Winnebago County, Illinois
The Odd Fellows 57th Anniversary
THE THREE LINKS
FIFTY-SEVENTH WITH GREAT ENTHUSIASM IN ROCKFORD
Nearly 4,000 Present From Different Parts of the State
Eloquent and Stirring Orations by John H. Oberly
The utmost Satisfaction Expressed on all Sides at the Handsome Treatment of the Guests
The Odd Fellows fifty-seventh annual celebration of Odd Fellowship in America, which took place in Rockford, Wednesday, April the 26th, was a most complete success. The morning dawned drizzly, and tears were entertained that it would rain but before the last delegation arrive the sun commenced to shine, and everything passed off in the most satisfactory manner.
In addition to the preparations and decorations made the Odd Fellows, which were so extensive as to preclude the possibility of being enumerated in the short space at our command, we cannot refrain from noting the commendable and fraternal feeling of the of the East side merchants especially, and a large number o the West siders, which prompted them to decorate their stores so profusely for this occasion. By 2:30 prompt the procession was formed on South Main street and started at the Holland House, marched to the State street, thence East of State across three blocks to George street, thence East one block to First street, thence north one block to Oak street, thence east two blocks to Third street, thence north to State, from then across the bridge and up to Church street, thence north to North street, thence west to Horsman to the upper gates of the fair grounds. The Holly Water Works were throwing water on the East side at the foot of the Kishwaukee Street and on the West Side court house square.
PREPARATIONS FOR THE CROWD
The preparations or the crowd were the most complete in every respect, and must have been highly satisfactory to all visitors The ladies have done their work in the most excellent manner. The Floral Hall, where the concert will be held this evening, never was so elaborately adorned before. Festoons of evergreens , mottoes, pyramids, boquets, canopies, flags, etc., hand gracefully up on the large beams that form the roof, or upon the walls in thoughtfully planned devices. Among the numerous mottoes that completely cover the spacious walls, and which are beautiful wrought in letters of gold, are the following: "Our Fellowship Teaches that the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man;" "The Strength of Union;" "Do to others as you would that others should do to you." In the center of the north side is a bust of Wildey, the founder of Odd-Fellowship in America, surmounted by the suggestive motto, "They Spirit is Still with Us." "Steadfast Friendship;" "United we Stand"; "Faith, Hope, and Charity;" "Friendship, Love, and Truth;" "Educate the Orphan;" "Bury the Dead;" "Visit the Sick;" "Relieve the Distressed."
The following was the order of the procession. It must, however, be remembered that nearly every lodge invited, making in all, 136, had two or more representatives. The following merely gives the lodges that were represented in sufficient numbers to make a distinct element in procession:
Gen. J.C. Smith, Marshall
The Great Western Light Guard Band
Winnebago Lodge No. 31
Freeport Lodge, No. 239
Social Lodge 140
Davis Lodge 376
Mt. Morris Band
Mt. Morris Lodge Elysian 56
Rochelle Lodge Hickory Grove 230
Sterling Lodge 174
Pecatonica Lodge 173
Ambury Lodge 179
Durand Shabbona 146
Dixon Lodge 39
Elgin Kane Lodge 47
Rockton, Rock River Lodge 59
Beloit Mystic Lodge 10
Rockford Encampment 44
Freeport S.A. Douglas 100(?)
Warren, North Star Encampment 83
Belvidere Big Thunder, Lodge 28
Darlington, Wisconsin Lodge 171
AT THE FAIR GROUNDS
By 4 o'clock the procession which numbered twelve hundred Odd Fellows by actual count, reached the Fair Grounds where after music by the Forest City Band, Prayer by the Grand Chaplain, and the usual Anniversary Exercise, Hon. John H. Oberly, M.W.G.M., Cairo, Illinois, was introduced and amid frequent applause delivered one of the finest orations ever given in the city. The substance of Mr. Oberly's remarks in as follows:
Grand Master Oberly spoke of the occasion of the celebration and referring to its significance said he would endeavor to tell his bearers what Odd Fellowship was in its precepts and practices, and endeavor to prove it a liberal contribution to the well-being of mankind. He then spoke of the legend of the Order of Odd Fellowship, Friendship, Love and Truth, and said that these words as defined by it was comprised in all the principles of the Order. He then defined the Friendship of Odd Fellowship to be something more than the friendship defined in the Lexicons, claiming that it was an affection for mankind proceeding from the desire to do good and from a favorable opinion of the divine qualities of the human soul; that it was based upon the golden rule and comprehended the idea of the unity of men for the benefit of mankind--aggregated effort for the good of the human race. In no other way, said he can the world be united in fraternity, for aggregated effort in morals in as necessary in the accomplishment of great results as is aggregated efforts in physics. This idea he illustrated by the aggregated human effort that resulted in the building of the pyramids, and the clearing out of the American continent. Contrasting in the part of his speech the America of a century ago, with the America of to-day. As in physics so in morals; every
GREAT RESULT IN MORALS
Has flown from the efforts of men and women uniting in one purpose, and aggregating effort. In this way moral pyramids have been built; in this way moral continents have been cleared out. The founders of Odd Fellowship had not failed to profit by considerations like these; and consequently had made the friendship of the Order embrace the idea of aggregated effort for the benefit of the human race. This unity the speaker said was the friendship into which Odd Fellowship desired to lead all mankind.
LOVE AND ODD FELLOWSHIP
He then passed to a consideration of a love of Odd Fellowship. And after saying that Love had walked with man ever since the beginning, had been at every cradle, and at every grave; it had turned the shepherd's reed, sharpened the warrior's sword and controlled the destines of nations. He declared that this was not the love of Odd Fellowship, for it knew nothing of
THE BLIND BOY GOD
Of the bow and arrows; it was, he said, a healthy and stalwart sentiment, a good Samaritan, going up and down the world with oil and wine, seeking to help those who, in going down from Jerusalem to Jerico have fallen into misfortune and been stripped of their raiment and wounded. That it gave bread to the hungry, always ran to relieve distress; using words to lead, not blows to drive and to weakness giving its strength.
THE TRUTH ODD FELLOWSHIP TEACHES
The truth taught by Odd Fellowship he said embraces what had been called industrial, political, and philosophical veracity; inculcating at once the necessity of accuracy of statement and fidelity to engagements; impartiality and freedom from party, spirit, passion and prejudice. These comprehensively stated were the precepts of the Order and in their details included all that was best in Religion, Morals, and Politics; but had about them not even the flavor of Schoolism, Sectarianism, or partisanism. The Speaker then undertook to show that Odd Fellowship practices what it preaches and in this connection gave some statistics of the Order, showing that since its establishment it had expended nearly $25,000,000 in relief. The last official statistics for 1874 shows that 179,269 sick person received benefits; they had relieved 5970 widowed families, buried 3078 deceased Brothers; paid for the relief of brothers $933.951.45; for the relief of widows $160.885.99; for the education of orphans, $16,786.19; burial of the dead, $223,545.61; for special relief $36,145.57; by the encampment relief, $158,549.36; making a total of $1,529,864.13 expended in relieving distress of burying the dead, and taking care of the orphans. This in addition to the large sums contributed by individual members, of which no record is made. These facts, the honorable gentlemen said, only told part of the good work the Order had done, and in proof cited aid sent by Odd Fellows to the sufferers from the Chicago fire, and drew a picture of the yellow fever pestilence in Memphis praising the heroism of Odd Fellowship in that time of dismay and desolation, and state that many of them sacrificed their lives.
OBJECTIONS TO ODD FELLOWSHIP
The speaker then answered some objections to Odd Fellowship. To the objection that it was a secret society he opposed the assertion by proving that it is no more a secret society than the family; and to the objection that it was a useless institution, undertaking to do that the church had a right to do, he said that those who urged this objection had forgotten that when John said to the master, "We saw one casting out devils in thy name and he followeth not us, " the master replied, "Forbid him not, for he who not against us is on our part.: It is true, said the speaker, our order is not so acquiescent in their discipline, but because of this shall we not be permitted to do any good work. The modern Johns who day so, should learn of master. Elaborating this idea, he said that since all the world could not worship at the altar of the same religion, and it is desirable that a common platform, upon which men of different sect, party or nationality may stand and work for the common good of all.
IT BRINGS MEN TOGETHER
An order like Odd Fellowship is necessary to the well being society; it brings men together and unites them in good works; teaches them to know each other as friends, to listen to the still sad music of humanity, and feel that their labor is the world's men who might otherwise dwell apart, "rapt in solitude," individuality and selfishness. This proposition was enforced by a statement that the civilizing effects of commerce upon nations was to them what the fraternity are to the individual. To bring men together and teach them of fellowship and friendship is the great object of a society like the Odd Fellows, and, indeed, of all such societies. The speaker had no doubt, though, that Odd Fellowship was the best adapted to the accomplishment of this object. The lessons it teaches are as broad as the world, and appeal to all hearts in all lands in universal language and emotions: it is the great Democrat of the fraternities. Like the religion of te Nazarene, its origin is among the lowly, retaining nothing of the wealth of power, and everywhere and at all times inculcated the doctrine of human equality. It thus presents a
A PLATFORM UPON WHICH ALL CAN UNITE
In offices of human benefaction, and looked forward with confident hope o the dawning of time, sung by Whittier at the Lexington centennial celebration, not long since "The bridal-time of Law and Love The gladness of the world's release When war-sick at the feet of Peace The hawk shall nestle wit the dove." "The golden age of brotherhood, Unknown to other rivalries Han of the soft humanities And gracious interchange of good."
But, said the speaker the Millennium, he was told, is afar off. That the world is full of iniquity, and that society is lamentably deficient in very many of the elements of perfect happiness. This was admitted, but there was much beauty in the world that all could not see, and which the wand of fraternity could make visible; this was the wand used by Odd-Fellowship, and it would et display to the world the magnificent prospect of human goodness, now hidden in the heart of man. A picture was then drawn of a sun-rise, th dawn coming first, standing tiptoe on the mysty mountain-top, followed by the rising sun, binging the impalpable glory of light driving the shadows of night away, and transforming darkness into fruitful hills and glorious valleys. This he said, would be the principle of Odd Fellowship, and of kindred society, dispel the darkness seen by so many I the world, and display to the eyes of men, moral landscapes, beautiful and grand, decorated by all the fragrant blossoms and flowers of human goodness and peaceful in the calm sunshine of perfect happiness. He then closed with a reference to the origin of the society at Baltimore, in 1819, and eulogized its founder Thomas Wildey. To the name of Thomas Wildey, the world therefore, properly pays the high tribute of grateful remembrance, his is one of the names that have been written in the angels book of gold, among the names of those who loved his fellow men.
After the speech
Mr. Oberly retired amid enthusiastic cheers of the vast assemblage who had listened intently to every word of the orator. At 6:30 the banquet was commenced: after which the following toasts were given and responded to. At this juncture the GAZETTE reporters were compelled to leave the grounds. The concert at Floral Hall and the ball at the Brown's Hall will form the most attractive amusements for the evening.
I. Odd Fellowship--Its moral and social characteristics." Responded to by Rev. Brother Welcher, of Belvidere, Ill.
II. The Founders of Odd Fellowship--"Though dead their works still live." Responded to by M.C. Eames, of Chicago.
III. "Our Motto, F.L.T.--The triple chain that binds us to God, our country and our fellow man." Response by II.B. Utley, of Dixon
IV. Odd Fellowship--"Its Past, Present, and Future." Response by W.F. Sweeny, Rock Island Ill.
V. The Emblems of our Order--"Here's our Heart and here's our hand." Response Stephen F. Brown, of Chicago.
VI. April 26th 1876 in Rockford--"The Day and its Doings." Response by F.B. Hills, of Madison Wis.
VII. The Daughters of Rebecca--"With willing minds, warm hearts and dexterous hands, ever ready to rejoice with us in prosperity, succor us in adversity and decorate for our rejoicing on occasions like this. Response, General J.C. Smith, of Chicago.
VIII. The Cosmopolitan character of our Order--"Here men of every nation, tongue, and creed, meet as brethren of one family. Response by Brother F. Bross(?) of Cairo Ill.
IX. Our Sisters Jurisdictions actuated by a noble impulse they too are bearing aloft the Banner of Odd Fellowship and bringing sheaves for the general rejoicing." Response by Brother J.H. Vivian, S.R. Mineral Point, Wis.
X. The Grand Encampment and the subordinate encampment--"The relationship to Odd Fellowship generally." Response by J. Krohn, Freeport Ill.
XI. The Grand Lodge of Illinois holding in its keeping the interests of 25,000 Odd Fellows--"Wise in its legislation and fortunate in the selection of its officers. Response by Brother J.H. Oberly, M.W.G.M., Cairo Ill
XII. "The Grand Lodge of the United States, its past and present. Response by Judge J.G. Rogers, Chicago Ill.
Gen. J.C. Smith, P.G.M.G.S., of Chicago. Grand Scribe Hills of the Grand Encampment of Wisconsin. O.. Parks, G.R. of Beloit, Wis. F.B. Neills, G.R. of Nashville. Rev. Wm. Edwards, M.W.G.C. Grand Lodge of the State of Illinois. Hon. Jacob Krohn. M.W.G.P. T.M. Blake of Warren, Ill., R.W.D.G.W. D.G. Shorey, P.G.R.G.L.W.S., Chicago. N.C. Mason, R.W.G. of the Grand Lodge of Peoria. W.L. Sweeny, R.W.G.W. of Rockford Island. M.C. Eames, Tribune, Chicago. Fogg, Chicago. A.G. Lowe, Chicago. W.H. Crocken, Chicago. C.B. Heftin, Chicago. W.H. Davis, Chicago. G.R. Vivian, Mineral Point, P.D.G.M. W.A. Welsher, Beloit, Wis. [--Rockford Gazette, Thursday, April 27, 1876]
Celebration of the I.O. of O.F.
A Complete Success
Although ardent prayers had ascended from devout Odd Fellows' hearts that Wednesday might be a fair day, its morning broke gloomily, and leaden clouds hung bodingly over the city. But the wind was southerly, and with habitual fickleness, April smile out of the clouds, and a not unpleasant day was enjoyed, after all.
East State street, probable in response to the suggestion of the JOURNAL, was profusely decorated with evergreens and flags, scarcely a business place being neglected Red, white and blue draped several of the stores, rows of evergreens, in tubs, covered with flags, stood upon the sidewalks, and flags were placed in every conspicuous and available place. A large flag was suspended over the street opposite Hitchcock's block, surrounded a frame of evergreens. On each end of the city bridge, spanning its width, was placed the motto: "Welcome--I.O. of O.F.,--1819--three links--1876"
The West side, from some cause, failed to decorate extensively. The ladies at the Temperance Rooms draped their balcony with a beautiful flag. Henry Stern hung the front of his store with red, white, and blue, and others decorated moderately, but no considerable effort was made at decoration.
At about 11 o'clock the trains began to arrive on the different roads leading into the city, and until 2 o'clock p.m., the streets were alive with incoming delegations, who marched in order to their respective renezvous at the hotels, preceded by bands playing stirring marches. The scene was one not often reproduced since the days of the "boys in blue".
At 2 1/2 p.m. the procession began forming on South Main street. Dense crowds swarmed along the walks on Main and State streets and the police were taxed to the utmost to keep those thoroughfares at all passable, and to prevent accidents. At about 3 o'clock the procession began to move east, winding around from Main on to State street. It was about three-fourths of a mile long, and was composed of the following Encampments, Lodges, and Bands, in order:
Gen A.C. Smith, Marshal
J.S. Ticknor, Frank Noble, Geo. R. Atkinson, Assistant Marshals
Great Western Light Guard Band
Chicago Battallion of Patriarchs
Winnebago Lodge, No. 31
Social Lodge, No. 140
Freeport Lodge, No. 239
David Lodge, No. 376Mt. Morris Band
Mt. Morris Lodge, Elysian, No. 56
Rochelle Lodge, Hickory Grove, No. 230
Sterling Lodge, No. 174
Sterling Ambury Lodge, No. 179
Durand Shabbona Lodge, No. 146
Dixon Lodge, No. 139
Elgin Kane Lodge, No. 47
Rockton Rock River Lodge, No. 59
Beloit Mystic Lodge, No. 10
Chicago Silver Link Lodge, No. 54
Chicago Rochembeau Lodge, No. 532
Chicago Lodge, No. 55
Chicago First Swedish Lodge, No. 479
Belvidere Big Thunder Lodge, No. 28
Darlington, Wis. Lodge, No. 171
Forest City Band
S.A. Douglas Encampment, Freeport
Centennial Encampment, Lena
North Star Encampment, Lena
The procession moved east across the bridge to Main street, east side, south to George, east to First, north to Oak, east to Third, north to State, west again on State, and across the river to Church, north to North street, and from Court street to the Fair Grounds
At different points along the line of march on both sides of the river, the Holly hydrants were turned on, and streams of water thrown into the air while the column was passing. The processing was the most imposing ever seen in this city, and was the subject of much favorable comment. Arriving AT THE FAIR GROUNDS the exercises were carried out according to programme. Music by the Light Guard Band, prayer by the Grand Chaplain, Anniversary exercises, music by the Forest City Band, and the oration by the Grand Master, Hon. J.H. Oberly. The hymns were led by Mr. A.L. (Casey?) and Dr. McAf(ee?)
By the Hon. John H. Oberly, was a fine effort. Mr. Oberly is a gentleman of rare culture and refined appearance, and speaks in a clear, manly and pleasant tone of voice, and is measured and oratorical in utterance. We have not space to reproduce his excellent address, and will simply say that is educated the philosophy of Odd Fellowship, and glanced at what it has accomplish, and predicted its future. He said that love, friendship and truth were the tripple links of the doctrine of Odd Fellowship, and that it teaches that there is a friendship higher than that which is ordinary and personal, which is largely selfish, a friendship that inspires the desire to do good to mankind. This broad and beneficent principle can become efficient only by aggregated effort. Odd Fellowship provides the means of such aggregation. The speaker alluded to the pyramids of Egypt and the settlement of the American Continent, and the wonderful progress of American society, as an evidence of the power of aggregation. As in physics, so in morals, unity of forces are necessary to grand results. Odd Fellowship embodies this idea. It leads all to a "unity as broad as the world and as sympathetic as the skies." The speaker expiated on the trinity of virtues--Truth, Friendship, and Love--and in beautiful and graphic language, explained their relation to the system of Odd Fellowship. He alluded to the secret feature of the order, and characterized it as of the nature of family privacy, and said it had the same object, and that only--namely preservation and sanctity. The actual benevolent work of the order was adverted to, special mention being made of Chicago after the fire, and Memphis during the yellow fever scourge. Mr. Oberly closed with a peroration glowing with vivid language and imagery, interspersed with eloquent extracts and elegant and apt allusions, and was loudly cheered as he sat down. The oration was delivered without manuscript, and was really an extraordinary production.
After the address, busses were in lively request for down town, and an hour of intermission was had. Many remained on the ground awaiting the opening of the doors of the banqueting hall. At about 7 o'clock the holders of tickets were invited to take seats. Five long tables were laid through Agricultural Hall, which had been prepared for the purpose, and four hundred plates were spread upon them. The table groaned with appetizing dishes, prepared by the well-known restaurateur, Mr. E. Woodward. Not as many guest availed themselves of this magnificent spread of creature comforts as was expected, but the number was quite respectable. Many preferred to dine down town, a large number being guest of friends. After the banquet had been fully discussed, John Lake, Esq., announced that toasts and responses were in order. Dr. E.C. Dunn, toast master, read the first toast. We are indebted to the Register for the following report of the toasts and responses:
Odd Fellowship--Its moral and social characteristics.
Rev. Mr. Wiltshire, of Belvidere, in response, said Odd Fellowship is opposed to selfishness, and aims toward that establishment of a universal brotherhood.
The second toast--The Founders of Odd Fellowship--Though dead, their work still lives,--was responded to by M.C. Eames, of Chicago, who referred to Thomas Wildey, the founder of Odd Fellowship in the country, and said that, like Webster, he still lives.
The third toast was this:--Our Motto, F.L.T.--The triple chain that binds us to God, our country, and our fellow-man--Gen. Smith D. Atkins, of Freeport, responded. He said the distinguishing features of Odd Fellowship are friendship, charity, and good will. He is the noblest Odd Fellow who, in or out of the order, best serves and most loves his fellowmen.
The fourth toast, --OddFellowship--It past, present, and future,--was given to W.S. Sweeney, of Rock Island, who was too full (of Woodward's excellent edibles) to respond.
Then the fifth toast,--The Emblems of our Order--Here's my heart and here's my hand,--was happily responded to by S.F. Brown, of Chicago.
Toast six,--April 26, 1876, in Rockford--The day and its doings,-met with an interesting response from Mr. L.B. Hills, of Madison, S.G. of Wisconsin. He paid a fine tribute to Rockford, and to the enterprise of its people.
Then the seventh toast,--The Cosmopolitan character of our Order--Here men of every nation, tongue, and creed, meet as brethren of one family, --was suitably responded to by F.P. Manson, of Peoria.
The ninth sentiment was offered:--The Grand Encampment and the subordinate encampments--"The relationship to Odd Fellowship generally." This was responded to by ex-Mayor Jacob Krohn, G.C.P., of Freeport, who spoke at length of the growth and accomplishments of Odd Fellowship.
Then came the tenth and last toast:--The Grand Lodge of Illinois holds in its keeping the interest of 25,000 Odd Fellows--Wise in its legislation, and fortunate in the selection of its officers. To which Hon. J.H. Oberly, M.W.G.M., replied in a vein happier, if possible, than characterized his oration in the afternoon. He admitted that the Grand Lodge had been wise in the selection of its officers, himself excepted, whereupon a reporter remarked, sotto voce, "John you are painfully modest."
President Lake then thanked the guests for their attendance; and especially the speaker for the interest they had added to the occasion, and the company flocked to
Perhaps the crowning feature of the celebration, in point of enjoyment, was the Promenade Concert at Floral Hall. The doors were opened at about half past seven, and on entering the visitor was greeted by beholding a vast pavilion, on whose walls were blazoned a variety of fraternal and benevolent mottoes, in bold relief, bordered with evergreen; flags, altars, emblematic devices, bust, pictures, ornamentation in flowers, bubbling fountains, tinkling water, borders of bloom, fragrance of flowers, a moving panorama of human forms and faces, all glorified by numbers of brilliant lights. If what the beholder saw, when he entered the hall was not quite equal to our representation of it, it required but little imagination to make it so
THE LIGHT GUARD BAND
Occupied a position on a rostrum at the north side of the hall, and were dressed in rich and resplendent costume, attracting a large amount of attention from the visitors. This band numbers 32 members, who have had the highest order of training, and constitute as artistic a band as there is on the continent. They won golden opinions from their delighted auditors on Wednesday night. As every piece was rendered with such artistic skill, it is difficult to specialize; but it seemed to us that the overture--"William Tell," and "Trovatore," "Tip-Top Folks," and "Offenbachiana," were especially noteworthy. The reading by Albert J. Knight was excellent, but would have been better if perfect silence could have been secured.
Toward the close of the programme, the east end of the hall was clears and dancing was engaged in by those wished that Terpsichorean exercise. The concert was a brilliant affair, skillfully devised, and happy in its results, as it not only furnished a vast amount of enjoyment, but balanced up the expense accounts of the management. Credit is due to Messrs. Lake and Atkinson for introducing the Light Guard Band To the Rockford public, and it is said that we shall see these musical worthies again in September.
THE DANCE AT BROWN'S HALL was largely attended, and highly enjoyed. The dancing was spirited under the magic inspiration of Dedrickson's band, and was prolonged till an early morning hour.
The members of the order, of German birth, gathered at Metropolitan Hall, and to the music of the Freeport String Band, enjoyed themselves in the mazy dance through the greater part of the night.
The 57th Anniversary of Odd Fellowship in the United States, as celebrated in Rockford, on Wednesday was a brilliant success in all its features, a result due, do doubt, to the able management of the committee, who had it in charge. About 1500 Odd Fellows were in the city from other towns. They arrived on six different trains, eight cars coming from Freeport and beyond, and eight from Chicago. To the credit of the order be it said that never did Rockford harbor a better behaved number of men. There were but few instances of intoxication, and no disorderly or riotous cases reported by the police. All moved forward harmoniously, and resulted satisfactorily. The strangers present expressed especial satisfaction at their treatment. The management inform us that financially they are just about even in expenditures and receipts--a satisfactory finale to such a magnificent occasion.
It is a noteworthy feature of this grand fete, that though there were fully 2000 strangers in the city, all of whom had to be accommodated, ample hospitalities were extended to our visitors, easily and without confusion or discomfort to them. The managers of our hotels and restaurants cannot be praised too highly for the ability they displayed in accommodating such an unwonted influx of strangers. [Rockford Journal, April 29, 1876]
Kent Lodge No. 689 Organized 1881
A NEW ODD FELLOWS LODGE ORGANIZED ON THE SOUTH SIDE LAST NIGHT
Last evening in Dr. Gearn’s hall South Main Street, a new lodge of Odd Fellows was organized that will be known as Kent Lodge No. 689. The lodge was instituted by Most Worthy Grand Master J.S. Ticknor, assisted by Brother John Lake of this city, and W.H. Crocker of Chicago, R.W.G. representatives; W.R. Weld past deputy grand master and a number of other prominent Odd Fellows from lodge number 28 of Belvidere and numbers 81 and 140 of Rockford. The following brethren were installed as charter members: W.D. Staplin, Dr. G.C. Gearn, A.B. Shores, Joseph Needles, W.F. Rawaldt, William R. Forbes, Dr. S. A. Austin, C.E. Hammond, J.W. Warfield, J.T. Savage, J.H. Casson. The officers chosen were as follows: W.D. Staplin, N.G; John A. Freeh, V.G.; Dr. G.C. Gearn, treasurer and J.W. Warfield secretary.
After the officers had been installed, petitions were produced and read from forty-one citizens of the South Side, applying for membership in the new lodge. Upwards of thirty were received into the lodge, and the goat was wearied with his exertions before the last one had gone through the mystic ride. Among those who took the vows last night, we learn, were ex-Alderman Graham, ex-Supervisor Scougall, Clarke Hudler, J.M. Orput, W.L Calkins, R.E. Dales, Adam Brenner, O.A. Harbison, R.C. Norton, W.D. Covill, J.W. Wilmot, A.S. Johnson, Thomas Monks, D.H. Denton, W.E. Doyle, W.H. Brenner, C.S. Sandord, Claude Gould, W.J. Tanner, A. Patterson, Wm. Holmes, Thomas Tole, Alex Sutton, J. Rockwell, Charles Woodruff, W. Burke.
The following well-known Odd Fellows performed active duties in the installation: Joseph Burns, Samuel Norton, R.E. Shimmins, D.P. Gray, Henry Cox, Dr. H.W. Tebbett, Robert Rew, Dr. L.L. Bunt, A.S. Atchley.
A palatable collation was provided by the ladies of the members of the brotherhood who although debarred from joining in the rites of the occasion magnanimously cared for the comfort of the inner man. The ceremonies and exercises occupied the lodge and representatives until after two o’clock this morning.
The new lodge starts out with a bright outlook. It commences its existence with the largest membership that has ever joined any Odd Fellows lodge on opening night. The hall over Dr. Gearn’s store has been handsomely and artistically fitted up with frescoing, tapestry, and decorations, the furniture is new and elegant. The other Rockford Lodges are very kindly disposed an both gave a cash contribution to assist in its organization. Besides the thirty who were taken in last night, the petitions of 18 others remain to be acted on. [Daily Register, March 02, 1881]
A NEW ODD FELLOWS LODGE ORGANIZED IN SOUTH ROCKFORD
Nearly six months ago, the matter of having a lodge of Odd Fellows establish in South Rockford was first talked of, but nothing was done to further the end until about a month ago. At this time, Mr. John Free(h), who is one of the oldest Odd Fellows here, and who resides in that part of the city, circulated a petition, and succeeded in obtaining the signatures of sixteen, who were members of the order, and who were anxious to have the lodge established. When the matter was presented to the proper persons, ten out of the sixteen withdrew their names. This, of course, caused considerable delay, as new names had to be procured before the petition could be forwarded to the Grand Secretary, for no new lodge can be established unless ten persons, in good and regular standing, ask for the same. On the 19th of last month the petition was forwarded to the Grand Secretary, and duly recorded, and last night, was instituted Kent Lodge, No. 689, in Dr. G.C. Geran's hall. Most W.G.M. Jas .S. Ticknor, assisted by G. Rep. Jon Lake, of East Rockford, and Crocker, of Chicago, conducted the ceremonies. A number of members were present from Big Thunder Lodge, No. 28, of Belvidere, Social Lodge, East Rockford, Winnebago Lodge, West Rockford. M.G.M. Ticknor, assisted by the grand officers, proceeded to institute the lodge. This being done, they proceeded to elect the officers out of the twelve charter members. N.G.W.D. Staplin, V.G. John Freeh, Secretary, J.W. Warfield, Treasurer, Dr. G.O. Gearn, were elected, whereupon they were installed in their respective offices. Afterward thirty-five men were elected were elected to membership, and more to follow. They were a fine lot of men, some of the honored men of the city, aldermen, supervisors, doctors, merchants, mechanics and farmers. At this point, the experienced men filling the offices, N.G.P.G.A.S. Atchely spoke, and no man can listen to his instruction without feeling that he has learned something that will last him as long as he lives. P.G. Shimmin, of Social Lodge, acting as V.G., spike in his happy, correct and impressive manner. Our Brother Rew, who is teaching the young ideas how to shoot, with his silver tongue and clear voice, acted as conductor. P.G. Jos. Burns, who has had over thirty years' experience, beat himself as W. Brothers Brown and Bunt, just the men fitted with voice, etc., for the offices of Right and Left Scene Supporters. G.R. Lake, assisted by such help as he wish, acted as Outside Conductor. W.H. Crocker, acted as Master of Ceremonies, and he has no equal in this, M.W.G.M. James S. Ticknor acted as P.G., and delivered that charge the best we ever hear, and we have heard it very often in over thirty-three.
At twelve o'clock, a recess was taken, in order to partake of a lunch that had been prepared, at great expense, in Whiffin & Calkin's hall. Over one hundred men did justice to the good things. After lunch, the lodge was called to order, and the balance of the instructions given. If any Odd Fellow has known of a bigger boom than this in the history of the Odd Fellowhip anywhere, let him be heard from.
Among the persons present we noticed: Ex-Ald. Graham, Ex-Supervisor Scougall, Clark Hudler, J.M. Orput, W.L. Calkins, R.E. Dales, Adam Brenner, O.A. Harbinson, R.C. Norton, W.D. Covill, J.W. Wilmot, A.S. Johnson, Thomas Works, Delos H. Denton, W.E. Doyle, W.H. Brenner, C.S. Sanford, Claude Gould, W.J. Tanner, A. Patterson, William Holmes, Thomas Tole, Alexander Sutton, J. Rockwell, Charles Woodruff and W. Burke.
Besides the above, the following old members of the Order were present: Joseph Burns, Samuel Norton, R.E. Shimmin, D. P. Gray, Henry Cox, Dr. W.H. Tebbetts, Robert Rew, Dr. L.L. Bunt, A.S. Atchley, and others. The newly organized lodge starts off under the most favorable auspices, and ere long its numbers will be greatly augmented by others. [Rockford Weekly Gazette, March 09, 1881]
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