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Odd Fellows Lodge

The Odd Fellows Lodge is a benevolent and fraternal organization whose stated goal is to visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead, educate the orphans, and protect the widows. The group was organized in the United States in 1805, and a lodge was formed in Baltimore in 1819. Some time afterward a lodge was organized in Portsmouth, Va., and in March 1841 one was begun in Weldon, N.C., with a second lodge formed in Wilmington soon after. A Grand Lodge was organized in North Carolina in 1843. During the Civil War the Odd Fellows in Wilmington provided service for the sick and wounded. A witness reported that members "walked amidst the terrors of those hours undaunted, and soothed many a dying pillow with sweet words of love."

From 1819 until 1981 headquarters for the national organization were located in Baltimore, but since that time Winston-Salem has had that distinction. In January 1991 the Grand Lodge of North Carolina established the archives of the state group in a historic building at Goldsboro. In the 2000s Odd Fellows support an arthritis foundation, a world eye bank and visual research foundation, a world hunger and disaster fund, an international youth exchange program, and a variety of local causes including Boy Scouts, Little League Baseball, both senior and youth programs, orphan homes, and the Red Cross.

Certificate of Independent Order of Odd Fellows showing membership dues paid by a W. E. McCoy in Elizabeth City, N.C., 1916. Image from the North Carolina Museum of History.

Additional Resources:

The Sovereign Grand Lodge Independent Order of Odd Fellows official website: http://ioof.org/

Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Seaton Gales Lodge, No. 64. By-laws and rules of order of Seaton Gales Lodge, No. 64, I.O.O.F.: to which is prefixed the constitution and general laws for the government of subordinate lodges in North Carolina. Raleigh, N.C.:Edwards and Broughton. 1886. http://digital.ncdcr.gov/u?/p249901coll37,18817 (accessed August 23, 2012).

Amis, Moses N. "Masonry and Odd Fellowship." Historical Raleigh from its foundation in 1792. Raleigh, N.C.: Edwards and Broughton. 1902. p.101. http://digital.ncdcr.gov/u?/p249901coll26,2904 (accessed August 23, 2012).

Ledyard, Erwin. "Social Life Of The Southern Negro." The Southern States. August 1894. p.299-301. http://digital.ncdcr.gov/u?/p249901coll37,12204  (accessed August 23, 2012).

"An Act to incorporate Manteo Lodge, No. 8, in the city of Raleigh, of the Independent Order-of Odd Fellows."
"An Act to incorporate Thaddeus Lodge, No. 5, of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in the town of Clinton, Sampson county."
"An Act to incorporate the Mecklenburg Declaration Lodge, No. 9, of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in the town of Charlotte."
"An Act to Incorporate "Eureka Lodge," No. 7, of the  Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in the town of Newbern."
Laws of the State of North Carolina, passed by the General Assembly at the Session of 1846-47. Raleigh, N.C.: Thomas J. LeMay, Printer. 1847. p. 302-304. http://digital.ncdcr.gov/u?/p249901coll22,165890 (accessed August 23, 2012).

Independent Order of Odd Fellows of North Carolina. Proceedings of the Sixty-Seventh Annual Session of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina Held In Asheville May 20, 21, 22, 1919.  Raleigh, N.C.: Commercial Printing Company. 1919. http://books.google.com/books?id=eDkwAQAAMAAJ&pg=PP7#v=onepage&q&f=false (accessed August 23, 2012).

Independent Order of Odd Fellows. North Carolina Grand Lodge. The North Carolina Odd Fellow. (monthly newspaper) Raleigh, N.C.: B.H. Woodell. circa 1909-1922.

Image Credits:

"Certificate, Accession #: H.1985.49.19." Elizabeth City, N.C. 1916. North Carolina Museum of History.

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Copyright notice

This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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