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Odd Fellows
History
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The History

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) is a global altruistic and benevolent fraternal organization derived from the British Oddfellows service organizations of the 18th century.[1] There are a number of explanations of the origin of the name – for example:

In 18th century England, it was odd to find people organized for the purpose of giving aid to those in need and of pursuing projects for the benefit of all mankind. Those who belonged to such an organization were called "Odd Fellows".[1]

The Order is also known as "The Three Link Fraternity", referring to the Order's "Triple Links" logo – three links contain the letters F, L and T, (Friendship, Love and Truth).[1]

The word "Independent" in the organization's name was given by the English parent organization as part of the chartered title of the new North American chapter:

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows was founded on the North American Continent in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 26, 1819 when Thomas Wildey and four members of the Order from England instituted Washington Lodge No. 1. This lodge received its charter from Manchester Unity of Odd Fellows in England.[1]

Odd Fellowship became the first fraternity in the US to include both men and women when it adopted the "Beautiful Rebekah Degree" on September 20, 1851. This degree is based on teachings found in the Christian Bible, and was written by the Honorable Schuyler Colfax who was Vice President of the United States during the period 1868–73. Odd Fellows and Rebekahs were also the first US fraternal organizations to establish homes for senior members and for orphaned children.[1]



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