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. (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. The following images come from this book:

W. E. Sharp, Most Illustrious Protector

 

The Royal Highlander Band of Doniphan, Nebraska

 

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 History Nebraska 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.

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

The Royal Highlanders badge (7756-10)

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

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

-Tom Mooney, Curator of Manuscripts

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History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
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