One of the "bigger items" was a county history book that has family items pasted on the pages. I've scanned some of the pages and then cropped some of the items. Here is an interesting calling card from the 1880's:
D.J. Smith (1839-1894) is my second great-grandfather, husband of Abbie (Vaux) Smith and father of my great grandmother, Della (Smith) Carringer. I've written extensively about D.J. Smith (Devier J. Smith, born Devier J. Lamphear) on this blog, since he is one of the ancestors that I have a treasure trove of memorabilia for, and has a mysterious parentage.
The card above identifies him as D.J. Smith of Concordia, Kansas, a member of an organization "Commandery No. 20, Clay Center." From other information, I know that Devier Smith resided in Cloud County, Kansas in the 1880 to 1885 time period.
What is that symbol in the upper left hand corner of the card? It says "In Hoc Signo Vinses." What does that mean, and whose symbol does it represent?
I Googled the saying and found that it means "By this sign thou shalt conquer" and was used by Knights Templar organizations and by Freemasonry organizations.
The Knights Templar entry states that:
"Predominantly in the United States the Knights Templar is the final order joined in the York Rite. Unlike other Masonic bodies which only require a belief in a Supreme Being regardless of religion, membership in the Knights Templar is open only to Christian Masons who have completed their Royal Arch and in some jurisdictions their Cryptic Degrees.
"A local Knights Templar division is called a Commandery and operates under a state level Grand Commandery as well as The Grand Encampment of the United States. This is unique among Masonic bodies as most report to the state level alone."
I am woefully ignorant about these organizations, so these articles are helpful to my understanding.
The image I have above was taken from a photocopy of the page in the book. My guess is that the triangular area in the upper left corner was a red color. I'll have to check the actual card pasted into the book.
Until now, I was unaware that Devier J. Lamphear Smith was a member of any fraternal organization. This is one more little bit of "family history" to add to his biography! It's a nice Treasure Chest item!