Noble Grand Albert Davis III of Hartsville is the council’s newest member for Darlington County. Davis will represent District 6 on the council. He is accompany by his wife Whitney Davis who is holding the bible while he is doing the swearing- in ceremonies, officiated by Darlington County Judge of Probate Marvin Lawson.

We the members of Distinct Grand Lodge No. 13 of South Carolina Grand United Order of Odd Fellows in America are proud that one of our very own is now in office serving his community.  As he is about our Order and all about Friendship, Love, and Truth. Good luck Brother Davis.

Albert Davis III swearing-in

I must beg forgiveness of the world for not posting about our Illustrious brother Dr. James McCune Smith sooner !
Dr. McCune Smith was considered one of the most broadly accomplished black intellectuals and activists in America. Born in New York on April 18, 1813, McCune attended the #FreeAfricanSchool in #NYC with a number of our founding members !
Upon graduation from the African School, James McCune Smith sought, but was denied admission to quite a few #American colleges. Not to be discouraged, He then managed to raise money to attend the #UniversityofGlasgow in #Scotland, where, after completing #bachelor’s and #masters’ degrees, he completed a #medicaldegree in 1837. Thus he became, as far as I can see , the first #GUOOF Brother to be awarded a degree in #medicine in this Jurisdiction !!!! After completing a medical internship in Paris, France, he returned to New York City, where he opened a medical office and a pharmacy at 93 West Broadway that attracted interracial clientele. Here he served both white and black patients in the front of the pharmacy. In the back, he met with fellow activists and conspired to end slavery in the South, to win the vote for blacks in New York, and to educate black youth.
Together with #abolitionists such as #FrederickDouglass, #GerritSmith, and #JohnBrown, he helped found the #RadicalAbolitionistParty. His pharmacy was a place where many escaping slaves found help.
Throughout his own career, along with his classmates, Bro. Smith helped bear much fruit from the #oddfellows tree. He was a member of #Hamiltonlodge 710, One of the earliest dispensations of the Order in the United States! Smith also served nationally as #GrandSecretary……
Smith wrote about medicine, science, education, racism, and literature….He quickly emerged as a powerful #antislavery and #antiracism organizer, orator, and author.
Smith’s untimely death came in November of 1865. He was still working tirelessly for his people, felled at the age of 52. This was five months after the end of the Civil War….. I am proud to be counted as a brother to this fellow
If you would like to know more about this brother just a simple Google search for his name will suffice…..


In Friendship Love and Truth


As we grow as GUOOF members , we must remember the reasons we are searching for our history is a lack of communication between the Seniors and new members. Our senior member are responsible for education the new members on the rules, history, and all things required to enrich us so that we become as they are, well educated in our past. Finding ways to gain this information from our senior members, sometimes puts us at odds with them. But as a Senior they should be proud to pass on their knowledge because we are their future, as they were when they came to the understanding which lead them to become members. Every member of our order is a history lesson in work because as we travel as Guoof members we shine light on people we come across and we are remembered by our deeds. We are a family and each member with members above and below them in status are beckons of light to each other, because we will not harm one another but only educate and help as a Family does. Our founding Father did his job to bring light to the Order. When things did not go as planned in the beginning, he continued to move forward and do a remarkable job to start and maintain the ideals of our Order as we know it today. When speaking with our Senior advise them that you are not being disrespectful to them, but only trying to make them proud to see that after they have moved on the lessons they taught us are working. History is being made everyday by our Brothers and Sisters. Holding true to our Order and reaching one and teaching one is the key. When you look at the words Friendship, Love and Truth, they are not just words but words that a Family will live and die by. As a member who wants the security of our Order to be secure, I only express my views and hope all who read these words understand that we continue to exist because we live by our creed. I leave you as I came in Friendship, Love and Truth


Bro. Emanuel Page Sr.

Wayman lodge #1339

Bro. Ransom W. Westberry, was born July 1871 in Horatio,Sumter County, SC
His childhood was split between working the farm and attending some grade school. Later, he attended Benedict College as well as Wilberforce University for a term.
For 15 years he lived in the city of Chicago where he worked as a mail carrier.
Bro. Westberry served in Company C. 8th Illinois United States Volunteer Infantry in the Spanish American War.
The 8th Illinois was the first African American regiment to have all African America Officers. They were mustered in at Springfield, IL., and traveled by the Cruiser Yale from New York City to Santiago, Cuba, where they garrisoned the town of San Luis de Cuba. They spent nine months in Cuba and returned on the steamship Sedgwick to Newport News, VA.; then by rail to Chicago, where they were mustered out on Aug 3, 1899.
Once back in the Carolinas , Westberry accumulated quite a few properties and started the R. Westberry Realty Co. He held a slew of prominent positions in and around Sumter. He was Secretary of the Mutual Undertaking and Embalming Association, Sec. of the colored State Fair Association, President of the National Farmers Association, President Auxiliary of the National Negro Business League etc….
Among the secret societies work he was of course an OddFellow, G.U.O.O.F , serving for years as head of the State Endowment Dept. He was also known among the Good Samaritans , the Knights of Pythias, and the Masonic GL of South Carolina where he served as Grand Director. He died , November 1928 and was buried in #LincolnCemetery in #Illinois

Bro. Henry Rutherford Butler, a respected physician and pharmacist with offices on Auburn Avenue on the Oddfellows block in Atlanta, was a pioneer in medicine and healthcare for African Americans during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He was married to Selena Sloan Butler, a prominent teacher and education advocate in Atlanta.
In addition to establishing the first licensed black-owned pharmacy in Georgia, Butler was a founding member of several African American physicians’ organizations, as well as a civic leader and prolific writer. In many ways, his life represents the historical yet paradoxical development of a southern urban African American elite class between the eras of Reconstruction and the modern civil rights movement, decades marked by widespread segregation and discrimination.

Early Life and Education


was born on April 11, 1862, to Caroline Noyes and Henry Butler in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Between 1872 and 1874 his family moved to Wilmington, in the southern portion of the state. He had one known brother, Philip. Like many African Americans living in rural environments during the late nineteenth century, Butler spent his youth on a farm, where he received no formal education. As he grew older, he helped to support the family through work in local hotels and lumber mills.

During this time E. E. Green, a noted African American educator who later became a physician and druggist in Macon,

Georgia, played a pivotal role in Butler’s education. In the evenings after work, Green and his wife tutored Butler in preparation for college. The effort proved a success, and in 1883 Butler entered Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. After graduating four years later, he continued his education at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, where he graduated with a medical degree in 1890.

That same year, Butler moved to Atlanta, where he began his medical practice. In 1893 he married Selena Sloan, a native of Thomasville and a graduate of Spelman College. Henry Rutherford Butler Jr., the couple’s only child, was born in 1899. Following in his father’s footsteps, Butler Jr., a graduate of Atlanta University (later Clark Atlanta University) and Harvard University Medical School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, became a doctor and established a medical practice and family in Los Angeles, California.
Professional Career

As Jim Crow took hold of the region, Butler and his Meharry classmate Thomas Heathe Slater established a medical practice and drugstore for black residents on Wheat Street (later Auburn Avenue) in 1891. The two obtained the first pharmacy license in Georgia to be granted to African Americans. Butler and Slater purchased a store owned by J. C. Huss, a white druggist who trained Moses Amos, the first licensed African American pharmacist in Georgia. After two decades in business, Butler Slater and Company changed ownership when Amos bought the drugstore, reopening it in 1914 in the Odd Fellows building near the corner of Butler Street (later Jesse Hill Jr. Drive) and Auburn Avenue. Butler’s medical practice, however, spanned forty years. Later in his career, around 1912, Butler furthered his studies in gynecology, obstetrics, and pediatrics at Harvard University Medical School.

Outside of his practice, Butler cofounded the first professional organizations for black physicians at local, state, and national levels. These included the Atlanta Medical Association of Physicians, Dentists, and Pharmacists (later Atlanta Medical Association) in 1890 and the Georgia State Medical Association of Physicians, Dentists, and Pharmacists (later the Georgia State Medical Association) in 1893. While the Cotton States and International Exposition of 1895 cast a spotlight on Georgia’s African Americans, primarily through Booker T. Washington’s famous “Atlanta Compromise” speech, it also was the occasion that bore witness to the birth of the National Medical Association, cofounded by Butler. His other contributions to the health and well-being of the city and state’s black citizenry included the establishment in 1909 of Atlanta’s Fair Haven Infirmary, a contemporary of other hospitals that opened during the early twentieth century for African American doctors and patients. Butler also served as both dean and principal teacher at the School of Nursing at Morris Brown College in Atlanta.

Civic Involvement

Adding to Butler’s professional achievements were his community activities. He wrote general interest columns and stories about the city’s African American community for the Atlanta Constitution and the Atlanta Independent, a black newspaper published from 1903 to 1928 that described itself as the “official organ of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows and Knights of Pythias.” He played a significant role in establishing social and cultural institutions for African American boys and young men, chief among them the Butler Street YMCA and, along with educator John Hope, District Ten of the Atlanta Area Boy Scouts of America. Butler and his wife were early members of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation, founded in 1919, which later merged with the Southern Regional Council. He was also a member of the Big Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, where he served as a steward until his death.
Among Butler’s fraternal affiliations were Omega Psi Phi and Sigma Pi Phi fraternities and the Prince Hall Masons of Georgia. In the latter, Butler was the ninth grand master of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Georgia from 1901 until his death in 1931, when he was succeeded by John Wesley Dobbs, who served until his death in 1961. Under Butler’s leadership, the lodge went from an organization encumbered with liabilities to one that prospered. When the Pan-African Congress, organized by W. E. B. Du Bois in 1919 to challenge the European colonization of Africa, held its second meeting in 1921, Butler served as a delegate representing the Masons of Georgia.
Butler died on December 17, 1931. He and his wife, who died in 1964, are buried in Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery. In 1955 Lincoln University, Butler’s alma mater, awarded him an honorary Doctor of Science degree. That same year, the Yonge Street Elementary school in Atlanta was renamed Henry R. Butler Elementary School. The family papers of Selena Sloan Butler are housed at the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History in Atlanta.
From : Carmolingo, Nicole. “Henry Rutherford Butler (1862-1931).” New Georgia Encyclopedia. 28 August 2013. Web. 11 July 2018.

On September 11, 1865–nearly four months after the end of the Civil War– Zerubbabel Lodge No. 1187 in Baltimore was granted permission to open Shealtiel Lodge No. 1024 in Saint Michaels, Maryland.  A year later Shealtiel Lodge put in a request and was allowed to change its name to Freedom’s Friend Lodge No. 1024.  This change was likely spurred by the great hope and faith that the end of slavery evoked from the founders of the lodge, many of which were Civil War veterans for the Union Army.  In 1867 the elected officials of the lodge, including Robert Brown, Joseph Leeds Johnson, Daniel E. Chaney, and William Skinner, were granted a deed for the plot of land on which the lode now rests.  However, the location of the lodge’s meetings for the first nineteen years is unknown. Perhaps they held meetings in the Union Methodist Episcopal Church, of which a number of their officers were members and even trustees. Maybe there was some smaller house on the property that they utilize? It is possible that the members of the lodge met at the house of Daniel Chaney’s father, who lived next door to the lodge in 1860.  In 1883 the organization finished construction of its lodge. On January 14th of the following year the lodge became duly incorporated.  The present appearance of the lodge is the result of a partnership between the Maryland Historic Trust and the members of Freedom’s Friend Lodge No. 1024.

Purpose of the Lodge

“Fidelity,” “Justice,” “Charity,” “Brotherly Love”—these are the words that once hung in the meeting room of FFL. These words precisely represented the purpose of the lodge, which was to serve the community in the form of “a beneficial society for the purpose of assisting each other under certain specified circumstances as provided for in [its] Constitution.”  Specifically the society was:

“1st, To unite fraternally all male colored freemen of sound bodily health and good moral character who are socially acceptable and above the ages of twenty one years. 

2nd, To give all moral and material aid in its power to its members and those dependent upon them.

3rd, To educate its members socially, morally, and intellectually.

4th, To establish a fund for the relief of sick and distressed members.”

In other words the Lodge was to be a pillar for the community. It aided in the burial of its members, provided welfare for the distressed, educated, and encouraged people to draw strength from their faith in God. In an era before the creation of large public and private insurance companies assuring that a relative would be properly buried and cared for if stricken with illness, the lodge was very important to many people.

Of all the members and officers that devoted their lives to the Lodge, Robert Brown is one man who stands out as a shining example of an Odd Fellows member. He was one of the founding officers of the lodge in 1867 as well as an original Trustee to the Union Methodist Episcopal Church in Saint Michaels.

Community Involvements

The lodge offered its space to various organizations, most of them African-American, in Saint Michaels. For example, there’s evidence to suggest that the FFL No. 1024 gave concert space to the Golden Rule Concert Band, a Black marching band in Saint Michaels.

In addition to this some scholars affirm that the 1991 renovations were made by a Black business, Gehlsen and MacSorley Contractors, on the eastern shore.  Also there is some speculation that the company the lodge utilized  to print its membership dues cards, the Sewell Printing Company, was a Black business located in Saint Michaels.

Remaining true to its belief in God, its strongest community tie was with the Union Methodist Episcopal Church, currently known as the Union United Methodist Church. One of the first officers, Robert Brown, the Noble Father, was also a Trustee of the Union ME Church.  In addition to this FFL held their annual Thanksgiving sermon on the second Sunday in May at Union.

Freedom’s Friend also has its own burial grounds located at the rear of the lodge. According to there is only one name, Aretter Brown, listed in the cemetery.

Daniel E. Chaney (b. circa 1832 – d. 1882)
MSA SC 5496-51879
Founding Officer of Freedom’s Friend Lodge No. 1024, Trustee of Union M.E. Church, Talbot County

Daniel E. Chaney was a devoted member of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows as well as the Union Methodist Episcopal Church, both of which were located in Saint Michaels. He was born into a religious family that valued hard work and charity. He received his freedom by 1860, a date much earlier than most of his fellow Black Odd Fellows.  The only known parent that is listed in the Census for Daniel is his father, George Chaney.  According to the 1860 Federal Census Daniel was living in Saint Michaels with his father and brothers in a house that his father owned.  George and his brothers constructed the house in 1850 after they purchased a lease for a plot of land in Saint Michaels.

It seems that Daniel followed in his fathers footsteps by becoming an Oysterman.   By 1863 Daniel married a young woman named Ellen.  But his matrimony could not keep him from answering the call to duty. In 1863 he and his brothers John, William, Samuel, and Charles were drafted by the Union Army to fight in the Civil War.

After the end of the war in 1865 it is likely that Daniel returned to Saint Michaels to raise a family of his own.8 He and Ellen had five children: Morris (or Maurice), Harriet, Ella, Sedden, and William.  The family had $600 worth of real estate and $300 in personal estate as of the 1870 Census.

In 1867 Daniel was elected to serve as the Vice Grand for Freedom’s Friend Lodge No. 1024.  In this same year Daniel and the other officers—Robert Brown, Joseph L. Johnson, and William Skinner—purchased land from William Green, who was also the same man that lived on George Chaney’s land in the 1860 Census.  The land that they acquired belonged to the organization and would be used to support the African-Americans of Saint Michaels for decades. But it was not just Daniel who believed in the philosophy of the lodge. His nephew, Thomas N. Chaney, also supported Freedom’s Friend.

Daniel’s dedication to the lodge could only be rivaled by his involvement with the Union Methodist Episcopal Church, of which he was one of their earliest Trustees. In 1867 Daniel and another Trustee, James Mitchell, purchased land from the (Whites-only) Methodist Episcopal Church in Saint Michaels.  The land deed that he received enabled Union M.E. Church to increase its territory and influence.

The good times in Saint Michaels would be shortened when, in 1879, Daniel and his wife sold their land and moved to Baltimore.  But before leaving Daniel assigns the rights of a large portion of his land and possessions to his eldest son, Maurice.

It goes without saying that these little tidbits of valuable information are slipping through the cracks of time and unfortunately, I am only one brother who truly cares about our history being preserved .  We all must endure our share to keep the story alive!

Article courtesy of…

Correspondence between Our Founder and the self inducted “United Order of Oddfellows” Pottsville,Pa in a vain attempt to legitimize them…




The following is a copy of the first letter sent :
New York, Aug. 1, 1847.
Sir: —Having been appointed by the Committee of Management of the G. U. O., Leeds, England, as their agent to confer with the Deputies from the U. 0. of Odd Fellows in Pottsville, Pa, and now being in New York, in obedience with their instructions I have the pleasure to informyou that I am now ready to meet the Deputies from Pottsville, in this city, as soon as it will be convenient to them. The Commitee of Management promised to inform you of my appointment, which I presume they have done.
In regard to your application, the Committee of Management laid it before the Annual Meeting in May last, and it was then decided that the whole matter should be left in the hands of the Committee of Management, and as I am their agent for America, they have turned over the whole business into my hands, and as we have already twenty-two Lodges in the United States? I trust we shall be able to effect a union which will be beneficial to all parties concerned.
The G. U. O. of O. F. is becoming very extensive; we number upwards of 60,000 members in England, Scotland and Wales, we have also Lodges in New South Wales, with a Sub-Committee of Management; we have also lately sent Dispensations and Power to form a Sub-Committee of Management to the city of Madras, in the East Indies. You will perceive by this that we are extending very rapidly, and if we can effect a union between your Lodges and the Lodges which are already formed in this country, which are doing exceedingly well, I think the Order will progress very rapidly, and no doubt, will in a few years rival the I. O. of O. F. in this country. You will please drop me a note, .and let me know about the time the Deputies will be ready, and I will make the necessary arrangements, and inform you of the time and place of meeting. Yours with great respect,
Of Victoria Lodge, No. 448, Liverpool.

The following is a response from the self induced lodges in Pottsville….

Office of the Grand Secretary. Port Carbon, Schuylkill Co., Pa., Aug. 9, 1847. Peter Oguex; P. G. M.

Sir: —Your communication announcing your arrival in New York, and your readiness to confer with the Deputies on the subject of the proposed union between the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows of Great Britain and the United Order of the United States, has been duly received by the undersigned, to whom was referred the whole matter by the R. W. Grand Dodge of the United States, America. And having been informed that you are a colored man, in reply we regret to say that ; Owing to the prejudice which unfortunately exists in the minds of the people of this country, we have to decline meeting you; for we are fully confident that was the undersigned willing to cast aside their own prejudices and consent to meet you on grounds of perfect equality, all that they might say and do would eventually be frustrated by the Order at large in this country. We had thought that the brethren in Great Britain were fully sensible of this fact, and that they certainly would spare it hose feelings which we fear the circumstances will give rise to. And that they would not for a moment harbor the thought of our condescending to a negotiation, which in the very outset would nail down the coffin lid upon the skeleton of our Order; for the prejudices of the people of the United States are such, that were we to effect a union with your self, in two years from the date thereof, our Order among the white community would have faded from existence. Of this fact, you sir, can not be ignorant; and you will, therefore, we trust, receive this communication fully appreciating our own disappointment, and feeling the same regret at the error, or, perhaps, want of perspicuity on the part of the brethren in Great Britain on matters of this character in America, Besides, when we consider the position of our formidable rival, the I. 0. 0. F., which we believe to be no less formidable in Great Britain, we are more fully admonished of the impropriety of meeting again, and of the dangerous results of such a meeting to the best interests of our own Order. But it is unnecessary for us to enlarge on this matter, as we feel satisfied that you are as well acquainted with the prejudices of our people as we ourselves.  We do not. however, wish negotiations to close with this communication for we believe our Order should be one and universal throughout the habitable globe, and we may address another communication to the A. M. C. on the subject, hoping that a Deputy may be sent with whom there will be no difficulty on the grounds of color; for we believe a union can be affected that will prove beneficial and satisfactory to all concerned.
If the A. M. C. or Committee of Management may have forwarded any communications by you to the Grand Lodge, you will please for ward them to either of the undersigned. Should our information rela tive to yourself be erroneous, you will please inform us.
Sincerely hoping that the present difficulty may speedily be re moved, we are, with respect, etc., signed:
ROBERT M. PALMER, P. R. W. G. Sire, GEORGE HEATON, P. R. W. G. Sire, MORRIS H. GORHAM, R. W. G. Secretary. To Peter Ogden, P. G. M.
Ship “Patrick Henry.”

The following is a copy of the second letter sent:
New York, Aug. 12, 1847. Sir: —Thinking it quite time that I should have an answer from you. yesterday morning I wrote a letter to see whether you had received mine. On the way to the post-office I stopped at our office, and found what purported to be an answer to my letter to you, and must say was much surprised at its contents, and should not have condescended to an swer it were it not for the purpose of correcting an error which you and your colleagues seem to have fallen into, in regard to the knowledge which the people of Great Britain and the Committee of Management have concerning the state of parties in America, etc. . .
In regard to your first objection, you say you have heard I was a colored man. That is true, and I am not ashamed to own it, and the whole Order is acquainted with the fact, as well as the Committee of Management at Leeds. Those who do not know it personally, know it by the magazines which are published by our Order, also by my ad dresses, several of which have been published in England and America. In regard to the second point in your communication, I would not meet you on any other ground than perfect equality in every sense of thei word, and the instructions from the A. M. C. of our Order in May last to the Committee of Management was that nothing should be done that would interfere with the lodges already established here. With regard to the effects which an union might have upon what you justly term the skeleton of your Order, I think the course you are pursuing will very soon nail dawn the coffin lid, and consign it to oblivion, and the world will be ledto view it among the things that once were, but is now “no more forever.” And you will recollect that the United Order of 1830 is not the re-organized and enrolled Grand United Order of 1847; and we number now upwards of nine hundred lodges.
We are more extended than the I. O.O.F.of America, as we have lodges in New South Wales, with a Sub-Committee of Management; and lately sent dispensations and a grant to form a Sub-Committee of Management to the city of Madras, in the East Indies. You will bear in mind that they are not white people, and in the district of Liverpool where they have a perfect knowledge of the prejudices in America, there are a great number of colored Americans, who have joined both the Grand United Order and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and they are much sought after by both Orders; and in several of our lodges in America are members who have drawn their cards from the lodges, write now very flattering accounts, and I feel confident that in a very brief space of time some of the Northern and Eastern towns will come in. notwithstanding the bug bear prejudice which seems to frighten your colleagues so much.
To speak the truth, it does appear to me that your members’ ideas are rather antiquated, and have not kept pace with the age. I am once more strengthened in this belief from the fact of your having started some fifteen or sixteen years ago with a comparatively clear field before you, the United Order, and during the whole of that time you have not been able to finish paying for your dispensations, and your Order has dwindled to a skeleton, and from appearances is about making its last gasp. I find you have yet to learn one fact concerning our Order, which is that
“No pent-up nation, country, or complexion, confines our powers, But the whole unbounded universe is ours.”
As a contrast to your Order’s proceedings, I take pleasure in being able to inform you that since I opened the first Lodge on the first of March, 1843, we have granted twenty-one dispensations for Subordinate Lodges, and I have opened two Grand Master’s Chapters, all of which are doing exceedingly well; and if some of your members should happen to be in Philadelphia on the fifth of October next, they will see the G. M.’s Chapter turnout and I feel confident they will not disgrace themselves or the Order. I shall not see them myself, as I shall then be in Liverpool. I mention these things to show that our Order is not a skeleton, but is sound both in mind and limb. In regard to communications from the Committee of Management. I have none for your colleagues or self, the whole business having been left in my hands with unlimited powers. I have your communication directed to P. G. M. Taylor, which I will hold until further orders from the Committee of Management. With best respects,

Of Victoria Lodge, So. 448, Liverpool.

The object and benefits of our Order were most beautifully explained by Grand Secretary Wm. M. Nelson, on the fifth day September, 1853, on the occasion of a grand banquet by Shakespeare Lodge, 252, at Manchester, England…..
The Address is a model of elegant diction, chaste English . and comprehensive thought. It was published in the Odd Fellows’ Magazine in November, 1853, and so great was the demand for the address, that three separate editions of the magazine contained it.

These are his words :

“Those who speak of our Order as merely a sick society, betray an utter ignorance of the nature of the institution they undertake to criticize ; nor need we be surprised at this, for where interest and prejudice combine to prompt the use of the false balance, there will never be wanting those who are willing to assume the character of corrupt judges. The object of this Order is to elevate the whole man, its provisions have reference to his intellectual, moral and physical capabilities, it influences every circumstance of life, and it is calculated to modify the relations of society, both socially, morally and politically. Its influence as a political safeguard cannot be overestimated.
“The only way in which a man can be taught the use of an implement, or a principal thoroughly, is by being himself practised in that use. Where can the necessity of subordination and government be learnt better than in the lodge room? The moment he enters its portals the lesson of obedience begins ; he must obey ‘ere he can command, and he speedily learns that: He also serves who only stands and waits. It is surely no vain boast to say that it is a noble sight to see a voluntary organization for common purposes like ours composed of men of all classes, parties and sects extending over this mighty empire, distributed in every town and village, and numbering from forty to fifty thousand individuals, working not only harmoniously but cordially together, as the Grad United Order has done for more than half a century. We ask in vain the political parties of this country to show us an organization so perfect, a society so en during. And let us bear in mind that when we are enumerating this army of economists we are numbering the healthy, the moral and the industrious of the land ; for these are qualities which are required in all who enter the Order, nor can those who do not possess these qualifications be admitted without flagrant breach of our laws.
“It has been the fashion to look too much at apparently large events in estimating the progress of a people. Historians are too apt to forget that the foundations of the social pyramid are laid broad and deep beneath the surface of society, and it is only in very recent times, that in our own country, the true sources of the nation’s prosperity, the real nature of the bulwarks of society, have become recognized.
“I am happy to say that secret orders are now classed among the most important institutions, formed by the industrious classes for their own support, elevation, and improvement. Yes, Mr. Chairman, when we speak of education, let it never be forgotten that the Odd Fellow’s Lodge is a real educational institution ; when we recommend forethought and providence, let it be remembered that the working man’s bank and his insurance society is his lodge, and that this educational institution was established long, very long before governments had found it worth while to provide means for the instruction of the people. This bank had conferred innumerable and inestimable blessings upon the families of our members long, very long before speculators established the first insurance society I have said that the lodge is an educational institution, when properly organized and conducted, we all know that it is so, in the noblest and most extended sense of that much abused term. No sooner does the approved candidate enter the doors of his future lodge, than his ears are greeted with precepts of the purest morality, and the most extended benevolence ; his duty to himself, his fellow man, his country, and his family are brought forcibly before him.
“When the honors of office are conferred upon him, at what step does he not receive new lessons of wistlom and of love. ‘Amicitia, Amor et Veritas,’ the glorious motto of the Order is illustrated and enforced on every occasion, and Friendship, Love and Truth gleams upon the Odd Fellow’s path everywhere. It is embroidered upon his banner ; it shines in golden characters from his Dispensation ; it greets him upon the walls of the lodge, and is found in emblem and, in fact, wherever the Order has its scat. “If the Odd Fellow is not sober, honest, industrious and be nevolent, a good husband, a kind father, and a loyal and virtuous citizen, it is because the admonitions he received, the examples to which he is directed, and the vows he has made, are neglected or forgotten.”
Our objects are simple, and easy to be understood, and may be thus briefly stated : ( 1 ) To administer to the wants of those afflicted by sickness; (2) To inter, respectably our dead; (3) To relieve those who are traveling in search of employment ; (4) To provide a competency for the widows and orphans of our deceased members after we have thus interred them; and, lastly, to improve the moral character of our members so as to make them good and respected citizens. With such objects as these, then we may, I think, with confidence come before the world, as we are doing, to give expression to our sentiments, and to invite those to whom our several institutions might be of service, to join us in so good a cause, and those whose affluence places them beyond the benefits of such a society to assist us in providing them for the enjoyment of others, who, but for such timely aid, might perhaps be hurried into the commission of offences against the law, or the alternative of a county work house…..

An example of fine oration from one of our brethren….

Bro. George W. Latimer was born in Norfolk, Virginia. His father, Mitchell Latimer, was white and his mother, Margaret an African slave belonging to his uncle Edward A. Latimer. In the early part of his life he was owned by a man named Edward Mallery, for whom he worked as a domestic servant until the age of sixteen. After that time, his labor was hired out and he primarily worked driving a dray and as a shopkeeper. On two separate occasions he spent time in prison as a result of the debts of his master. He was eventually sold to James B. Gray. Gray was a shop owner whose store Latimer manned. He abused Latimer and it is thought that this abuse precipitated Latimer’s flight to Boston.

On October 4, 1842, Latimer and his wife, Rebecca, who was pregnant at the time, ran away. The pair hid beneath the deck of a northbound ship that took them to Baltimore. From there they traveled to Philadelphia, with Rebecca posing as a servant to her lighter-skinned husband. At last, they made their way to Boston, arriving on either October 7 or 8th. James Gray offered a reward of $25 if Latimer was captured in Virginia and $50 plus expenses if he was captured outside Virginia. On the day George Latimer and Rebecca arrived in Boston, Latimer was recognized by a man named William R. Carpenter, a former employee of James Gray. On October 20, Latimer was arrested. The initial charge was larceny. Latimer was brought before Justice Joseph Story, who ordered that he be held.

After Latimer’s arrest word spread through the black community and a group led by Henry G. Tracy attempted to rescue him. They were unsuccessful. Latimer’s lawyer, Samuel Edmund Sewall, then sought a writ of personal replevin from Massachusetts Chief Justice Lemuel Shaw, who was known to have strong anti-slavery views. Sewell argued that Latimer should have the right to have his identity determined by a jury. This attempt at freeing Latimer, however, also failed, as Shaw denied the writ. According to the abolitionist paper the Liberator, Shaw said that it was a federal matter and the Constitution and the laws of Congress “were to be obeyed, however disagreeable to our natural sympathies or views of duty.”

The Latimer and North Star Journal was created by the men appointed to the newly formed Latimer Committee, Henry Ingersoll Bowditch, William F. Channing, and Frederick Cabot. Issues came out every other day. The Latimer Journal reported that the social unrest related to Latimer’s imprisonment was such that “fire and bloodshed threatened in every direction.”Latimer’s arrest resulted in an uproar so great that “Boston was, without a doubt, the most potentially violent city in America.” The case brought about an immense public response in the state of Massachusetts. Latimer’s counsel, Sewell, chaired a meeting at Faneuil Hall where attendees not only vowed resistance to slave-catching but also voted for disunion. Additional meetings were held throughout the state, called “Latimer Meetings.” These meetings included both black and white abolitionists.

A major development that occurred as a result of Latimer’s arrest was the Latimer Committee’s creation of two separate petitions, the “Great Massachusetts Petition” and the “Great Petition to Congress.” The former requested a law banning the involvement of state officials or public property in the detention or arrest of suspected fugitives. The latter demanded that laws be passed severing any connection between Massachusetts and slavery. Latimer’s freedom was purchased while these petition drives were still ongoing, but they had a considerable impact. The petition delivered to the State Assembly contained 64,526 signatures and weighed 150 pounds by the time it was delivered on February 17, 1843. This petition was a significant contribution to the passage of the 1843 Personal Liberty Act, dubbed the “Latimer Law,” which prevented Massachusetts officials from assisting in the detention of suspected fugitive slaves and banned the use of state facilities to detain such suspects.

Latimer’s arrest spurred other action as well. It was the “immediate impetus” for the organization of the New England Freedom Association and increased collective action in the black community of Massachusetts. One example of this is the fundraising efforts that helped raise the money that was eventually used to purchase Latimer. These meeting were addressed by such abolitionists as Frederick Douglass and Charles Lenox Remond.Latimer’s freedom was eventually purchased from Gray for $400.

After his freedom was purchased, George Latimer remained involved in the abolitionist cause, attending anti-slavery conventions and helping to gather signatures for the two petitions that were started while he was imprisoned.

There is not a great deal of information available about Latimer’s life as a free man. He continued to be involved in, and connected to, the abolitionist movement. In 1851 he was involved in the rescue of an escaped slave, Shadrach Minkins, when he was paid to keep Minkins’s owner under surveillance.

The first of the Latimers’ four children was born shortly after his freedom was purchased. The youngest, Lewis Howard Latimer, who was born in 1848, went on to become an inventor, and worked for such prominent inventors as Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison.


(1864–1960). Monroe Majors, a black physician, civil rights leader, and writer, was born to Andrew Jackson and Jane (Barringer) Majors on October 12, 1864, in Waco, Texas. At the age of ten he worked as a page in the Texas legislature. He attended Tillotson College (now Huston-Tillotson College) and normal school in Austin from 1878 to 1883; he also worked for the post office. After graduating from Central Tennessee College, Nashville, with a bachelor of science degree, in 1883 he enrolled at Meharry Medical College at Nashville, from which he graduated as salutatorian of his class in 1886. In college he worked as a reporter for several local newspapers. In 1886 Majors began practicing medicine in Brenham, Texas. During that year he became the principal guiding spirit and one of the fourteen founders of theLone Star State Medical, Dental, and Pharmaceutical Association. Shortly afterward his name appeared on a list, prepared by a group of racists, of influential blacks who were to be uprooted from their positions of importance in the community. Dr. Majors received advance warning about this threat and left his practice in Brenham for Calvert and then Dallas. He ended up teaching in a small country school for a year (1887–88). He later found out that two of the other persons on the list had been hanged.

In 1888 he moved to Los Angeles and became the first black physician to practice medicine west of the Rocky Mountains. He was invited to lecture on medical topics at Los Angeles Medical College; in California race was not a bar to participation in the medical societies. In 1889 Majors married Georgia A. Green. In 1890, after the birth of their daughter, he moved back to Waco to practice medicine and serve as lecturer in hygiene and sanitation at Paul Quinn College. He was at the college from 1891 to 1894. During this time he built and operated a hospital for blacks in Waco. Between 1893 and 1895 he was editor of Texas Searchlight, a serial publication that addressed issues facing blacks. During 1893 Majors worked in Chicago at the newly established Provident Hospital and with Frederick Douglass for five months. He also published Noted Negro Women (1893), a book of biographies of prominent black women of the period, which he had written in California. In the preface to this book Majors states the motivation for his literary efforts: “The world is full of books yet few of them appeal directly and peculiarly to the Negro race….[I] commend these pages to the reading world, trusting that they will for long stand out in bold relief, a signification of Negro progress.”

Majors moved to Decatur, Illinois, around 1896 and to Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1897. In Indiana he served as associate editor of the Indianapolis Freeman (1898–99). He returned to Waco, where he was superintendent of his hospital for two years, but moved back to Chicago in 1901. From 1908 to 1911 he was the editor of the Chicago Conservator, and for two of those years he was on the Chicago Board of Health. During this time he became a close friend of the poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar. Majors was active in civic and political affairs, especially in racial issues, an involvement that no doubt caused some of his frequent moves. He was also a member of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias, the National Business League, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He was a Mason, a Methodist, and a Republican. In 1921 he wrote First Steps and Nursery Rhymes, the first book of nursery rhymes written specifically for black children. He contributed articles and poems to other publications, including the Chicago Defender, the Bee, and the Chicago Broad Ax. In 1908 he divorced his wife and in 1909 married Estelle C. Bonds. They had one daughter. In 1925 Dr. Majors lost most of his vision; thereafter he was less active politically and professionally. He returned to Los Angeles in 1933 and died there on December 10, 1960.