Lodges No. 3 & 4
John G. Potts Lodge, No. 3, was instituted at Saint Anthony’s Falls (now a part of Minneapolis), May 29, 1851, but it did not prosper, and died a natural death a few years afterwards.
During the winter of 1851-52 political excitement ran high, and naturally, penetrated every organization of men. Saint Paul, No. 2, was no exception, with the result that eight of its members withdrew and organized a new lodge, – the second in the town. Hennepin Lodge, No. 4, was instituted June 2, 1852. There does not appear to have been strong personal feelings between the members of No.’s 2 and 4, as they met in the same hall, and both were, prosperous organizations.
This made four lodges in the territory, and a petition was forwarded asking for a charter for a Grand Lodge. The prayer was granted, and May 5, 1853, the Grand Lodge of Minnesota was instituted. N. Greene Wilcox was elected Grand Master, and Benjamin W. Brunson, Grand Representative. The organization of this Grand body closed the official work of District Deputy Grand Sire Potts in the territory of Minnesota. He had been and indefatigable worker, traveling by stage, dog cart, or on foot, to further the interests of the order in the Northwest. He had instituted the first four lodges in Minnesota, the work was confided to the new Grand Lodge, and he bade his faithful friends and brothers a reluctant yet very affectionate farewell.
An Era of Growth
With the development of the new country, immigration coming in and new towns founded, lodges were added naturally, and there was quite a season of prosperity, at least it was so considered in those days (1859), although there were only nine lodges and 334 members. During the civil war the membership decreased each year until 1863, when it reached its lowest ebb, 276. From that time forward the membership has increased each year, never taking a backward step. There are now two hundred and thirty-two working lodges and a membership of nearly 15,000. Over fifty lodges own their homes, sixty-two buildings in the state are owned by the Order, and the total assets of the subordinate lodges are $684,521.27.
At the annual session of the Grand Lodge in June 1891, the Minnesota Odd Fellows’ Home and Orphan Asylum was organized and afterward incorporated. It was managed by a board of twelve directors, three of who are ladies. Over $8,000.00 has been received through the medium of voluntary contributions, and when a sufficient amount has been accumulated, grounds will be purchased and buildings erected. A home may not be an absolute necessity just now, but it is well to realize the importance of making provision for the future.
Three papers are devoted to the interests of the order, one of which is published by a sister, and is devoted exclusively to the Rebekah branch of Odd Fellowship.
A mutual insurance society, confining its business to this jurisdiction, and under the supervision of the Grand Lodge, dispenses about $100,000.00, annually, to the widows and orphans of deceased members.
There is a large number of active, earnest Odd Fellows within this state, and the jurisdiction has for years maintained a strong delegation in the Sovereign Grand Lodge, which has honored it by holding its annual session of 1884 at Minneapolis, where the members of the Sovereign body and visitors were entertained in a most magnificent manner.
The above article was taken from:
History of Odd Fellowship
The Three Link Fraternity
Published in 1897 Boston, Mass., U.S.A. by
THE FRATERNITY PUBLISHING COMPANY EDITOR-IN-CHIEF.
Henry Leonard Stillson, Past Grand Master, Past Grand Representative of Vermont, Bennington.
Contributions from Minnesota were made by:
A. L. Bolton, Grand Secretary, St. Paul.
S. E. Ferree, Grand Scribe, Minneapolis.
Mrs. Eunice Melville, Secretary, Rebekah Assembly, Minneapolis.