Odd Fellows Prior to 1900
A fraternal benevolent order, probably founded in England early in the eighteenth century. The ancient guilds had degenerated into social and convivial clubs, and were replaced by workingmen's beneficial societies, out of which were later evolved the Odd Fellows, or Friendly Societies.
Odd Fellowship Is One Of The Oldest Fraternities In The World.
1748 – The earliest record of any of these societies available is that of Aristarchus Lodge No. 9 of the Order of Odd Fellows, which met in 1748 at the Globe Tavern, London. There were many orders of Odd Fellows in England at the beginning of the nineteenth century, of which the Imperial Odd Fellows of Nottingham; the Ancient Noble Odd Fellows, Bolton; the Grand United Odd Fellows, Sheffield; Economical Odd Fellows, Leeds; National Odd Fellows, Salford; and the London United Odd Fellows were the principal ones. Between these there were no official or friendly relations existing.
The enactment of severe laws by the English Parliament against secret associations in the last years of the eighteenth century tended to retard the progress of friendly societies, and the Odd Fellows accordingly suspended public operations.
1803 – The London Union Odd Fellows Society was organized by some of the city lodges under the title of the Grand Lodge of England, and it succeeded in establishing its authority over the greater part of the Odd Fellow societies in the United Kingdom.
1809 – A member of one of the city lodges had meantime removed to Manchester, and, having received a dispensation to form a lodge in the latter city, the first Victory Lodge was created and it immediately declared its independence of the Grand Lodge of England. This was the beginning of the movement for independence.
1810 – A union was effected at Salford between a social club and the Prince Regent Lodge of Odd Fellows, and out of it arose the Lord Abercrombie Lodge, based on the principles of mutual relief to the members, an improved financial system, and other new features. Several of the existing lodges, including Victory Lodge of Manchester, gave in their adherence to the new movement.
1811 – The Lord Abercrombie Lodge assumed supremacy over the lodges working on the new system, proclaiming itself as the "Lord Abercrombie Grand Lodge of Independent Odd Fellows," a step which led to considerable opposition among the older lodges of the order.
1813 – A convention was called of the lodges in and around Manchester in sympathy with the new movement. An organization of the lodges was effected, and the title "The Manchester Unity of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows" adopted.
1814 – A formal organization was effected, a grand committee or district grand lodge was provided, a form of government adopted, and a grand master and a deputy grand master appointed.
1815 – One year later the formation of provincial districts with a provincial district grand master for each was the most important act of the session of the grand convention.
1816 – The adoption of a funeral fund system was part of the work of the annual session. The question of adopting degrees into the order was also discussed, the degrees of White, Royal Blue, and Scarlet being established. The Patriarchal, the Covenant, and Remembrance degrees were added later.
1819 – The question of a site for the central government of the order was settled by the establishment of a movable committee to hold annual sessions at points agreed upon at a preceding session.
1820 – In Liverpool considerable discord marked the early operations of the various Odd Fellow lodges until about 1820, when they came under the authority of the Manchester Unity. The order was also introduced into Wales that year.
1822 – The first grand movable committee convened; it was composed of past and present officers of districts and lodges, and had the power to adopt or reject laws proposed by districts. In the same year the Loyal Saint Olive's Lodge, in affiliation with the Manchester Unity, was opened in London.
1838 – The order was also introduced into Scotland.
1840 & 1845 – The formation of lodges in Ireland, Germany, and Australia was effected in 1840, and the following year in the Isle of Man.