The Independent Order of Odd Fellows is one of the largest and oldest fraternal orders in the United States. Odd Fellowship was founded in England where it grew up during the 18th century. The Patriotic Order in England was followed by the Union of United Orders and the Loyal Order. In 1813, various lodges of the Union Order organized the Manchester Unity of Odd Fellows.
American Odd Fellowship was founded as the Washington Lodge #1 in Baltimore in 1819, and the following year affiliated with the Manchester Unity.
The three links of Odd Fellowship's symbol represent Friendship, Love, and Truth.
Odd Fellow 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 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!
To Improve and Elevate the Character of Man
In 17th century England, it was odd to find people organized for the purpose of giving aid to those in need and of pursuing projects for the benefit of all mankind. Those who belonged to such an organization were called "Odd Fellows". Odd Fellows are also known as "The Three Link Fraternity" which stands for Friendship, Love and Truth.
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows was founded on the North American Continent in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 26, 1819 when Thomas Wildey and four members of the Order from England instituted Washington Lodge No. 1. This lodge received its charter from Manchester Unity of Odd Fellows in England.
Odd Fellowship became the 1st national fraternity to include both men and women when it adopted the beautiful Rebekah Degree on September 20, 1851. This degree is based on the teachings found in the Holy Bible, and was written by the Honorable Schuyler Colfax who was Vice President of the United States during the period 1868-1873. Odd Fellows and Rebekahs were also the first fraternal organization to establish homes for our senior members and for orphaned children.