On the 18th of August, 1834, the Grand Lodge of the United States granted a Charter for a Lodge in St. Louis, to be called, "Traveler's Rest Lodge, No. 1." P. G. Samuel L. Miller, who was commissioned to open the Lodge, landed here on the 1st April, 1835, and after considerable delay in getting the requisite number of petitioners together, the Lodge was finally instituted on the 3rd day of June, with six members. This was the first Lodge of our Order west of the Mississippi.
"Wildey Lodge, No. 2," of St. Louis, was instituted on the 12th day of June, 1838, by Past Grand Sire
Wildey, the "traveling agent" of the G. L. U.S., under a Charter granted by that body, May 16th, 1837.
The Past Grands in these two Lodges were organized into a Grand Lodge on the 13th day of June, 1838, under a Charter of that date, issued by P. G. Sire Wildey, under his authority as "traveling agent."
Charter issued on June 13th, 1838
By Thomas Wildey Founder of North American Odd Fellowship
History of Odd Fellowship in North America
Although some books claim to trace Odd Fellowship back to Roman times when members of the Roman Legions in England were called "Fellow Citizens", what is said to be the earliest printed record of an Odd Fellows Lodge appears in a reference to a lodge meeting at a Globe Tavern in England, in 1748. This lodge was numbered nine, so apparently there were at least nine associated Odd Fellows lodges at that time.
Among the first records of the Order in America is that of five Brothers of the English Order who met in New York City in 1806, and formed Shakespeare Lodge No. 1. The founders were three boat builders, a comedian and a vocalist - a group befitting the name "Odd Fellows," indeed. The lodge was self instituted, a common practice in those times.Their first candidate was a retired actor who was the keeper of the tavern where they met. Accounts state that lodge meetings were accompanied by merry making and mirth, and that the wares of the tavern were freely indulged in. This lodge was dissolved in 1813 due to poor attendance brought on by controversy over the War of 1812.
Another lodge of which little is known existed briefly in New York in 1816. In 1818, Shakespeare Lodge in New York was re-instituted, in the Red Cow tavern, operated by a former member who had in his keeping the books and papers of the former lodge. They claimed to have received a charter from the Manchester Unity which gave them authority over all other Odd Fellows Lodges in the United States, but this authority was not accepted by other lodges. Several more lodges were founded in the New York City area, and one in Philadelphia, due to the efforts of the Brothers of Shakespeare Lodge.
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows as we know it today began in Baltimore, Maryland, where five members of the Order from England founded Washington Lodge No. 1 on April 26,1819, by self-institution. One of these Brothers was Thomas Wildey, the first Noble Grand and the man revered as the founder of Odd Fellowship in North America. A charter was received from Duke of York Lodge in Preston, England, in 1820, a year and a half after its self-institution.
A second lodge was formed in Baltimore in 1819, but these two lodges and those in New York were unaware of each others' existence for some time, communications being slow in those days, and there being no reason such information would travel from one city to another except by pure chance. In 1821, the "Grand Lodge of Maryland and of the United States of America, of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows," was founded. Brother Wildey also served as the first Grand Master/Grand Sire of the first Grand Lodge, for a period of 12 years. Several more lodges were established, and in 1824, the "Grand Lodge of the United States" now termed "The Sovereign Grand Lodge," was separated from the Grand Lodge of Maryland. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows in North America (United States and Canada) became independent from the Order in England in 1834
The proceedings of the Grand Lodge, for the first few years, seem to have been very informally entered upon the journal. None of the proceedings appeared in printed form until the Quarterly Session of April, 1845; and the then Grand Master, Gerard B. Allen, has the credit of introducing the measure to print the journal. The revenue of the Grand Lodge being insufficient to meet the expense, it was made up, mostly, by the Lodges in the City of St. Louis. Since that time, the proceedings have been regularly printed and distributed.
This complitation of the journal in a continuous form, from the organization of the Grand Lodge, to and including the Annual Session of 1853, has been made in conformity to a resolution of the late session, instructing the undersigned to prepare the proceedings for the press, and have the same printed and bound. Grand Secretary's Office } St. Louis, January 1st, 1854 }
The Grand Lodge Office of the Grand Lodge of Missouri was located in St. Louis, Missouri from its start until 1980 when it was moved to Columbia, Missouri. In 1988 it was moved to Fulton, Missouri where it still remains.
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