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I have to take time out to honor our sisterhood know by all as the Household of Ruth.  I am a little upset about the timing of this find because I was a day late and a dollar short of having the pleasure of interviewing this local heroine….She was District 22’s Most Noble Governor and her husband served as District 13’s Grand Chaplain.

Their names are Donella and John R. Wilson Sr . Her obsequie from Bostick and Tompkins reads :

Roberta Brown Wilson quietly entered into her eternal rest.

Donella Wilson was the only child of the late Henry Brown and Minnie Bryant Brown Logan.  She was born May 24, 1909 on the Peterkin Plantation in Fort Motte, SC, lands on which her grandparents and great-grandparents had worked as slaves. Her paternal grandmother read the Bible to her, taught her to pray, and to bless her food. Early on, Donella wanted to learn to read and to teach others to read and write. By the light of an oil lamp and a Sears catalog, she first learned to read. A teaching assignment took her back to those same lands in Fort Motte as a teacher in a multi-grade, one-room schoolhouse.

In 1933, Donella earned her teaching credentials from Allen University; and when she retired in 1971, she had worked all of her years teaching in the rural counties of South Carolina—serving, training, and helping to shape multiple generations of students.

Donella was married to the late Reverend John R. Wilson, Sr.  At the time of his death in 1998, they had been married 66 years and for 62 of those years, had lived and raised their four children at 1214 Heidt Street, the home they purchased in 1937.

A true Christian woman, she was a lifelong member of Union Baptist Church. Over the years, Donella served in many organizations, following and supporting her husband as he served as pastor and interim pastor in several churches in the Midlands of South Carolina. Until her health began to decline, she served as Mother of the church at Union Baptist.

For many years, Donella and her late husband were active in the Waverly Community, always working to make the community a better place to live.  She voted in every local, state, and national election since 1947.

Over her lifetime, Donella was the recipient of many honors, awards, and citations. Her many associations include: Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., lifetime membership in the NAACP, District 22 Grand Household of Ruth , Women’s Home Aid Society, the South Carolina and the Richland County Retired Teachers Associations, Allen University Alumni Association, Interdenominational Alliance of Ministers Wives and Widows, Inc., the Columbia Counsel of Garden Clubs and the Carver Garden Club.  Donella was National Superintendent Emeritus of the United Order of Tents, Southern District #4. She was a 2011 honoree of the AT&T African-American History Calendar. In 2017, she was awarded South Carolina’s highest civilian honor, the Order of the Palmetto, by Governor Henry McMaster. She left this earth at the Grand old age of 108 !!!! I can only hope and dream that somehow she saw our work on behalf of the Grand United Order of Oddfellows and we made her proud ! Now and forever she will be known……..

CHARITABLE DONATIONS MAY BE MADE TO:

The John and Donella Wilson Scholarship Fund
Allen University, 1530 Harden Street, Columbia SC 29204

 

 

 

If anyone asks……….it’s for the cause of so many of our predecessors whose souls I hope to stir, as we honor their all but forgotten legacies……..

I attended the Grand opening for an exhibit titled “Justice for All” at the University of South Carolina’s special collections department in the library. There are over 300 rarely seen telics of a time not too long ago.  These displays highlight the contributions of South Carolina’s own Black American freedom fighters.  Dr. Donaldson was the Master of Ceremonies for the evening,  for what it’s worth,  he has been a motivating force for highlights of our history as the head of African American studies at University of South Carolina.  This vast body of work, the culmination of himself and his team of dedicated archivists and researchers.  The guest speaker needs know introduction,  but I will speak with great esteem, at having the honor of conversation with Dr. Cleveland Sellers.

His story:

A three-year-old mascot; pardoned civil rights activist; author; educator; devoted husband and father. These are the roles that have indelibly shaped the legacy of Cleveland L. Sellers Jr., PhD, the eighth president of Voorhees College.

He grew up in Denmark – in the shadows of Voorhees – and became active in the 1960’s civil rights movement as an advocate for voting rights, justice and human rights. He aligned himself with veterans of the movement such as Ella Baker, Fannie Lou Hamer, Esau Jenkins, Modjeska Simpkins and Septima Clark. He was a victim of the Orangeburg Massacre that resulted in only one arrest – his. He used the detention to rededicate his life to empowering others through education – his life’s calling.

Under Dr. Sellers’ leadership, the South Carolina State Commission on Higher Education has recognized Voorhees College as the only Historically Black College and University (HBCU) to receive the 2008-2009 Service Learning Award for exemplary academic service learning programs of public and private higher education institutions. The college also made history as one of only two HBCU’s to be featured in the first Inauguration Debate Series held at the National Museum of Natural history in Washington, D.C.

Previously, Dr. Sellers served as director of the African American Studies program at the University of South Carolina. An alumnus of Shaw University, Harvard University, and the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, his affiliations include the Kosmos Club, South Carolina State Board of Education, South Carolina African American Heritage Committee, the Organization of American Historians, and Southern Historical Association. Among his numerous awards are the 2009 “Preserving Our Places in History” Lifetime Achievement Award, South Carolina African American Heritage Commission……He is a remarkable figure whom everyone should know. 

Now if that wasn’t enough,  lets get into the displays!  Did you know that Martin Luther King Jr was originally scheduled to speak in Columbia when he was killed?  Yeah, he rescheduled to make that trip to Memphis instead and paid the ultimate price for us.  There’s proof within those displays.  While viewing I met a white photographer who was ultimately beaten within inches of his life by police officers, because he was  filming the carnage ensuing because brothers and sisters were boycotting stores in downtown Columbia.  His pictures tell a story,  his films even more.

I met sons and daughters of some of our members as well.  They were proud to know that District 13 is back,  I plan to do some interviews with them so stay tuned !!! I read the names of a good bit of our brethren mentioned amongst the greats, like Luther James Battiste, Isaiah DeQuincey Newman, Judge Matthew Perry, and J.C. Artemus…..If you don’t recognize the names a quick Google search will set you straight….

There aren’t that many ancestors left so we must focus on a new generation to care for the and carry the torch…..

I won’t post anymore pictures in hopes that you will take time off to come and see it for yourselves.  For the Grand United Order of Oddfellows?! I am working with Dr. Donaldson currently to assist with telling our unique history.  Hopefully we will be able to host an event like this all our own.  Til then though I will continue to bring you the latest and greatest ,as I find new information…..

Black History is this month, March should be “Odd History Month” !!!

 

I leave as I came in the bond of Friendship Love and Truth with a touch of  Peace Hope and Prosperity…..

 

Bro. Supreme Emanuel Page jr,  Noble Grand: Wayman lodge 1339, Dist.13 Gr. Historian and National Gr. Historian for America and Jurisdiction

Our roster like the one I just recently posted on Fraternal lodge 1064, furnished the names of countless individuals, hell bent and heaven sent on getting African Americans their Just prerogatives in the Palmetto State  !!! Brother J.C. Artemus isn’t just a chip off the old block,  he’s the whole blood clot ting eh ?? Our Brother was a proud member of #BeulahLodge2083 , out of Columbia. SC. He is one of many I will mention in the upcoming days……..

From: https://aaregistry.org/story/john-artemus-an-ally-of-union-organizing/

He was born in Edgefield, S.C., of sharecropper parents. At a young age, Artemus realized that this type of farming system benefited only the white landlords and not the black tenant farmers. He was forced to leave Edgefield when he confronted his family’s landlord over unfair wages. Artemus moved to Columbia, where he worked for several of the city’s major merchants as a store clerk. He worked during the day and attended Benedict College in the evening. During these years, he learned carpentry and studied construction and contracting through correspondence courses. He worked on many homes and rental properties in both black and white communities.

After many years, Artemus joined the Columbia office of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company. For 12 years, he worked as an insurance agent and an assistant manager. Because of the Great Depression of the 1930s, Artemus returned to carpentry, hoping to benefit from the federal building projects started by President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. But black workers were barred from these projects. Artemus and a small group of supporters organized Local 2260 of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters to represent black workers throughout central South Carolina.

Their efforts broke many racial barriers. As the union’s business agent from 1939 to 1954, Artemus assured black participation in major construction projects, such as Fort Jackson, Shaw Air Force Base, the Savannah River Site, the DuPont Fibers complex, and numerous federal housing developments from New Jersey to Florida. From 1951 to 1959, he represented the state’s black Americans as vice-
president-at-large of the South Carolina Federation of Labor Executive Board. He became the first treasurer of the newly formed Progressive Democratic party, an organization formed to provide blacks with an opportunity to take part in state and national elections.

New voters flooded polling places in 1948. “J.C.” Artemus never relaxed in his quest to register and give political insight to new African-American voters. By 1950, he was a member of the Columbia Democratic Executive Committee. This great labor leader and political reformer also served as a poll manager at one of the city’s most influential precincts from 1952 until his death in 1964.

“Our history must have a beginning! “, have been my thoughts since I took up this cause…..To peel back 176 years of experiences, lessons, and commonalities, getting at the root ! What it was…..what it is….. that makes our collective “Grand ” !!! In the spirit of humble beginnings I present to you the original papers, displaying the dispensation granted from the first lodge, Philomathean Lodge #646 to open the first lodge in South Carolina: Fraternal Lodge #1064 out of Charleston…. My next move is running through the names and gaining further insight into who these illustrious brothers were……..To the brethren of #District13…..we are about to embark on a journey into the past, in efforts to secure our future………..

 

Can anyone else appreciate the fact that this lodge was officially announced October 11th in 1865 ?  Not more than a few months since the last shots were fired in the Civil War !!! This is heavy !

There are quite a few names here so bear with me yall. I will report my findings….

I leave as I came in the bond of Friendship Love and Truth

Bro.Page NG Wayman lodge 1339, Dist.13 Gr. Historian and National Gr. Historian for America and Jurisdiction

Special thanks to Bro. Feaster of St. James lodge #1455 hailing from Atlanta!  I owe you a serious debt as I would not have this to share without your astute research !      FL&T!

As the title states,  I am pleased to inform everyone of our latest news ! Firstly, congrats are in order for Bro. Supreme Page jr for being appointed by the Committee of Management to again Chair the Historic Committee.  Our District Grand Master Shawn Cannon has been appointed by the Grand Master to Chair the Grand Legislative Committee as well as Co-chair the Membership Committee.  They will be duly installed in Philadelphia next month !  

On top of S.C.’s District 13 touting two National positions, Bros Shawn Cannon, Bruce Benjamin, and Kevin Williams also recently acquired the degrees for the Past GrandMaster’s Council !!!! The brethren in South Hill, Va welcomed them to move up n delve further into the higher degrees of our Order this past weekend. 

The brethren of Wayman lodge 1339 are still moving strong with their philanthropy and charity with their 2nd annual Toys for Tattz program !  Stay tuned as more will be shared in the near future!  In FLT and PHP..

 

 

 

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

There are three types of people in this world :

1. Those who make things happen.

2.Those who watch what happens.

3. Those who wonder what happened.

It pleases me to announce that here in Columbia, SC.  The brethren of Wayman Lodge 1339 are growing.  It goes without saying that fraternal organizations are experiencing a decline worldwide.  There exists a social and generational gap between these organizations and the world in which we live. The world is in a state of disarray with accountability being the word of the day!   The lodge however is managing to capitalize and fulfill the needs of worthy brethren  through our bond of Friendship, Love, and Truth  !  We still manage to shine a light through societal darkness. This past month we initiated two individuals who are more than worthy….. May I introduce to the world Brothers Tim Reed and Terrance Hayes !

These two new additions to our Lodge are living proof that we’re on the right path. These two fellows are a testament to our plight as their presence in turn brings more light and life to the Order. No longer are we a thing of the past but a staple for the future ! Many good things are in order for this new young brand of Odd fellows,  sticking to traditional values while implementing innovative methods of fellowship and continuing this rich legacy……

Pictured above is the brethren from left to right (PNF) Emanuel Page, (OG) Andrew Williams, (W) Andre Williams, newly initiated Brothers Terrance and Tim, myself (NG) seated left, and (VG) Jarrett Jenkins, but minus (WC) Bro. Humphrey and our Double Odds from Texas…..

At our last gathering we were presented with an apron that was worn by our predecessors,  gifted to the lodge by our Past Noble Father, who continues to enlighten us….He still travels 6 hours one-way to attend meetings and assist us, never letting the lodge down!  

Some might not understand this brotherhood,  and we’re okay with that, because Oddfellowship isn’t for everyone, but our earnest goal is to help everyone that we can.   Being a part of history is a rewarding feeling of itself,  making history shall be the reward of those who come after us……

I leave as I came in the bond of friendship, love, and truth……

 

 

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