The Pre 1900 History of the odd fellows, PA Grand Lodge.


Thomas Wildey was born in London on the 15th day of January, 1782. On reaching manhood he was initiated into an Odd Fellow's Lodge in which he distinguished himself by his zeal and integrity.

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Wildey, the father and founder of American Odd Fellowship, brought with him to this country the seed, which carefully sown and nurtured, has grown to such a mighty tree that, in the shade produced by its wide-spreading branches, the brethren may seek and obtain solace and security from most of the storms incident to human life.

Its perennial growth is now well assured, for the grateful tears of the widow and orphan have watered the tender plant and it has been warmed and vivified by the sunny smile of approving heaven.

1819 — The natal day of American Odd Fellowship was the 26th of April. The attempts made, prior to this date, establish the Order here, failed, or the sickly and sporadic growth became absorbed in the more vigorous family planted by Wildey. The circumstances attending this his toric event are here briefly presented.

This was prior to the formation of the Manchester Unity, so that the body to which he belonged, existed and worked according to the early mode of self-institution.

Desirous of spreading the Order to which he was so ardently attached, he, with others, started a new Lodge, styled Morning Star Lodge, No. 38, located in London.

Ours is no sapling, chance-sown by the fountain, 
Blooming in summer, in winter to fade
Odd Fellowship

1817 – Wildey continued to be actively interested in the work of the Order and more than once passed through the chairs. The cheering news and the favorable reports received by him from countrymen here, decided him to seek, in this new and highly favored land, a fairer fortune. He possessed hope, health and industry, sure passports to prosperity anywhere. The exigencies of commerce had greatly mollified the hatred and animosities engendered by the late war, so that he had every reason to expect the full fruition of his hopes.

As was natural to a stranger in a strange land, he immediately sought to make the acquaintance of his fellow countrymen residing in the City of Baltimore. Among the first of these whom he met was John Welch, an Odd Fellow. Animated by his former zeal for the Order, and feeling the loss of his wonted field of labor and its allied social pleasures and advantages, he at once took steps to form a Lodge.

1819 –The requisite number was five, so that with three the way to success would be clear. They advertised for the lacking number in the Baltimore American, at first with partial success. They inserted the notice to the left in the same paper on the 27th of March and met with complete success.

The PA Sovereign Lodge
Information obtained from

Odd Fellowship It's History and Manual
The History and Manual of Odd Fellowship

By Theo. A. Ross
Past Grand Secretary of the Sovereign Grand Lodge

Copyright 1887 - 1895 - 1897 - 1899 - 1908
M. W. Hazen Company