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


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






Grand United Order of Odd Fellows Celebration, 1887

– from the Wheeling Intelligencer, July 1, 1887


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.


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.


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.


The pictures displayed above are relics of a time passed here in SC, yet they stand as a testament to the fortitude and dedication of one man and his family to not only make a living for themselves but aid and assist others to do the same.

That man is Bro. William H. Rutherford (1852-1910). He and his brother H.B. Rutherford both served as officers on the District GL level for South Carolina.

William H. Rutherford was born in 1852 and emancipated at age 13. As a young man during the Reconstruction era, he worked as a servant for a black South Carolina legislator who was later elected to the United States Congress, Robert Brown Elliott. Rutherford became a barber and then a school teacher before finally turning to manufacturing late in life.Rutherford made regalia for fraternal lodges and also briefly co-owned a cigar factory with William Frasia. In 1878, he purchased a corner lot on what was then Winn Street and built his home, which is no longer extant. By 1905, he was prosperous enough to buy the neighboring house from Dr. Samuel Fair and convert it into a rental property.Rutherford then focused on acquiring more rental property around town; owning multiple properties was rare for a black man in South Carolina during the early twentieth century. His son, Harry B. Rutherford, Sr., eventually joined him in business, operating the manufacturing companies and also managing the rental properties. In 1914 Harry Rutherford, Sr. bought a lot on Gregg Street adjacent to the Fair-Rutherford House.

When Harry Rutherford, Sr. died in 1917, his widow, Carrie Rutherford, moved into the Fair-Rutherford House. She replaced the old house with the house seen here between 1924 and 1925 and moved into it upon its completion. She continued to buy and sell property. Later her son, Dr. Harry B. Rutherford, Jr. and his wife, Dr. Evaretta Sims Rutherford, lived in the home. The Rutherfords were both educators who received their doctoral degrees from Harvard University.

Dr. Harry B. Rutherford, Jr. founded the Richland Teachers Council Federal Union to provide loans to African-American teachers, was named principal of Booker T. Washington High School in Columbia during the 1950s, and later worked as an assistant superintendent in Washington, D.C. Dr. Evaretta Rutherford served as the chairman of the Department of Education at Benedict College in Columbia and then became chairman of the Department of Education at Howard University in Washington, D.C. She also authored six books on African studies.

The Rutherford’s son, named Harry Rutherford, II (also known as Harry Rutherford, Jr.), became a dentist and converted this home into his dental office in 1982. Today the dental practice, Palmetto Dental Services, still operates from the historic family home and is run by Dr. Harry Rutherfod, II and his son, Dr. Trace Rutherford.

The Rutherford House is listed in the National Register along with the Fair-Rutherford House, though the latter was demolished in 2004:

The Fair-Rutherford House and the Rutherford House are one- and two-story residences, respectively; the former was erected ca. 1850 on land owned by Dr. Samuel Fair and underwent three alterations during the following century (ca. 1879, ca. 1905, and ca. 1950), and the latter was built in 1924-25. Both houses are significant in Columbia black history because of their association with the advancement of the Rutherford family from slavery to prominence and respect. Over the years, both male and female members of this African American family living in these houses have been business owners, professionals and educators, among them, Dr. Evaretta Sims Rutherford, an educator and Fulbright scholar who wrote, co-authored, or edited six books in the field of African studies. William H. Rutherford’s business had prospered sufficiently by 1905 to permit him to acquire the Fair-Rutherford House as a rental property; his son Harry B. Rutherford, Sr. expanded the family’s holdings with the purchase of the 1330 Gregg St. property in 1914. By 1925 the family had built an imposing residence on the 1330 lot adjacent to the Fair-Rutherford House. William H. and Harry B., Sr. operated independent manufacturing businesses when most blacks in the nation were laborers or worked in service-related occupations. Later family members concentrated their attention on the acquisition of real property and other business ventures. Dr. Harry B. Rutherford, Jr. was a prominent Columbia educator, consultant, and credit union official.

Information provided by

Happy Easter from Florence Lodge 2212 of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows and from the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows in American and Jurisdiction.  

I assume this means as much to us Odd Fellows as it does to the Prince Hall Masons of SC……

Here lies Dr. Charles Catlett Johnson or C.C. Johnson……Dr. Johnson (b. 1860, d. 1928) was born in Orange County, Virginia. He graduated from Howard University Medical School in Washington, D.C. in 1888, and opened a medical practice soon afterward in Columbia, South Carolina. His is a complicated story. Charles Catlett Johnson, Sr. was born in Orange County, Virginia on December 24, 1860. His mother, Mary Jane Reed, was of Scotch parentage, and his father, Louis Johnson, was an Irish immigrant.
After his father died in 1865, his mother married Nicholas Poindexter, a black man, and Charles and his two sisters grew up in Washington, DC, along with children his mother birthed for Poindexter.

Throughout his life, he remained a “voluntary” black man, though his blonde hair, blue eyes and fair skin never failed to raise eyebrows. Likewise, there are few facts known about the early days in Columbia, South Carolina, where the young doctor began his practice at 1103 Plain Street. We know from published biographical records that he was the first physician of color to practice in that city, and that he was the first doctor ever to administer the small pox vaccine there. He was also the first physician of any race to use the X-ray machine in surgical practice in South Carolina. In addition, he taught chemistry as a professor at Benedict College for a time there in Columbia….He went on to become one of Aiken County, South Carolina’s founding fathers with another worthy Oddfellow, Prince Rivers…

In opposition to the “Atlanta Comprise”:

Dr. C.C. Johnson, was a colleague of the famius Dr. DuBois an esteemed black physician and surgeon. In a letter to DuBois, Johnson wrote that he “could not believe that in the long run it can be for the real good of any race to oppress unjustly any man or set of men anywhere in the world”.  Continuing in this manner Dr. Johnson wrote that “It surely needs no argument to any fair minded man to be convinced that the national sin of our country today is the shameful injustice to which our race is subjected in practically all parts of the land, both in a private and a public way”.  


Dr. Robert Shaw Wilkinson was the much beloved president of what is now known as South Carolina State University. He served with distinction in that capacity from 1911 to 1932. He was regarded as the father of organized agricultural and vocational work for African-Americans in South Carolina.

Robert S. Wilkinson was born in 1865 in Charleston to Charles H. Wilkinson and Lavinia A. Robinson. His early education was obtained at Shaw Memorial School and the Avery Institute there. He received his bachelor’s and masters degrees from Oberlin College in Ohio, and his doctorate degree from Columbia University in New York.

After college Dr. Wilkinson first taught Greek and Latin at Simmons College in Kentucky. When the Colored, Normal, Agricultural and Mechanical College of South Carolina opened in Orangeburg in 1896, he came to teach Physics and Mathematics. In 1911 he became the second president there, a position he held until his death in 1932.

The academic programs were substantially upgraded during Dr. Wilkinson’s tenure. The area of agricultural education also made significant gains. In that era the college had several different areas of educational programs. The preparatory program was a four year high school program, the Normal Department offered a Licentiate of Instruction for future teachers, and the Agricultural and Mechanical College covered the rest of the college program. The physical plant was also greatly enhanced during Dr. Wilkinson’s presidency.

Dr. Wilkinson enjoyed a national reputation as an educator. He served as president of the Negro Land Grant College Association of the South, chairman of the Palmetto State Teachers’ Association Executive Committee, and secretary of the board of trustees of Voorhees Industrial School in Denmark. He was also a director of the Mutual Savings Bank of Charleston, and the Victory Savings Bank of Columbia.

Fraternally he was a Deputy Grand Master of the Masons, the Grand Master Exchequer for the Black Knights of Pythias, and was a member of the Elks and the Grand United Order of Oddfellows.

Dr. Wilkinson and his wife founded St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and used their living room for its services the first ten years.

He married the former Marion Birnie, and they had four children, Dr. Robert S. Wilkinson, Dr. Frost B. Wilkinson, Helen W. Sheffield, and Lula Wilkinson. He died in 1932 as a result of pneumonia while still serving as president of South Carolina State University. As a fitting tribute for such an outstanding educator, the first African-American public high school in Orangeburg in 1937 was named Wilkinson High School……

Stay tuned for more information about many more Outstanding Members of our Order who contributed so much to our unique history !

In the bond of Friendship,Love,and Truth I leave as I came and I emplore you all to take a closer look out our contributions to society…..

Bro.Page Florence 2212


Today we pay homage to Patrick H. Reason of the original Philomathean Lodge #646

Patrick Henry Reason, first named Patrice Rison (March 17, 1816 – August 12, 1898), was one of the earliest and greatest African-American engravers and lithographers in the United States. He was active as an abolitionist (along with his brother Charles Lewis Reason).With his two brothers Elver and Charles L. Reason, Patrick attended New York’s African Free School. At the age of 13, his drawing of the school building was engraved for the frontispiece of Charles C. Andrews’ history of the school published in 1830. He was apprenticed to Stephen Henry Gimber (1806-1862), an English engraver and lithographer in the city.

His engravings include an 1835 version of the kneeling female slave, an 1840 portrait of Ohio Senator Benjamin Tappan, and the frontispiece portrait for the 1849 autobiography of Henry Bibb, a fugitive from slavery and an abolitionist lecturer. An 1840 lithograph portrait of Bibb has also been attributed to Reason.

Patrick Reason was the first to apply to become an oddfellow as a man of color during the 1800s. Though unsuccessful, he later met with the likes of our beloved Peter Ogden of the Original Grand United Order of Oddfellows. Reason expressed his Philomathean society’s desire to join the Order and Ogden suggested that they get a charter directly from the mother lodge and delivered the request personally. It was granted and on March 1,1843, our collective was brought into existence in the United States.  The cultural climate of the time, the hate, the disdain for a fellow human based on the hue of one’s skin couldn’t stop #FriendshipLoveandTruth from making a home here.

Reason designed the membership certificate and at one point served as the lodge’s grand master, and in 1858 composed the Ruth degree, the first to be conferred upon female members…….#salutes #oddfellows #oddfellow #guoof #guoofof #blackhistory #lithograph  #americanhistory #engraving

From the desk of Bro.E.Page :

Head of Social Services and Warden, Florence lodge #2212 Area II District 13

Greetings and FLT !

I am honored to be mentioned in the same breath of the Grand United Order of Oddfellows…. It is my pleasure as well as my duty to share with you some exemplary individuals,who have been both a part of oddfellows history,as well as major players in our quest for freedom,justice,and equality here in the United States and Jurisdiction……

There are a great many notable figures whom it is my duty to help you become familiar with as we explore the accolates of our collective. I’lI begin in a state most important for our headquarters is there! Let us honor Bro. J.C. Bustill from Philadelphia…

Joseph Cassey Bustill (1822–1895) was an #African #American #conductor in the #UndergroundRailroad, operating primarily in #Philadelphia to aid refugee slaves.He worked as a school teacher. But, like his brother, he supported abolitionism and became active in the Underground Railroad. That career began with him serving as what was called a “shipping agent” to arrange shelter and passage……

A key figure in the local Harrisburg Vigilance Committee, Bustill helped to hide and forward hundreds of fugitives to Canada. Some notables included Otho Taylor, Owen Taylor, Benjamin Taylor, and their families, of Clearspring, Maryland. Bustill often worked closely with the famous William Still.

Bustill returned to Philadelphia in the first half of the 1860s and became a leader of the Pennsylvania Equal Rights League, which helped to end segregation on the city’s public streetcars and to win suffrage for the state’s black men.

He was a dedicated member of the Grand United Order of Oddfellows where he served diligently for fifty years!  Today and forever we honor him as our brother… the bond of flt I leave you to continue your research on our fellow brethren…