Historical Minnesota Grand Lodge

The History of the Minnesota Jurisdiction

The Beginninng

The territory of Minnesota was created by congressional enactment March 3, 1849, and at that time embraced nearly twice the limits it now has as a state. It became a member of the Union May 11, 1858, but long before that time Odd Fellowship had been planted within its borders.

The First Minnesota LodgeThe first lodge instituted in this state was located at Stillwater, which was then a lumbering town of considerable importance, on the Saint Croix river, – the dividing line between the territory of Wisconsin and Minnesota, and twenty miles from Saint Paul.

The petition for this lodge was dated January 25, 1849, and signed by Henry L. Moss, formerly of Platteville, Wisconsin; Sylvanus Trask, of Girard, Pennsylvania; William H. Oliver, of Boston, Massachusetts; Albert Harris, of Savannah, Georgia; D. B. Loomis, of Alton, Illinois; Robert Philbrook, of Oldtown, Maine; and was duly forwarded to Grand Secretary Ridgely. The charter was granted, and Minnesota Lodge, No. 1, was instituted by John G. Potts, District Deputy Grand Sire of the Northwest, August 15, 1849. At the next regular meeting Mahlon Black and Socrates Nelson were initiated, – the first candidates to be made Odd Fellows in Minnesota. No. 1 surrendered its charter February 25, 1864, owing to the hard times following the war, but was reorganized December 31, 1883.

St. Paul Lodge No. 2

St. Paul Lodge No. 2 was instituted in the town of that name, May 3, 1850, with six charter members, among them being Benjamin W. Brunson. He was initiated into the Order in 1844. This lodge prospered from its very inception, although the working brothers often had to “skirmish” for a quorum. At one time in its history, nearly every eligible man in the town was a member. In January, 1853, a series of stock certificates were issued, with which the members purchased a lot for $600.00, which is now in the heart of the city and worth $100,000.00. The lodge has other property to the value of over $16,000.00. In 1895 it had about 366 members. It is the “mother” of lodges in Saint Paul, there being now eighteen in the city, all of them directly or indirectly its offspring. A three-story brick building covers the valuable ground owned by this lodge, and in this building four subordinates, five Rebekah lodges, one encampment, and one canton hold their meetings. The revenue is about $8,000.00 per year, of which amount the lodge gives generously to every worthy distressed lodge, or individual member.

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.

The Petition
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.

Future Bound
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 ODD FELLOWS VALEDICTION

I AM AN ODD FELLOW

I believe in the Fatherhood of God, and the Brotherhood of man.
I believe in Friendship, Love, and Truth as the basic guides to the ultimate destiny of all mankind.
I believe my home, my church or temple, my lodge, and my community deserve my best work, my modest pride, my earnest faith, and my deepest loyalty, as I perform my duty “to visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead, and educate the orphan” and as I work with others to build a better world, because, in spirit and in truth, I am and must always be, grateful to my Creator, faithful to my country, and fraternal to my fellow-man.

I AM AN ODD FELLOW

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.

The History of the Minnesota Jurisdiction

The Beginninng

The territory of Minnesota was created by congressional enactment March 3, 1849, and at that time embraced nearly twice the limits it now has as a state. It became a member of the Union May 11, 1858, but long before that time Odd Fellowship had been planted within its borders.

The First Minnesota LodgeThe first lodge instituted in this state was located at Stillwater, which was then a lumbering town of considerable importance, on the Saint Croix river, – the dividing line between the territory of Wisconsin and Minnesota, and twenty miles from Saint Paul.

The petition for this lodge was dated January 25, 1849, and signed by Henry L. Moss, formerly of Platteville, Wisconsin; Sylvanus Trask, of Girard, Pennsylvania; William H. Oliver, of Boston, Massachusetts; Albert Harris, of Savannah, Georgia; D. B. Loomis, of Alton, Illinois; Robert Philbrook, of Oldtown, Maine; and was duly forwarded to Grand Secretary Ridgely. The charter was granted, and Minnesota Lodge, No. 1, was instituted by John G. Potts, District Deputy Grand Sire of the Northwest, August 15, 1849. At the next regular meeting Mahlon Black and Socrates Nelson were initiated, – the first candidates to be made Odd Fellows in Minnesota. No. 1 surrendered its charter February 25, 1864, owing to the hard times following the war, but was reorganized December 31, 1883.

St. Paul Lodge No. 2

St. Paul Lodge No. 2 was instituted in the town of that name, May 3, 1850, with six charter members, among them being Benjamin W. Brunson. He was initiated into the Order in 1844. This lodge prospered from its very inception, although the working brothers often had to “skirmish” for a quorum. At one time in its history, nearly every eligible man in the town was a member. In January, 1853, a series of stock certificates were issued, with which the members purchased a lot for $600.00, which is now in the heart of the city and worth $100,000.00. The lodge has other property to the value of over $16,000.00. In 1895 it had about 366 members. It is the “mother” of lodges in Saint Paul, there being now eighteen in the city, all of them directly or indirectly its offspring. A three-story brick building covers the valuable ground owned by this lodge, and in this building four subordinates, five Rebekah lodges, one encampment, and one canton hold their meetings. The revenue is about $8,000.00 per year, of which amount the lodge gives generously to every worthy distressed lodge, or individual member.

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.

The Petition
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.

Future Bound
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 ODD FELLOWS VALEDICTION

I AM AN ODD FELLOW

I believe in the Fatherhood of God, and the Brotherhood of man.
I believe in Friendship, Love, and Truth as the basic guides to the ultimate destiny of all mankind.
I believe my home, my church or temple, my lodge, and my community deserve my best work, my modest pride, my earnest faith, and my deepest loyalty, as I perform my duty “to visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead, and educate the orphan” and as I work with others to build a better world, because, in spirit and in truth, I am and must always be, grateful to my Creator, faithful to my country, and fraternal to my fellow-man.

I AM AN ODD FELLOW

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.

NOTE:
Any inquiries regarding genealogy questions should only be in regards to individuals that were a member of a Minnesota Lodge. All other inquiries for other states will be answered with a referral to your states Grand Secretaries contact information.

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