INDEPENDENT ORDER of ODD FELLOWS - The Odd Fellows lodge began in the mid 18th century as a fraternal benevolent society. Using the Three Chain Links and All Seeing Eye as emblems, with FRIENDSHIP, LOVE and TRUTH as watchwords, and Visit The Sick, Relive The Distressed, Bury The Dead, Educate the Orphan as its motto.
The first recorded Lodge of Odd Fellows was Loyal Aristarcus Lodge, founded in 1745. It met above the Globe Tavern at Hatton Garden, England. The Odd Fellows are now called the Manchester Unity of Odd Fellows in England.
The Odd Fellows Lodge was first introduced to the United States by Thomas Wildey an English Odd Fellow. Washington Lodge No.1, Independent Order of Odd Fellows was instituted at Baltimore, Maryland in 1819.
The Odd Fellows first met in Texas at Independence Hall, Washington on the Brazos. Its first Grand Master was Anson Jones, the last President of the Republic of Texas. The first Odd Fellows Lodge in Texas was Lone Star Lodge No. 1, which was instituted on July 25, 1838 at Houston, by Jacob De Cordova.
Waxahachie Odd Fellows Lodge No. 80 was instituted by the Grand Lodge of Texas in 1859 but demised because of the Civil War. It was resuscitated a few years after the war as Lodge No. 129 on July 6, 1871, but it was changed back to No. 80 by permission of the Grand Lodge in 1872. There were seven Charter Members of Lodge No. 80. John T. King, O.R. Partain, James Smith, E.V.B. Sweatt, Lee Burchaim, S. H. Overstreet and C. R. Gibson.
The Waxahachie lodge first started meeting upstairs in the Kennedy building which was located on the corner of Water and Rogers streets. About 1873 they began to meet up-stairs over the old Texas Power and Light office in the center of the block. This structure was on the North side of the square on Main Street. In May 1883 they moved to the corner of Main and College streets to a rock and wood plank building (present site of the Kress-Penn building) where they met for a year.
Around 1884 the old rock building was demolished and the Lodge built a three-story Renaissance Revival building. The Lodge met on the top floor while Spalding Furniture and Undertaking operated on the first floor. The Lodge met there until, tragically, a fire destroyed the building. This occurred Sunday morning, Nov. 12, 1911 destroying all Lodge records, furnishings and regalia.
The lodge met in the Knights of Pythias hall on the corner of Main and Rogers for several months. Our current building on South Rogers Street (see above) was built in 1891 by the Texas Mortgage Banking Co. fo
Odd Fellows Celebrate 150 Years at Thanksgiving - by Kathryn Eriksen - Did you know that Waxahachie Lodge No. 80 Independent Order of Odd Fellows has been in existence for 150 years? That means this group of charitable-minded men started meeting in Waxahachie in 1859. To put that in perspective, Lodge No. 80 started just nine years after Ellis County was first created!
The first question most people ask this group is “Where did you get your name?” This fraternal organization first started in England in the mid 18th century. Their motto was “Visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead and educate the orphan.” The phrase “Odd Fellow” was given because of the group’s activities in burying the dead.
The Odd Fellows Lodge was first introduced into the United States in Baltimore, Maryland in 1819. They first met in Texas at Independence Hall, Washington on the Brazos, while Texas was still its own country. The first lodge was located in Houston in 1838.
Lodge No. 80 of Waxahachie meets at the Odd Fellows Building, located on South Rogers Street in downtown Waxahachie, every Monday night at 7:00 p.m. They first bought that building on December 16, 1911, and Lodge was first held there on March 29, 1912. Do the math – this benevolent group has met in the same location, 48 times a year for 97 years, for 4,656 meetings!
According to Carl Block, there are about 150 dues paying members of the Lodge. The Lodge’s biggest fund-raiser is the Mardi Gras event that they sponsor every year. All monies raised by that event are donated to various charities, including the Food Bank and the Health Clinic. The money is also used to fund college scholarships.
A sister organization is also very active. The Rebekah Degree is founded on the same principles of faithfulness, hospitality, purity and dedication to the principles of the Order. Rebekah Lodge #381 is the local organization for this wonderful group of women.
On Monday, November 23, 2009, the Lodge celebrated its 150th year and Thanksgiving. More than 50 members of both Lodges shared in the fellowship and friendship of food, stories and companionship. After spending some time with this group, I walked away from their building filled with a sense of fellowship.
Suddenly, the name “Odd Fellow” did not seem so strange!