Saturday, January 23, 2010

History of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows

Many historians trace its origins from Trade Unions that emerged in England in the 1500's to 1700's. The name came from the fact that in smaller towns and villages there were insufficient number of Fellows to form a local guild. In these circumstances, fellow workers from an "odd" assortment of trades gathered together and formed a union. These guilds were set up to protect and care for their members and their families at a time when there was no welfare state, trade unions or National Health Service.

In 1688 England, when the Catholic King James II was deposed in favor of the Dutch Protestant William of Orange, the organization split into two factions, the "Patriotic Order of Odd fellows" (based in the south of England and supporting William) and the "Ancient Order of Odd fellows" (based in the north and favoring the Stuarts).

In 1789, the two factions formed a partial amalgamation as the "Union Order", now known as "Grand United Order of Oddfellows", abandoning all political and religious disputes and committing itself to promoting the harmony and welfare of its members.

In 1813, various lodges of the Union Order organized the "Manchester Unity of Oddfellows" which chartered the Odd Fellows in North America in 1819.

While several unofficial lodges had existed in New York City before, because of the charter relationship, American Odd Fellowship is regarded as being founded in Baltimore at the Seven Stars Tavern on April 26, 1819, by Thomas Wildey and some associates who were members of the fraternity in England.

On September 20, 1851, I.O.O.F became the first fraternity to accept both men and women when it formed the Daughters of Rebekah. Schuyler Colfax, (Vice President of the United States (1869-1873) under President Ulysses S. Grant), was the force behind the movement. Though the term sorority was not yet coined in this year, it may be considered that the Rebekah is the first and oldest sorority in the world.


Monday, January 11, 2010

One of the Oldest, Largest and United International Fraternity in the World

(Largest United International Fraternity in the World)

* I.O.O.F branch of the Odd Fellows is the Largest "Unified" Fraternity in the world with every lodge working together under the Sovereign Grand Lodge.

* Odd Fellowship in the European contintent was organized in the 1700's and originated around the year 1500's or even older as a guild of fellows from different odd trades.

* Odd Fellowship in the U.S continent started around 1800's and was organized on April 26, 1819 in Baltimore, Maryland, by Thomas Wildey and four other Odd Fellows from England.


* Largest, united international fraternal Organization in the World under one head with some 10,000 to 22,000 lodges; a membership numbering in the millions.

* The commands of Odd Fellowship are to Visit the Sick, to Relieve the Distressed, to Bury the Dead, and to Educate the Orphan. The three principles of our Order are Friendship, Love, and Truth.

* Our aim is to make good men better citizens, better fathers, better sons, husbands, and Brothers. Our slogan is "We seek to elevate and improve the character of man."


* First fraternal order to recognize, and authorize, a ladies auxillary, the Rebekahs. Our Sisters of the Rebekah Degree are a vital and integral part of Odd Fellowship; working hand in hand with the Brothers in promoting the principles, and practicing the commands of our Order.

* We are truly a Family Fraternity with several branches that appeal to all ages. In addition to the Odd Fellows and Rebekah Lodges we have Junior Odd Fellow Lodges for boys and Theta Rho Clubs for girls, ages 12 to 21 years.


* Odd Fellowship is a mutual assistance Order in which men and women are banded together as Brothers and Sisters, pledged to assist each other whenever the need arises. In 1958 we well over four million dollars for relief alone. Over seven million persons have been given assistance since the Order was founded in this country more than 160 years ago, and more than five hundred thousand widowed families have been given assistance.

* You will find in nearly every city or town in California there is an Odd Fellow and Rebekah Lodge, and you will find that the Odd Fellows Temple is usually one of the largest and finest buildings in the community.


* Odd Fellowship is truly an international fraternity with Lodges opperating in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belize, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

* The true total amount of invested funds by Odd Fellowship greatly exceeds one hundred million dollars, and contributions to various disasters throughout the years has run into the millions.


* We are NOT an insurance Order. We issue no policies. Yet,"Should anything happen, we are ready, willing, and able to keep, feed, clothe, and educate your children, should they, by some means, be deprived of you as living parents." U.S. Government surveys have indicated that it cost from $12,K to over $20,K,to rear a child from kindergarden through high-school.

* More than 50 children, both Orphans and half-orphans, are given every opportunity of receiving a sound foundation for becoming useful and worthwhile citizens at the Odd Fellows Childrens Home in Gilroy,Ca. We assure you, as a member of this Great Order, that your children will be cared for, and by those who are directly interested in you and your family.


* The Home feature not only means something to you as a parent,it means much to you as a person. When you reach the declining years, and should you then need the protecting care of the Old Folks Home for yourself, and for your wife or should your widow need it, and you have been a member in California for at least 20 years, it stands before you with an open door.

* In California all Odd Fellows and Rebekahs are very proud of our Old Folks Home at Saratoga where more than 180 Brothers and Sisters are being given fraternal care in the sunset days of life. Our Million Dollar Hom,e for our aged members has already cared for more than 2,100 Brothers and Sisters since it was founded in 1912.


* Some sixty Odd Fellows Homes for the children and the aged are operated in the United States and Canada alone; MORE HOMES OF THIS TYPE THAN ANY OTHER ORGANIZATION! Many millions of dollars are invested in our homes which have given refuge to more than 35,000 persons. Today more than 3,000 persons are being cared for in Odd Fellows Homes.

* Odd Fellowship was the originator of the home idea, - foundinmg the first home for aged and orphans during the 19th century in Michigan. All other old folks homes and childrens homes, established by other organizations, have been patterned after the first Odd Fellows Home.


* California Odd Fellow-Rebekah Youth Camp is in the process of being developed into one of the finest organized youth camps in the state. Located in Tuolomne County, this youth camp will provide for more than 200 young people at one time. It will be available to all worthy youth.

* Throughout the United States and Canada there are several dozen youth camps sponsored by Odd Fellowship, and the California camp is being patterned after camps in other states.


* California Odd Fellows and Rebekahs have collected and donated more than one million dollars to the California Heart Association during the past three years as a state-wide project. Half a million dollars has been donated to the March-of-Dimes by our Order for research purposes.

* The Tournament of Roses Parade at Pasadena on New Years Day included an Odd Fellows and Rebekahs entry which has received the First Place Award for at least two years in a row!


* Community Service activities are sponsored by many of the 750 Odd Fellow and Rebekah Lodges in California. Several lodges sponsor Little League or other youth baseball teams. Boy and Girl Scout Troops, soap box racers, junior rifle teams, tean-age dancing clubs, Junior Odd Fellows Lodges,Theta Rho Girl's Clubs, etc.

* Some $250,000 was raised by our membership in California to construct the Occupational Therapy Unit at the State Veterans Home at Yountville, as a memorial to all Odd Fellows and Rebekahs having lost their lives during the two World Wars. It was the largest single gift to any State Agency.


* Odd Fellowship being active and interested in community affairs, has been stressing a program of dedicating public schools and other public buildings.

* The organized program of "Middle League Baseball" was founded and first established by the Odd Fellows of Santa Maria, California. The rapidly growing program is spreading from coast to coast after its small begining.


* Odd Fellowship conducts a Pilgrimage each year to the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington, Virginia, where, in the Trophy Room, hangs our highest Jewel of Merit, the Grand Decoration of Chivalry, bestowed upon the Unknown Soldier by permission of the Federal Government. We are the only non-military organization given the honor of bestowing an award upon the Unknown Soldier.


* The Odd Fellows World Eye Bank and Visual Research Foundation was adopted as an Odd Fellows-Rebekah humanitarian Program in 1956, and it continues to support and provide funds for visual research through its agreement with the Wilmer Institute at John Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. W. Richard Green has been appointed as the Odd Fellow Professor for the Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology at the Wilmer Institute. Additional information on this extensive program dealing with eyesight may be obtained from: Lois K. Stevens, Executive Secretary, 11 Usher Avenue, Plainville, Connecticut 06062.


* Each year, some eight hundred boys and girls from high schools of the United States, Canada, and Cuba are taken on Educational Bus tours to the headquarters of the United Nations where they study its related agencies. No other organization has been granted a like privilege. Most of the students also participate in Educational Bus tours throughout North America, which includes visits to many of the historical sights along with visiting the national capitols of the United States and Canada. Odd Fellows and Rebekahs throughout North America house, feed, and entertain these young delegates. Additional details of this program may be obtained from: Mary T. Cook, Executive Secretary Box 36, McCordsville, Indiana, 46055.


* Annually more than a quarter of a million dollars in educational loans are granted to deserving young people by the I.O.O.F. Educational Foundation. This is recognized as the first official project of the Sovereign Grand Lodge, established in 1927. Contributions are made by Odd Fellows and Rebekahs to establish a revolving trust fund, which has been responcible for assisting more than 3,000 young men and women. The maximum a student may borrow over a four year period is $6,000. Loans are also available for study in any recognized trade school such as Business College, Beauty Culture Schools, etc. The interest rate is 5% payable each year by June 30th while in school. Additional information and details may be obtained from: Gloria J. Mundt, Executive Director, P.O. Box 9066, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 46899.


* The Odd Fellows were the first organization to reunite the North and South after the Civil War. In September, 1865, an invitation was extended to the Southerners to reunite our Order.


* Many who join the Odd Fellows find it so satisfying that they are happy to learn that besides being able to join the Rebekahs, they may also seek membership in the other branches of our Order.

* There is the Encampment branch whose Three Degrees teach sublime and useful lessons; and there's the Canton Militants whose members are uniformed and are mustered in Cantons. The Encampment and the Canton furnish a tremendous outlet for active Odd Fellows with a yen for activity.

* The Patriarchs Militant branch of Odd Fellowship has been granted the privilege of having a regular or reserve officer of the Armed Forces of the United States as military advisor on the General Commanding and Department staffs.


* Odd Fellowship played a very important part in establishing the State of California. Law and Order was established by our Order in many localities. Odd Fellow Lodges were the first organizations of any type in many California cities and a large number of our lodges have completed their first 100 years of service.

* The famed Stanford University was originally slated to become an Odd Fellow's institution, but our Grand Lodge turned down the offer of $20,000 from then Governor Leland Stanford to establish an Odd Fellows University as a memorial to his son.

* The first hospital in California was jointly sponsored by the Odd Fellows and the Free & Accepted Masons of Sacramento; and the first 3-story brick building in the State is the old Odd Fellows Hall at Mokelumne Hill, California.


* The President of the United States, through the State Department, selected the Independent Order of Odd Fellows to organize the "People to People Commitee" for all Fraternal Organizations. We received this invitation because we are the largest fraternity in the world under one head.

* Our Soverign Grand Master, the international leader of Odd Fellowship attended the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth. Our Order was the only Fraternal Order to receive such an invitation.


* The Odd Fellows and Rebekehs have been loyal supporters of many telethons for educational television channels, the Arthritis Foundation, and many other health agencies and worthwhile causes.


* Originated in California several years ago, the International Youth Exchange Program has grown and prospered during the years until today, young people, sons and daughters of Odd Fellows and Rebekahs and members of the youth units of the Order, have visited during vacation periods and during the school years.

* Odd Fellows and Rebekah countries participating in mthe program have included Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States.


* Odd Fellowship, unlike many other organizations, makes no special effort to attract "name" members. Ours is a warm, personal type of affiliation that doesn't rely on "rubbing elbows" with the famous to give us satisfaction.

* Yet, without a list being available to me, I can think of several well known men who took the same degrees in Odd Fellowship that I so proudly took. For instance: Franklin D. Roosevelt, our four-term-president; Chief Justice Earl Warren; William Jennings Bryan, the Great Commoner; Governor Goodwin J. Knight; President Warren G. Harding; Vice President Schuyler Colfax and hundreds more who have served our country.


* Odd Fellowship maintains many of the finest and most sacred cemetaries and mausoleums in California, valued at several million dollars, and established to be be of service to our community.

* Odd Fellows and Rebekah Recreation areas in California are available to members of the Order, offering property for sale to construct private cabins & homes. Boating, swimming, fishing, hiking and other activities are available at three such areas, located in Sonoma, Tuolumne, and Trinity Counties.


* When you pay your dues in this Order, you are contributing to those who, through the adversities of life, now find refuge in our Homes and under our care. Yet, at the same time you are also building for yourself, assurance that you, if the need arises, can find the same refuge.

* Your membership in this Fraternity involves nothing that conflicts with your duties to your God, your country, your family, or yourself. Your membership helps continue the worthy work this Order has undertaken.


ALABAMA: Sponsor Girl Scout Troops.

ALBERTA: Eye Clinics.

ARIZONA: Mobile Eye Clinic.

ARKANSAS: Boy Scout troops.


AUSTRALIA: Planting trees in park.

BRITISH COLUMBIA: Senior citizens ambulance.

CALIFORNIA: Police Explorer Scouts, Potato peeling contest.

COLORADO: Retirement Housing programs.

CONNECTICUT: State Eye Bank.

DELAWARE: Support Hospitals in Eye Research.

DENMARK: Aid needy in Eastern Europe.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Support Children's Inn.

GEORGIA: Scholorship Awards.

GERMANY: Aid to Rumanian People.

IDAHO: Community Birthday Calender.

ILLINOIS: D.A.R.E. Program, Day care facilities.

INDIANA: Nursing home, Easter egg hunt.

IOWA: Honor Law enforcement officers.

KANSAS: State Eye Bank.

KENTUCKY: Eye screening.

LOUISIANA: Holiday baskets for needy,Youth entertainment prgms.

MAINE: Community Cook Book.

MANITOBA: Sponsor school safety patrol.

MARYLAND: Health Clinic assistance.

MASSACHUSETTS: Scholorships.

MICHIGAN: Loaning Med. equiptment, Sponsor D.A.R.E. Program.

MINNESOTA : Sponsor ice fishing derby.

MISSISSIPPI: Ditty-bags for shut-ins.

MISSOURI: Establish Baseball park.

MONTANA: Sponsor Special Olympics.

NEBRASKA: Operate Highway Rest Stops.

NETHERLANDS: Camp for Disabled Children.

NEVADA: Sponsor Handicapped Boy Scouts.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Get Acquainted Party for Newcomers.

NEW JERSEY: Sponsor Health Fair.

NEW MEXICO: Recreation Park.

NEW YORK: Camp for Children with Cancer.

NEW ZEALAND: Making Toys for the Handicapped.

NORTH CAROLINA: Truck Raffle for Arthritis.

NORWAY: I.O.O.F. Medical Research Foundation.

OHIO: Senior Citizen's Dinners.

OKLAHOMA: Salvation Army Bell Ringers.

ONTARIO: Donated Eye Surgery Machine.

OREGON: Old-Time Fiddler's Concert.

PENNSYLVANIA: Honor Police Officers.

PHILIPPINES: Monthly feeding, used clothing donation and free Blood pressure taking.

QUEBEC: Park Clean-up.

RHODE ISLAND: Support School for the Deaf Athletic Fund.

SASKATCHEWAN: Support Tiny-Tot-Centre

TENNESSE: Quarterly Police Officers Award.

TEXAS: Adopt-a-Highway Program.

VIRGINIA: Built Picnic Shelter.

WASHINGTON: Consignment Auction Sale.

WEST VIRGINIA: Establish Avenue of Flags,Extensive Youth Prgrm.

WISCONSON: Wheelchairs for Spina Bifida Youths.

WYOMING: Youth Camp.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

History of I.O.O.F, Watchdog Lodge no.1, Dumaguete City, Philippines

Watchdog Lodge no.1 was actually inspired and founded by members of an underground fraternal organization called the Watchdog Committee which was brought by two Filipino-African-American from New York.

The history of Watchdog Committee started back in the days when racial segregation and discrimination was still very existent in the United States. Our unpublished history books states that:

1890, numerous secret and underground African-American groups were formed to protect themselves from being oppressed and attacked by racists groups such as the members of the KKK, an all white American group that uses terrorism, violence and lynching murder towards African-Americans in the United States.

1968, our founding members were influenced by the Black Panthers Party, a militant African-American political party founded in 1965 to end oppression and dominance by Whites, when it reached New York and introduced:

1. Nationalist Ideology.
2. Its policy of "serving the people".
3. Practice of Women's Equality.

1970, inspired by these ideologies, our founding fathers first secretly formed “Underground Neighborhood Watchers or U.N.W” in Crown Heights, New York, U.S.A, as a protection group against racism, marginalization, violence, and oppression.

August 23, 1985, after the Black Panthers Party disbanded, “Watchdog”, which means someone who serves as guardian or protector against any waste, loss, or threats such as oppression, discrimination, marginalization and subordination, was established as a secret society. All members solemnly vowed to protect the weak against the abuse of the powerful (the discrimination of the poor by the rich, oppression towards African-American & Asian-American race, etc.) and to never reveal the existence of our organization. This movement was formed by a group of friends who believed in empowering the unfortunate and oppressed through brotherhood and sisterhood, unity, equality, peace, and justice.

1995, a chapter respelled Watchdog into Watchdogg to give credit to their so called ghetto heroes who passed away as victims of police brutality and violence. D, O, G, and G represent the names of Dave Omar and Gwen Gambion who, together with Wilt Jackson, Bill Jackson and Dan Daniels (A half Filipino-African-American)
, helped reform the organization.

1996, Watchdogg or Watchdog, whose names are interchangeable used, reached San Francisco Valley in Los Angeles. Members then added the word “Committee” to emphasize that it evolved into an organization wherein members are also members of various groups in the community therefore making it into an inter-organization or inter-fraternity. The abbreviation “WDC” was also introduced.

1997, WDC reached the Philippines and was established as a secret society in which members were not allowed to speak about its existence to non-members. The group was widely yet silently active in terms of civil and political rights.

2004, with hundreds of members and a number of chapters in different neighborhoods in the Philippines, WDC re-organized itself and opened its name to the public after 19 years of being a secret society.

2008, there was an elementary dispute regarding the two WDC groups: Watchdogg and Watchdog. Watchdogg, being traditional ghetto influenced branch of WDC, did not agree with the Watchdog branch evolving into a service fraternity that aims at helping the community. The Watchdog branch, on the other hand, did not agree with some practices whom are believed to be contradictory to the original purposes of WDC. Watchdog wants to innovate the organization and adopt to modern times.

August 2009, already very involved in philanthropic projects, the majority of the members of Watchdog Committee branch decided to affiliate their group into the Oddfellows and at the same time revive the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in the Philippines.

September 10, 2009, the Sovereign Grand Lodge of the United States approved the idea and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Watchdog Lodge no.1, was given the authority to organize.

November 21, 2009, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows of the Republic of the Philippines was revived. Watchdog Lodge no.1, Watchdog Encampment no.1 and Canton Watchdog no.1, was formally instituted in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, Philippines by the Sovereign Grand Lodge of the United States.

Watchdog, though now a lodge under the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, still emphasize the importance of their three aims since 1985: Unity, Equality and Peace.