Did you ever wonder what it was like in the early days of the Lodges of Pennsylvania? Well sit back and read the journal below as it takes us back to a time long before highways and automobiles.
From The Odd Fellows Family Companion (Vol. VII, July – December, 1847). (1869). New York: E. Winchester, pg. 90
Philadelphia, August 3, 1847.
E. Winchester, Esq..— Dear Sir and Bro.— I had intended to have kept you advised of our route through a portion of this State, but traveling as we did, I found it impossible. My last to you was written at Williamsport; from which place we proceeded, on Monday morning, via canal, to Lewisburg, Union county, which is pleasantly situated on the west branch of the Susquehanna River, about 12 miles above Northumberland. Here we were met by those sterling Brothers L. B. Christ, H. S. Graham, and others, who kindly did all in their power to render our stay pleasant and agreeable among them. We
visited Lewisburg Lodge No. 96 in the evening, and were much gratified to find Odd-Fellowship to have taken such a hold on the affections of the people in that borough. The night was stormy, and notwithstanding tire inclemency of the weather, a large attendance of the brethren were present. We heard of the condition and future prospects of the Lodge, and were pleased to find it prosperous.
On Thursday morning, about 4 o’clock, we left Lewisburg for Dansville (sic), (a distance of 15 miles,) to join our brothers at that place in their first Public Celebration and if we were gratified with what we had seen before, we were highly delighted at this place. We were met by those indefatigable Brothers
Shoop, Cook, Brady and others, who, with the true feelings of genuine Odd Fellows, bid us a hearty welcome. The procession was about forming when we arrived, and soon after we took our places in the line, which commenced marching about 11 o’clock through the principal streets, and then proceeded to a beautiful grove just at the edge of the town, where a stage had been erected for the speaker, and seats properly arranged for the brothers— sufficient care being taken that the ladies also should be properly provided for—when an Oration was delivered by our friend and brother, P.G. M. Horn R. Kneass, who, in a strain of eloquence, enchained that vast assemblage for at least one hour, dascanting
on the beauties, uses, and purposes of our Institution. After the Oration, the procession again formed and proceeded to the Hall of Montour Lodge No. 109, where they were dismissed by the Grand Marshal of the day. The Lodges and Encampments that comprised the procession are as follows: Milton
Lodge No. 85. Lewisburg Lodge No. 96, Brady Lodge No. 1 16, Van Camp Lodge No. 140, Northumberland Lodge No. 196, Selins Grove Lodge No. 197, Sunbury Lodge No. 2(0, Montour Lodge No. 109, Muemoloton Encampment No. 40, United Encampment So. 44, Milton Encampment No. 46, Sunbury Encampment No 61. Every thing was properly arranged, the Manuals and Commit
tee of Arrangements properly understood their duty and discharged it well.
In the afternoon we left for Bloomsburg, a distance of 10 miles, for the purpose of visiting Van Camp Lodge No. 140, and opening Susquehanna Encampment No. 60, accompanied by D.D.G.M. E. Armstrong, of Columbia county, Bro. E. Mendenhall, and others, of that place, and in the
evening we had the pleasure of meeting with our brothers of Van Camp Lodge, and of hearing of their condition, which we are pleased to say, is one worthy of imitation. The next day, Friday, we opened and constituted Susquehanna Encampment No. 60, and installed the following officers, vis: Ellas Mendenhall, C.P.; E. P. Lutts, H.P.; Henry Webb, S.W.; Hurley, J.W.; Jno. Barton, Scribe;, Treas.; E. Armstrong, Sent. Our stay in Bloomsburg was short, but of sufficient time for us to be satisfied that the brothers are all that they profess to be, Odd-Fellows in fact, and in leaving them we cannot forget our kind and obliging hosts, Bros. Caret & Halfpenny, of the Exchange Hotel, who know how to render the time of their guests pleasant and agreeable, and whose house is not excelled for comfort and convenience by any in our own city.
From Bloomsburg we proceeded, on Friday afternoon, to Berwick, which is a distance of 12 miles, and in the evening we had the pleasure of constituting Berwick Lodge No 246, and installing their officers. Berwick is situated on the north branch of the Susquehanna. To the brothers of that place we are much
indebted for their kindness and gentlemanly deportment to us during our stay with them, and they may be assured that the recollection of our visit will be deeply engraved in our hearts, and the social intercourse enjoyed with them will not cease to be remembered. May their Lodge be all that they could wish it to be. May its members enjoy that peace and harmony which is only known to the virtuous and the good, and may each returning; anniversary of their Lodge be hailed with pleasure and pride, and may the G. L. of Pennsylvania claim them as one of her brightest jewels. But I am admonished that it is
time for me to close this epistle, if I desire it read, promising to conclude it ere long. Yours Fraternally.