Fayette County History & Genealogy

History of Fayette County


From R. S. Dills' History of Fayette County

ODD-FELLOWS;


Temple Lodge No. 227, was instituted in a hall in the attic story of the old brick building on Court Street, northeast of Fayette, over the printing office, March 13, 1854, hy the Most Worthy Grand Master of Ohio, William G. Neilson, who delivered the charter to five persons, as follows: Captain John M. Bell, Colonel S. N. Yeoman, M. Livingston, William H. Lanum, and John Backenstoe.

Four persons were initiated into the order on the night of institution, as follows: John Millikan, C. H. Bell, V. M. Ogle, and Dr. Brown.

The lodge continued to meet in that old attic room for about two years, when they removed to the third story of J. F. Ely's frame building, on the corner of Main and East streets, where they also remained about two years. They then secured the third story of a new brick building on Court Street, built by Z. W. Heagler, and which is now the central room in the Yeoman Block. This was unfinished, but the lodge finished and furnished it, and made them there a comfortable home for about sixteen years.

In the spring of 1873, they organized the Odd-Fellows Building Association, which bought a piece of ground on Court Street, southwest from the Vandeman corner, and proceeded to build thereon a fine business building; and in the spring of 1874 the lodge removed to their beautiful and commodious new hall in this "Odd-Fellows' Building," it being one of the largest and best lodge rooms in the state, and handsomely furnished.

In the following October, on the night of the 13th, the "fire fiend" claimed for his own this splendid temple, with all the furniture, pharaphernalia, regalia, records, and other property of the lodge, not a single thing being saved.

A meeting of the lodge was called, and held in the Masonic Hall, which was kindly tendered for the purpose, on the night after the fire, at which there was a very large attendance; and it was then unanimously resolved to rebuild the building and hall. This was at once entered upon, and in the winter and spring of 1875, a new building arose, phœnix-like, upon the ashes of the first, equal to it in size and beauty.

The lodge furnished the new room very well, though not quite so elegantly as the first one, and moved into it on the 6th day of November, A. D. 1875, where they have continued to meet to the time of this writing.

During the building of the second hall, the lodge met in the third story of the First National (now the Peoples and Drovers) Bank building.

Its Strength. - In the beginning the lodge was very weak in numbers, but strong in faith and purpose, and they had quite a struggle for existence the first two years; when, on the anniversary of the order (April 26, 1856), Dr. Strickland, of Cincinnati, came here at their solicitation and delivered a public address upon Odd-Fellowship, in the old Methodist Church, which was followed by a number of very valuable accessions to the lodge, and from that time on it has had a steady and substantial growth, until at this writing it numbers one hundred and thirty active members, and has upon its rolls the names of many of our best and most prominent citizens.

Representatices to the Grand Lodge. - There have been only three from Temple Lodge, as follows: Colonel S. N. Yeoman, elected in 1856; Judge J. B. Priddy, elected in 1870; and the present representative from the district, J. N. Vandeman, Esq., elected in 1878, and re-elected in 1880.

District Deputy Grand Masters. - Captain John M. Bell was the first District Deputy Grand Master, appointed in 1856, and John L. McKee is the present one, appointed in June, 1881.

Officers. - The first elective ofiicers of the lodge were: Captain John M. Bell, Noble Grand; Colonel S. K Yeoman, Vice Grand; M.Livingston, Recording Secretary; William H. Lanum, Permanent Secretary; John Backenstoe, treasurer.

The present ones are: S. M. Stein, Noble Grand; P. Sheerman, Vice Grand; E. S. Stinson, Recording Secretary; John L. McKee, Permanent Secretary; A. L. Reid, Treasurer; S. W. Cissna, Dr. O. A. Allen, Bowman Hess, Dr. S. S. Salisbury, and S. L. Hooker, Trustees.

The Fathers. - Of the charter members, only two remain - Brothers Colonel Yeoman and William H. Lanum. The others have laid down their armor, and rest in the silent cities of the dead.

Of those who were initiated on the night of institution, only Brother John Millikan still has his connection with the lodge, two of the others having gone West years ago, and removed their membership there, and the other one is dead.

The loss of the lodge records, and want of space, forbids giving many other historic facts which would doubtless be of interest.

Patriarchal Branch. - Fayette Encampment No. 134, was instituted by Grand Patriarch C. G. Russell, May 17, A. D. 1871, in the Odd-Fellows' Hall, on Court Street. The charter was delivered to L. C. Karney, Colonel S. N. Yeoman, C. L. Getz, Dr. 0. H. Saxton, M. Blanchard, W. S. Stewart, J. C. King, William Wilts, and Charles Duffee. There were eleven persons admitted on the night of institution.

The encampment grew very rapidly for about three years, when it suffered the loss of a good many of its members, by reason of the institution of encampments at Sabina and Greenfield, from which it has never fully recovered. It numbers at this writing forty active members. It, too, was "burnt out" and lost everything at the time the lodge building was destroyed, in October, 1874.

Its first elective oificers were: L. C. Karney, Chief Patriarch; M. Blanchard, High Priest; William Wilts, Senior Warden; Dr. O. H. Saxton, Junior Warden; William Stewart, Scribe; J. C. King, Treasurer.

The present officers are: S. L. Hooker, District Deputy Grand Patriarch; Mark Howell, Chief Patriarch; John L. McKee, High Priest; Marshall Hyer, Senior Warden; Frank A. Murry, Junior Warden; J. N. Vandeman, Scribe; John B. Shum, Treasurer; John L. McKee, John B. Shum, and John N. Vandeman, Trustees.