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 www.sciway.org
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…..in the bond of flt I leave you to continue your research on our fellow brethren…
This a good meeting this year for Area II meeting.
Area 2 Meeting in Raleigh NC was a great success.