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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……

 

 

District 13’s #threewisemen were at it again, traveling to #Virginia this time to visit with the #PastGrandmastersCouncil ! The brothers went to learn and attain their wisdom as we move forward in our goal to become the Hub District for the #GrandUnitedOrderofOddFellows in #America and Jurisdiction and then the #World!

 

Through positive examples of #Friendship #Love and #Truth We shall meet and exceed all barriers and expectations. To whom much is given, much is expected so we are enduring our share of the work. It is almost our 175th #anniversary of existence in this country so it’s our duty to make sure we last another 175 years. It can be done by sticking to the script, yet enhancing the narrative! Special thanks to Bro. Bobby Stone and the brethren of #HayesChapelLodge #8123 for their gracious #hospitality and outright #discipline in teaching us how to carry the light of #Oddfellowship….

Our founders would be proud !
#oddfellows #oddfellow #guoof #guoofof #blackhistorymonth #americanhistory #flt #threelinks #District13 #DistrictGrandLodge #AreaII

The object and benefits of our Order were most beautifully explained by Grand Secretary Wm. M. Nelson, on the fifth day September, 1853, on the occasion of a grand banquet by Shakespeare Lodge, 252, at Manchester, England…..
The Address is a model of elegant diction, chaste English . and comprehensive thought. It was published in the Odd Fellows’ Magazine in November, 1853, and so great was the demand for the address, that three separate editions of the magazine contained it.

These are his words :

“Those who speak of our Order as merely a sick society, betray an utter ignorance of the nature of the institution they undertake to criticize ; nor need we be surprised at this, for where interest and prejudice combine to prompt the use of the false balance, there will never be wanting those who are willing to assume the character of corrupt judges. The object of this Order is to elevate the whole man, its provisions have reference to his intellectual, moral and physical capabilities, it influences every circumstance of life, and it is calculated to modify the relations of society, both socially, morally and politically. Its influence as a political safeguard cannot be overestimated.
“The only way in which a man can be taught the use of an implement, or a principal thoroughly, is by being himself practised in that use. Where can the necessity of subordination and government be learnt better than in the lodge room? The moment he enters its portals the lesson of obedience begins ; he must obey ‘ere he can command, and he speedily learns that: He also serves who only stands and waits. It is surely no vain boast to say that it is a noble sight to see a voluntary organization for common purposes like ours composed of men of all classes, parties and sects extending over this mighty empire, distributed in every town and village, and numbering from forty to fifty thousand individuals, working not only harmoniously but cordially together, as the Grad United Order has done for more than half a century. We ask in vain the political parties of this country to show us an organization so perfect, a society so en during. And let us bear in mind that when we are enumerating this army of economists we are numbering the healthy, the moral and the industrious of the land ; for these are qualities which are required in all who enter the Order, nor can those who do not possess these qualifications be admitted without flagrant breach of our laws.
“It has been the fashion to look too much at apparently large events in estimating the progress of a people. Historians are too apt to forget that the foundations of the social pyramid are laid broad and deep beneath the surface of society, and it is only in very recent times, that in our own country, the true sources of the nation’s prosperity, the real nature of the bulwarks of society, have become recognized.
“I am happy to say that secret orders are now classed among the most important institutions, formed by the industrious classes for their own support, elevation, and improvement. Yes, Mr. Chairman, when we speak of education, let it never be forgotten that the Odd Fellow’s Lodge is a real educational institution ; when we recommend forethought and providence, let it be remembered that the working man’s bank and his insurance society is his lodge, and that this educational institution was established long, very long before governments had found it worth while to provide means for the instruction of the people. This bank had conferred innumerable and inestimable blessings upon the families of our members long, very long before speculators established the first insurance society I have said that the lodge is an educational institution, when properly organized and conducted, we all know that it is so, in the noblest and most extended sense of that much abused term. No sooner does the approved candidate enter the doors of his future lodge, than his ears are greeted with precepts of the purest morality, and the most extended benevolence ; his duty to himself, his fellow man, his country, and his family are brought forcibly before him.
“When the honors of office are conferred upon him, at what step does he not receive new lessons of wistlom and of love. ‘Amicitia, Amor et Veritas,’ the glorious motto of the Order is illustrated and enforced on every occasion, and Friendship, Love and Truth gleams upon the Odd Fellow’s path everywhere. It is embroidered upon his banner ; it shines in golden characters from his Dispensation ; it greets him upon the walls of the lodge, and is found in emblem and, in fact, wherever the Order has its scat. “If the Odd Fellow is not sober, honest, industrious and be nevolent, a good husband, a kind father, and a loyal and virtuous citizen, it is because the admonitions he received, the examples to which he is directed, and the vows he has made, are neglected or forgotten.”
Our objects are simple, and easy to be understood, and may be thus briefly stated : ( 1 ) To administer to the wants of those afflicted by sickness; (2) To inter, respectably our dead; (3) To relieve those who are traveling in search of employment ; (4) To provide a competency for the widows and orphans of our deceased members after we have thus interred them; and, lastly, to improve the moral character of our members so as to make them good and respected citizens. With such objects as these, then we may, I think, with confidence come before the world, as we are doing, to give expression to our sentiments, and to invite those to whom our several institutions might be of service, to join us in so good a cause, and those whose affluence places them beyond the benefits of such a society to assist us in providing them for the enjoyment of others, who, but for such timely aid, might perhaps be hurried into the commission of offences against the law, or the alternative of a county work house…..

An example of fine oration from one of our brethren….

In the bond of Friendship Love and Truth the Brethren of the Mighty District 13 greet you all !!!! Provided below are more pictures for your viewing pleasure from this year’s Grand Officers Installation for the Grand United Order of Oddfellows in America and Jurisdiction. …

 

DGM Bro. Cannon speaks to the group after presenting Most Honorable Grand Master Green with a PNF Collar as a token of appreciation for his noble assistance.

Most Noble Sisters of the Grand Household of Ruth !

Brothers of SC’s own District 13 with the Committee of Management wearing the collars and aprons gifted to them…

Hon.GM Green delivered an inspiring oratory after the installation and presentations


We are blessed to come amongst a group of individuals dedicated to the preservation of the Order !  If District 13 continues on this path, there will be nothing that can stand in the way of our righteous endeavors.

Fraternal Greetings from District 13 !  

As the title states, today was a very productive day for the Grand United Order of Oddfellows in America and Jurisdiction…..especially if you belong to one of the lodges in the Palmetto State! Firstly, based on the love from our Grand Master as he took time out of his busy schedule to stop into our state for an impromptu meeting of the minds.  Secondly with all who were present this unusually warm morning we were able to gaze upon a piece of our history….our (former) District Grand Lodge! The presence of our brethren and sisters past could be felt throughout. We had the opportunity to fellowship amongst the brothers both old and new, which was truly a blessing. Last but definitely not least, the Charter for Wayman no.1339 was passed from the Grand Master’s hands to the brothers of the newly reinstated Lodge out of Columbia, SC ! One of the oldest dispensations granted in Oddfellows history for South Carolina.  We would like to thank the Grand Master for his tutelage although brief, but we look forward to his lessons as time progresses ! We would also like to thank the Committee of Management in aiding us in our Growth as a state and District.  The future looks bright for Oddfellowship as long as we continue on the path of righteousness, under the watchful eye of the Creator,with our hearts in our hands…..FLT !

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