The Traveling Genealogist™ likes books as well as genealogy research trips. Both “likes” can cause a major organizing crisis. I recently attended a book sale and although I didn’t really need any books, I did find some I thought I couldn’t live without. Is there any other kind?
Under the table, in the far corner, I spied a bound copy of the
“Official Souvenir Program"
Eighty-Fourth Annual Session
SOVEREIGN GRAND LODGE
September 21st to 26th, A.D. 1908
Fraternal organizations, those our ancestors were members, can hold clues important to our genealogy research. Sometimes finding this information can be difficult because we don’t quite know the inner workings of these organizations or how to ferret out the information.
Several years ago, I was on a research trip to the Kansas State Historical Society and as I was walking out, I noticed a bound book on the shelf the referred to the Masonic Lodge in Montgomery County, KS. I checked the book and there my grandfather was mentioned with his date of entering the Masons and his date of death. I did write to the state headquarters and was given a person to contact and address. I received a copy of the application form that my grandfather completed, which included his “Masonic name” and some other information.
This “Official Souvenir Program” that I brought home from the book sale does have names, offices, history of Denver and some very good history of the Independent Organization of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F). Here are some excerpts from the book:
What is Odd Fellowship? Written by J. M. Norman, (Remember this was written in 1908 and the style is a bit “flowery”.)
Odd Fellowship is the grandest fraternal Order of the age. … Odd Fellowship is not a religious organization nor is it political in its character. It teaches the heaven-born principle of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man. It teaches that every man is our brother, bound to us by sacred ties.
Each Lodge is constituted a guardian for the protection and education of the Orphans, and the care of the widows of those members who die in good standing.
The Tale of Odd Fellowship: by Hon. De S. De Lappe, Chairman of Souvenir Program Committee
A very condensed excerpt:
“…For many years and until nearly the close of the Nineteenth Century, it was asserted that Defoe, the English novelist, mentioned “Odd Fellows” as early as 1747 A.D., but modern research has overthrown this statement. It is, however, an authentic record which says that the Ancient and Most Noble Order of Bucks, grew and flourished in England during the Eighteenth Century, almost rivaling the Masonic Fraternity in numbers and influence, going into decline about 1773 and passing out of existence. These lodges, were, however, probably the nucleus of the Odd Fellows, the first authentic mention of whom refers to the admission of George IV, while Prince of Wales, into a lodge at a date subsequent to 1780. The earliest ritual extant is dated in 1797, and was used by the Patriotic Order. There existed in England prior an Improved Order, and the sameness of the title, Most Noble Grand, in that Order, the Bucks and the Odd Fellows would imply a common origin and bond.
Next the Union, or United Orders, and the Loyal Order, and then in 1813, under the leadership of one Bolton, a marble mason in Manchester, many of these various lodges met and organized the Manchester Unity of Odd Fellows, now the principal Friendly Society in England in point of numbers, usefulness and influence, composed of the mechanics and trades-people of the United Kingdom.
The first lodge established on this continent was Shakespeare No. 1, New York City, 26 Dec. 1806. The moving spirits were Solomon Chambers and his son John C., English mechanics from the south of London.
In 1818, James B. Barnes, an Englishman, with four others, instituted Massachusetts Lodge No. 1, in Boston. …. Two Englishmen, a Jew, an Irishman and a Frenchman – Thomas Wildey, John Welch, John Duncan, John Cheatham and Richard Rushworth – called together by a newspaper advertisement inserted in the Baltimore American by Wildey, assembled in the hostelry of the Seven Stars Inn at Baltimore, Maryland, and organized Washington Lodge No. 1 destined to become the parent lodge of united Odd Fellowship.
Thomas Wildey, Past Grand Sire
Founder and Father of The Independent Order of Odd Fellows on the Continent of America
The order in Baltimore secured a charter, February 1, 1820, from the Duke of York Lodge, Preston, not only recognizing the regularity of Washington Lodge No. 1 and associate lodges, but creating the Grand Lodge of Maryland and of the United States of America of the Independent Order of Odd Fellowship. The lodges in the other States surrendered their claims to priority, accepted charters from the Grand Lodge of Maryland and the United States. Following this centralization of government, the “Grand Lodge of the United States” was evolved on January 15, 1825. Finally, in 1842 the American body became officially separate and independent of the English body. In 1879 the name was changed to “The Sovereign Grand Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows,” which name is still retained.”
An Advertiser for the I.O.O.F
From TTG (The Traveling Genealogist): There are names in the book of those who were from Colorado and elsewhere. Those who sponsored and planned the 84th Annual Session. I will post names from time to time, but if you are interested in knowing if your ancestor was mentioned, please contact me via email firstname.lastname@example.org.