En: The Coming Men of America

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The Coming Men of America or C.M.A. (1894-1907)

Source: Masonic Life

Members of the McNeil, Arkansas, CMA (Coming Men of America) Lodge, c. 1904. Front row, L to R: Frank Key, Floyd Carraway, Claude Runyan, Will Carraway, Winfrey Smith, Clyde Smith. Back row, L to R: Eddy Gordon, Lovett Horton, Arthur Hunt, Edgar Davis, Ben Horton, and Pete Bustion. Picture and identification are from Frank Key. The copy work is by Robert Walz.
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The C.M.A was founded ahead of the Boy Scouts (1910) and the Order of DeMolay (1919) Despite its virtual disappearance, the C.M.A. did have one lasting effect: it was likely one of the inspirations for the Order of DeMolay.

The Coming Men of America was a secret society for boys founded in 1894 by siblings, Brother William & Joseph Hunter of Oak Park Illinois, they were also members of the Scottish Rite, Odd Fellows, Shrine and various other organizations.

"The Coming Men of America" or C.M.A was influenced by Freemasonry, had a secret handshake, password and sign language called Bestography. It emphasized patriotism and the golden rule and was open to boys of good moral character aged 12 years or older.

Brother, Col. William Crosbie Hunter assisted Brother, Joseph R. Hunter with creating the ritual & the publication of the The Star Monthly. The Star Monthly, the official magazine of the Coming Men or America or CMA, started in 1894 had a circulation of 150,000.

It appeared in small journal form, and bound, the cover design usually suggesting active boy life. It is published by the Hunter Publishing Co., at Oak Park, Il. It was filled with stories of adventure, short stories, biographies. Also published were pictures of members, lodges, and special messages and passwords written out in the group’s secret cipher code called Bestography.

The group’s tenets were based on precepts of patriotism, co-operation, and brotherly love. Here’s how they explained their name and motto:

"The Letters C.M.A. and O.T.N. are not secret. C.M.A. stands for the name of our order, “Coming Men of America” and O.T.N. is our motto, “Our Turn Next.” Think, brother what an honor it is to be a Coming Man of America; remember, also, the responsibilities connected with your privileges as a future American citizen.

Remember that you have a sacred trust to take up when your turn does come, the duties of manhood and citizenship. See to it that you are prepared for that trust, so you will not fall below the high standard set by our forefathers. The remaining mystic symbols on the badge are secret, are known to members only and ever kept sacred and inviolate."