Today’s OddFellow: An Introduction….

I can remember an Undergrad Psychology professor once told my wife “to study art is to study history! “. Makes sense that some of the most precious gems of American History are pieces of artwork. Signs and symbols tell a story when words cease to convey the message. Looking back at old degree charts of an almost forgotten craft, I can only imagine the mindset of the brethren that came before us and the tumultuous times they not only survived but thrived in.  From 1843 to the Present the Order hasn’t changed much, but the time has come for the future generations of Oddfellows to stand!  I say that to say this : I would like to introduce to the world an Oddfellow who’s exemplary fortitude will be mentioned amongst the great many notable figures the Order has produced…..Bro. Jarrett “Lefty Unz” Jenkins of Columbia, SC

Bro.  Jenkins was born October 13th 197_…Not putting his business out there ha !  He joined Florence lodge 2212 in February of this year and has become a fine example of what an Oddfellow should strive to be.  He’s a proud father, a loving husband and one of the coolest cats this side of the Atlantic Ocean!  He’s an accomplished Emcee, as well as a visual artist with pieces he’s contributed to all over the southeast.  Just recently he was given the opportunity to speak at a career day for his son’s school, Bridgecreek Elementary.

Not only was he invited here but our brother was also invited to do an art symposium at his Alma Mater Richland Northeast High School ….

 

 

 

 

The Grand United Order of Oddfellows touts many remarkable men and women who provided unmeasurable amounts of service to their respective communities.

As the new breeds we intend, with heart in hand, to continue a proud legacy of charity , brotherhood, and benevolence for future generations to benefit from! Bro. Jenkins is just one of many, and soon we will again be a household name.  

In the bond of Friendship Love and Truth I leave as I came……

Bro.Page : Florence lodge 2212/Wayman Association 1339, District 13 Area II

The bond of Friendship Love and Truth

Greetings and FLT from Myself and the Mighty brothers of Florence Lodge 2212 !

On August 12th of this year Florence Lodge brought in another Seven Worthy Brothers into the mysteries of our craft! This picture is historic in the fact that the wheels are turning on my plans to bring both the  Read more

Capital City’s Finest

One of South Carolina’s own !!! Been a while since I continued my search for notables from the Palmetto State, but this one is from the Soda City!!!

John Benjamin Lewie of Columbia, SC is a prominent, successful man of affairs. He is a versatile man, having struggled up from a humble place in life to one of large usefulness and influence among his people. At a time when it was harder to secure an education than it is now, he worked his own way through college, steadily refusing to be discouraged by the difficulties by which he was confronted. He was born in Lexington county, August 10, 1873, and is a son of Benjamin W. Lewie, a farmer.
Mr. Lewie’s mother was before her marriage Miss Rhoda May Counts.
As a boy young Lewie attended the rural schools but was ambitious for a better education than they could provide. Accordingly he entered Allen University in Columbia, S.C. , and completed his courses in 1895. Four years later the same institution conferred on him the B. S. degree. Mr. Lewie was an enterprising youth and worked his own way through college. He learned the Barber trade and found that helpful as a means to an end. Then he took up the laboratory end of dental work and found that helpful also. Inquisitive as Lewie was he eventually took the civil service examination and entered the postal service where he made good his living. He remained on that job for twenty years. Though not active in politics, he was a Republican and a member of the A. M. E. church. It is perhaps on account of his work in connection with the Grand Lodge of the S. C. Knights of Pythias, that he is most widely known. He is Grand Keeper of Records and Seal in that Order, a position which he held for six years. He is also prominent in the work of the Grand United Order of Oddfellows #GUOOF, where he was Permanent Secretary of #RichardAllenLodge No. 1876, and #HouseholdofRuth no.1832 . He was a loyal member of the #Prince Hall Masons where he served as #Secretary n #PastMaster for #CapitalCitylodge47, and also a brother in the #GoodSamaritans . We are truly inspired to re-discover the many countless members of our “Mysterious Three” that rose to prominence against the perils of life in the south….

 

In the bond of Friendship Love and Truth

West Jordan Scholarship

Sister Norma Bannister Grant, Past DGMNG of Household of Ruth, Virginia presents the 2017 West Jordan Scholarship to Deondre Dagner at the State Convention Banquet for the Grand United Order Odd Fellows in America and Jurisdiction of the State of Virginia. Deondre received the financial award in the amount of $1,000. He will be attending Old Dominion University.

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Virginia Sub District No. 15 of Grand United Order Of Fellows Donates to Scholarship Fund

During the Virginia 56th Biennial session for Grand United Order Of Fellows in American and Jurisdiction it’s Virginia Sub-District No. 15 donated $2500 in checks at it’s State Convention Banquet. The money was presented to Virginia Union University for the Albert & Helen Ruffin Endowment Scholarship Fund. Since its inception in 2011 several students have received scholarships from the scholarship fund.

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Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling Image may contain: 1 person, standingImage may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing

Remembering our founders: George T. Downing

George T. Downing (December 30, 1819 – July 21, 1903) was an abolitionist and activist for African-American civil rights. His father was a caterer and Oyster seller in Philadelphia andNew York City and George followed the same career path in New York, Newport, Rhode Island, and Washington, DC. From the 1830s until the end of slavery, Downing was active in the abolitionist movement and in theUnderground Railroad, with his restaurant serving as a rest house. During the American Civil War (1861-1865), Downing helped recruit African American soldiers. After the war he moved to Washington, DC where he ran the Refectory for the House of Representatives. He was a prominent member in the Colored Conventions Movement and worked to join the efforts of women’s rights and black rights. He became close to Charles Sumner and was with the legislator when he died. Late in his life he returned to Rhode Island where he continued to be a community leader and civil rights activist.

Early life

George Thomas Downing was born in New York on December 30, 1819 to Thomas Downing and Rebecca West. Thomas was born in 1791 in Chincoteague, Virginia, and Rebecca was born in Philadelphia. He was one of five children, the others being twins Thomas and Henry, Jane, and Peter William. Downing’s father’s parents were freed by his former owner, John Downign, who built the Downing Meeting House and made Thomas and Rebecca caretakers. Among the visitors to the house where many elite Virginia families, including the Whartons, the Wests, The Taylors, the Custis and the Wise families. His father was a playmate of Virginia Governor Thomas A. Wise, and accompanied Wise briefly during the War of 1812, where he served as a soldier, but settling in Philadelphia and then moving to New York. He established a business on 5 broad street and owned a number of houses on that block which became an important hotel for foreign visitors, including Charles Dickens and Lord MorpethDowning famously sent some American oysters to Queen Victoria, in recognition of which she sent a gold chronometer watch to Thomas in the care of Joseph Comstock.

The first school George attended was held by Charles Smith on Orange Street, and then at Mulberry Street School, also known as African Free School. Downing was known as a child for leading other black students to chase off whites who harassed them. He then attended Hamilton College. George’s father’s prominence gave him many unique experiences, and he met Lafayette when the patriot toured the states during Downing’s boyhood. When he was 14, Downing organized a literary society of his peers where many topics were discussed, including resolving to refrain from celebrating the Fourth of July as the holiday and the Declaration of Independence ought not be celebrated by blacks. Among his classmates involved in the society were Philip Bell, Alexander Crummell, James McCune Smith, and Henry Highland GarnetAlso as a youth, he began to work as an agent for theUnderground Railroad. Among his first works was to help “Little Henry”, a slave who was jailed in New York.

Downing was an important leader in abolitionism in New York. He was active in the organization of the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833, and together with Frederick Douglass and Alexander Crumell, Downing was a noted opponent of the American Colonization Society in the 1830s and 1840s. An influential moment occurred in 1841 when he was beaten by agents of the Harlem Railroad for attempting to ride.In June 1850, Downing together with Frederick Douglass, Samuel Ward, Lewis Woodson, and others formed the American League of Colored Laborers as a union to organize former slaves working in New York City. He was also a member of the committee of thirteen which fought against the Fugitive Slave Law in 1850. His distaste for that bill was such that when he once met Millard Fillmore, he excused himself rather than shake the former president’s hand, as he did not wish to touch the hand which signed that bill. He was a member of the committee which greeted the arrival of Louis Kossuth to New York in 1851. In New York, Downing was one of the prime agents of the Underground Railroad, along with Isaac Hopper, Oliver Johnson, Charles B. Ray, David Ruggles, McCune Smith, James W. C. Pennington, and Henry Highland Garnet. Downing’s station was run out of his Oyster House Restaurant.

Downing was also active in Rhode Island and New England. While fugitive slave Anthony Burns was imprisoned in Boston in 1854, Downing took part in the protests against his return to slavery, meeting with Robert Morris to argue for Burns’ cause. Downing was a prime agent pushing the Rhode Island legislature to integrate public schools, first financing a campaign of protest starting in 1857 which was finally successful in 1866.

Civil War period

As the Civil War approached, Downing was central in the movement for African American civil rights. Downing was president of the Convention of Colored Citizens in Boston on August 1, 1859. In 1860, Downing with J. S. Martin helped organize a meeting to celebrate the first anniversary of the death of John Brown in Boston. The meeting was widely opposed by many in Boston, and the mayor attempted to disduade Martin and Downing from holding the meeting. A mob gathered at Tremont Temple, and they were forced to adjourn. The next day they met at Joy Street Church, protected by the Boston police and militia. The meeting was highly visible, with Brown’s son, John Brown, Jr., andWendell Phillips making speeches.

During the American Civil War (1861-1865), Downing was encouraged to help enroll African-Americans into the Union Army. He met with Massachusetts governor John Albion Andrew, and got from him written assurance that black troops would be treated with equality, upon which he took up the work.

In October 1864, Downing was a prominent delegate to the Syracuse Colored Convention. Over the previous decade, Downing had been a critic of nationalist-emigrantionists such as Martin Delaney and Henry Highland Garnet, and at the convention, this animosity came through. Frederick Douglass was chosen as president of the convention, and made some effort to keep the peace between factions which arose around Downing and Garnet.

Reconstruction era

February 6, 1869 illustration from Harper's Weekly: The National Colored Convention in Session at Washington, D.C.--Sketched by Theo. R. Davis
February 6, 1869 illustration from Harper’s Weekly: The National Colored Convention in Session at Washington, D.C.–Sketched by Theo. R. Davis

In the second annual meeting of theAmerican Equal Rights Association in 1867, Downing contrasted the issues of African American and women’s rights, asking whether those attending would be willing to support the vote for black men before women. While this tension doomed that organization,the issue remained one of interest to Downing. At the National Convention of Colored Men in Washington, DC in January 1869 where Downing was prominent in his support of women’s rights.

Downing had moved to Washington, DC at the war’s end and became intimate with many politicians, particularly Charles Sumner. Sumner quoted Downing in his argument for the Civil Rights Bill in 1872. Downing was at Sumner’s bedside with Sumner died in 1874. Downing and his family were also involved in integration of Washington, DC society, opening the Senate gallery to blacks and being the first blacks to occupy a box in a theater in the capital. With the help of Sumner, he worked to integrate the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad line between Washington and Baltimore.

Downing played a role in Reconstruction politics as well. With the help of Horace Greeley, he led a delegation which met with president Andrew Johnson to push for the support of blacks against violence and repression in the south. While organizing the delegation, he traveled throughout the South. On his way to New Orleans, he received a letter from the Ku Klux Klan which threatened his life. Downing helped gainEdward Bassett the appointment as Minister Resident and Consul General for the United States to Haiti, the first appointment of a black man to a position in the Diplomatic Corps.

In the late 1870s, Downing found himself on the opposite side of Frederick Douglass on an important issue. Together with John Mercer Langston and Richard T. Greener at meetings and conventions, Downing supported the cause of blacks migrating from the South to the North, while Douglass thought Exodusters should work to develop the area they were born.

Politically, Downing was Republican for much of his life, but became more independent during the candidacy for president of James Blaine, who he felt was soft on civil rights. He also supported a Democratic candidate for alderman of Newport and in exchange a black man was placed on the school committee. He also was active in removing laws against racial inter-marriage in Rhode Island.

Late in his life, he was given a commission as captain of a colored company of the Rhode Island militia, which Downing returned, protesting against the designation of the company as colored. The governor then resent the commission without the discriminating phrase. Also late in his life, Downing became an important benefactor to Newport. He was a large contributor to the purchase of the land which became Touro Park in Newport, making the second largest contribution after that of Judah Touro‘s estate. He also helped organize the politics behind the expansion of Newport’s Bellevue Avenue, and declined an offer to be collector for the port of Newport.

Our beloved brother actually  helped organize the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows and was Grand Master of the Order for some years. He was also involved in freemasonry and was a Royal Arch Mason.It is of the utmost importance that as brethren we continue to expound on the feats of our predecessors……

In the bond of Friendship Love and Truth

Bro.Page

The ties that “link” us: Prince Hall Masons and The Grand United Order of Oddfellows

Before I begin to expound on the “links” I would first like to show respect for our innumerable amount of brethren who are valuable members of both the Grand United Order of Oddfellows and the Prince Hall Masons.  It takes dedication determination and discipline to embark on such an endeavor in life’s search for knowledge! Let us pay homage to our Founders thrice !!! If it weren’t for them we probably wouldn’t be reading this, if it weren’t for Them there would be no We…..

Black fraternalism began with Freemasonry in the late eighteenth century and spread among free blacks during the 1800s. By the late nineteenth century, black secret societies included not only the parallel Euro-American Elks, Masons, Odd Fellows, and Knights of Pythias, but also a variety of independent orders, including the United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten, the Independent Order of St. Luke, and the Grand United Order of True Reformers. Some of the national societies had quite large memberships by the early twentieth century: Odd Fellows (304,000), Pythians (250,000), Masons (150,000), and the Elks (70,000……

In order to circumvent the racially exclusionary policies of American orders, African Americans sometimes sought and received charters from European bodies (particularly from England, as in the case of the Prince Hall Masons and Odd Fellows). Even more than the white societies, black secret orders served multiple functions. They helped to shape African American identity through rituals of brotherhood; protected members against poverty and other misfortunes; and supported movements for social change, including the antislavery movement of the nineteenth century and the modern civil rights and black power movements of the twentieth century. Black secret societies also offered more opportunities for prospective members to join multiclass and gender-integrated orders than did their counterparts..

Odd Fellowship and Freemasonry are two unrelated independent, and yet interrelated fraternal organizations with different traditions, purpose and principles, not one is higher or better than the other. Historically, the two fraternities actually have a good relationship with each other. In fact, it was not uncommon to find men who were members of both, and also not uncommon for the two Orders to split the rent or share one single building. There are also Freemason lodges that meet in Odd Fellows Halls and Odd Fellow lodges that meet in Masonic Temples. As a matter of fact, Florence lodge 2212, currently meets in a historic masonic lodge in Florence, SC boasting a membership comprised of many proud Masons! 

We share a strong history in this country in that our founders were forced to go to the source of the two orders (England) after being refused based not upon the heart or the mind but hue of a man…..No need to dwell on it because assimilation into the world of fraternalism on that end would’ve swallowed our own identities and not afforded us our illustrious history of triumphs in the pale face of adversity! Our pride in ourselves and the work we have done throughout history speaks for itself! Besides that we’re also holding the linkage to the Mother Lodges  (yea we know) !!!  We share a unique bond in that we both have contributed nothing less than honorable worthy individuals to add to the prestige of the Orders world wide!!! I could go on for days y’all ! No need to brag because these are historical facts…

A few Officers that we have in common have been posted on this blog or @guoofcarolinas on ig . I’ll name a few  for you to do your own research!

Norris Wright Cuney who was the first MWGM of Texas and DGM of Texas GUOOF

Dr. C.C. Johnson PMWGM for SCGL and DGM for District 13 S.C. GUOOF

Rev. Irby Dunklin Davis Grand Treasurer  for SCGL and Grand Director for District 13 S.C. GUOOF

Rev. Henry Hannibal Butler Prof: Grand Chaplain for the GL of SC 1924 , District 13 Grand Treasurer / Endowment GUOOF

Dr. Robert Shaw Wilkinson was Deputy Grand Master of SCGL and served various offices in District 13 GUOOF

I’ll have to post a part two! 

In the bond of Friendship Love and Truth

Fraternally

 

Bro.Page 

 

 

Ohio’s Finest

Grand United Order of Odd Fellows Celebration, 1887


– from the Wheeling Intelligencer, July 1, 1887

G.U.O.O.F. CELEBRATION


Of their Twenty-first Anniversary in West Virginia, in this city Yesterday — Large Delegations from near and far. Grant Procession and Picnic.


The celebration by the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows in this city yesterday of the twenty-first anniversary of the introduction of their order into West Virginia was as complete a success and as admirable a demonstration as was ever witnessed in Wheeling. The procession was large, and the bodies composing it bore themselves well and marched with military precision. The picnic on the State Fair Grounds was largely attended and more orderly and well-behaved crowd of the kind never assembled here. No beer or other intoxicants were sold on the ground, and a drunken man, white or colored, was an unusually rare sight in the city yesterday. The prize drilling was credible, and the speeches able and instructive. Last evening the festivities wound up with a banquet at Arion Hall.


THE PROCESSION


Long trains on all the railroads, including a special from Pittsburgh and Washington over the Hempfield, brought hundreds of members of the order and other visitors into the city all forenoon. The procession was a little late in forming owing the to delay in the arrival of some of the delegations, but finally it moved from Public Building Square up Chapline street in the following order, Chief Marshal Houston Lewis commanding:

  • Chief Marshal and staff.
  • Union Cornet Band of Ætnaville.
  • Wheeling Patriarchate No. 28, Capt. Thomas Lewis, commanding.
  • American Cornet Band, of Pittsburgh (colored).
  • Pittsburgh Patriarchate No. 39, Capt. John Anderson.
  • Allegheny Patriarchate No. 11, Capt. W. B. Gross.
  • Eureka Lodge, G.U.O.O.F., of Pittsburgh, No. 1435.
  • Industrial Lodge, of Pittsburgh, No. 1535.
  • Household of Ruth Lodge, of Pittsburgh.
  • Bond of Love Lodge, of Allegheny, No. 2514.
  • Union Western Lodge, of Allegheny, No. 1515.
  • Wheeling Lodge No. 1307.
  • Robert H. Elliott Lodge No. 2652 of Mt. Pleasant, O.
  • United Lodge No. 1483 of Uniontown, O.
  • Belmont Lodge No. 1761, of Bellaire.
  • Barnesville, Ohio, Lodge.
  • True Friendship Lodge No. 2663, of Bridgeport.
  • Martin’s Ferry Lodge No. 2318.
  • Naomi Lodge No. 155 of Parkersburg.

The men, especially the patriarchates, marched well, and some of the intricate movements were very nicely executed. The Pittsburgh band made good music, as did also the Ætnaville band. A number of gorgeous banners were shown. The Regimental officers and distinguished guests rode in carriages in the rear of the procession.

A number of houses were nicely decorated along the line of March, which extended as far north as Seventh street and south to Twenty-second. In spite of the scorching sun the ranks held out better than usual on such occasions.


THE PICNIC.


Arrived at the fair grounds a substantial dinner was served in Horticultural hall. It is estimated that 2,500 people were on the grounds. Dancing to the music of Mayer’s orchestra and promenading filled in the time for awhile, and then the audience repaired to the grand stand, and were addressed by distinguished orators, who were necessarily possessed of stentorian lungs, as they occupied positions in the judges’ stand. Prof. J. H. Jones, of this city, made the opening speech, and was followed by Right Venerable Patriarch Gross. Rev. Dr. Asbury, of Washington, made the closing speech. All three orators spoke eloquently and forcibly of the advantages of Odd Fellowship and its elevating influence on the colored race since their admission in 1843.

After the speaking the Allegheny and Pittsburgh patriarchates were pitted against each other in a competitive drill for a purse of $70 in gold. Capt. George Matheson, of the K. of St. G., William H. Sheib and Mr. Uthman, the judges, awarded the prize to Capt. Anderson’s Pittsburgh Commandery.

The Wheeling division then drilled for a prize of a barrel of flour, offered by Neill & Ellingham to that individual in the ranks who exhibited the most familiarity with the tactics and greatest precision in the drill. This prize the judges awarded to John Dixon. It was the general opinion that Wheeling Patriarchate excelled either of the others in the drill.

Last evening about 200 couples sat down to a bounteous banquet at Arion Hall. Besides the supper, dancing was indulged in till a late hour.

The whole affair was in all respects worth of admiration, and the bearing of the members commended itself to the emulation of other orders.

The visitors largely left for home last night, though many will remain over till to-day.