at St. Louis, Missouri.

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The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.

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Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

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