Origin and Adoption of the District Lodges

At the A.M.C of 1879 began and held at the State House in the city of Little Rock, Ark., on the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th days of October, A.D. 1879, among other things done the appointment of the committee consisting of Delegates E. B. Cheatham (as chairman), Charles h. Marshall, Hohn G. Heggie, E.C. Johnson, and George H. Imes whose instructions were to present a plan or substitute for the several propositions before the A.M.C. on the subject of State or District Lodges, was ordered.

In compliance, therewith the said committee, by a unanimous report, presented the following, which was adopted by the A.M.C., and the committee discharged:

Whereas we, the delegates of the various subordinate Lodge of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows in America, in convention assembled at Little Rock, State of Arkansas, October 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th, in conformity with our  warrant from the Committee Of Management Of England, establishing our Order, empowering us to legislate under the General Laws of the Order for all changes arising from the circumstances governing our existence, which was reaffirmed in a letter dated March 30, 1871 referring to date of warrant, December 19, 1843, addressed to the Grand secretary of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows do hereby declare that the time has come when, for the enlargement. Perpetuity, union, and harmony of our Order, it has become necessary to divide the legislative, judicial, and executive powers, in conformity with the General Laws of the Order, subject to the authority and approval of the Committee of Management of England and the powers of the S.-C. of M. of American, do hereby form a national constitution, defining the powers and functions of all subordinate bodies under it regulating the legislative, judicial, and executive functions of each; and we solemnly command all of said bodies under it to give to it full and complete allegiance.

We recommend that a District Lodge shall consist of any State, Territory. Province, or Island having three or more subordinate Lodges, [and I shall constitute a district; and where such number does not exist, the Lodges therein shall combine with the next nearest State, Territory, Province, or Island and form a District Lodge; but when three exist in a State, Territory, Province, or Island, they shall, without delay, organize a District Lodge. We recommend that each subordinate Lodge in the organization of District Lodges may elect one or more delegates, not exceeding three, who shall be elected at the time and according to the General Laws regulating the election of delegates. but after the next general meeting of the Order they shall regulate their own representation from the subordinate Lodges and judge of their qualifications.

We recommend, for the good of the Order, that no delegates should be below the P. N. F. degree.

Under the recommendation contained in said substitute, it was referred to the S.-C. of M. for action at its first meeting; and in pursuance thereof, at its January meeting, 1880, the same was acted upon, and on motion the matter was continued to the April meeting, and Most Venerable Patriarch R. A. Dawson, of Arkansas, appointed and elected to draw up the constitution and by-laws and present the same at the April meeting of the S.-C. of M. ; and the S.-C. of M., on motion, agreed by a majority vote that the Order should have and create District Lodges, and that their title should be District instead of State Grand Lodges.

In pursuance of the above proceedings and instructions, I have the honor to submit the following for your consideration and action.

The Grand Master, Grand Secretary, officers, and members of S.-C. of M., Grand United Order of Odd Fellows in America and jurisdiction for the year A. D. 1880, having examined into the following constitution, have unanimously adopted the same and recommend that immediate action be taken in reference to the formation of said District Lodges.

Recommendation

The S.-C. of M. recommends that each State, Territory, Province, or Island be a district within itself, and when organized shall be known and designated as the District Lodge of ……. under the authority and jurisdiction of the S.-C. of M. of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows in America, and created by authority and action of the A. M. C. of 1879, held at the city of Little Rock, State of Arkansas, on the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th days of October, 1879, and under the constitution, by-laws, and regulations adopted by the S.-C. of M. at their third quarterly meeting, held at the city of Philadelphia, on the 12th, 13th, and 14th days of July, 1880, and promulgated for the organization, direction, and government of said District Lodges.

Said District Lodges shall possess and have powers guaranteed them under the dispensation granted to them by the S.-C. of M. and the General Laws of the Order and the constitution of said District Lodges, so long as they shall act in conformity with the above; and the S.-C. of M. shall at the earliest possible moment prepare a dispensation or charter in proper form and forward the same to each District Lodge upon their formation and application for the same, upon the payment of such fees as the S.-C. of M. may fix for the same; and the S.-C. of M., upon application made officially by the District Lodge, shall from time to time furnish such information as may be required for the successful operation and working of said District Lodges.

Among other things done at the B. M. C. held in the city of Boston, October 5th, 1882, it was, on motion, ordered that a committee of seven be appointed to redraft, alter, and amend the constitution and laws of the District Lodges.

The Chairman then appointed the following brethren as the committee: Preston Taylor, W. H. Grimshaw, George Myers, James Thornton, D. H. sands, J. A. Sykes, and E. H. Morris.

Said committee afterwards reported in words as follows: Mr. Chairman and delegates to the B. M. C.:

Whereas the short time allowed to the Committee on the District Lodge Laws, in view of the important matter, would make it impossible for this committee to present such a constitution as will be satisfactory to the B. M. C., therefore we ask for more time in consideration of the duties imposed upon us.

And that the B. M. C. empower Brother Edward H. Morris to revise the district laws, and when the said revision is complete to be submitted to the Committee on District Lodges for their approval, and when approved to be forwarded to the S.-C. of NI., and thereby empower them to compensate such amount as in their judgment they may see fit.

Said report was adopted by more than a two-thirds vote.

To the Grand Master and S.-C. of M.

With the approval of the committee of seven appointed at the B. M. C. in Boston, 1882, I hereby submit the following rules of action for the government of District Lodges.