Looking back in the old local newspapers that we have here at the Lucy Bensley Research Center, and online through newspapers.com, you can see where after the Civil War and over the next 50 years became known as the “Golden Age of Fraternalism.”

The Odd Fellows became the largest among all Fraternal organizations and by 1889 the I.O.O.F. had a lodge in every American State.

The I.O.O.F — which stood for the Independent Order of Odd Fellows — was considered a brotherhood or type of social organization, whose members freely associate for a beneficial purpose. The I.O.O.F. symbol of the three links refers to its motto, “Friendship, Love and Truth.”

In Springville, Lodge #588 began on Oct. 2, 1890.

By 1907, there were 130 members, with Fred Bartholomew being the Noble Grand, John Horning the Vice Grand, Dudley O. Dean the secretary and Herman Glass the treasurer.

We can read reports that were in the newspapers when they would meet, who was there and when their next meeting would be two to three times a month.

What was the group about?

The Command of the I.O.O.F. was to “visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead and educate the orphan.”

And their purpose?

To improve and elevate the character of mankind by promoting the principles of Friendship, Love, Faith, Hope, Charity and Universal Justice.

To help make the world a better place to live by aiding each other in times of need and by organizing charitable projects and activities that would benefit the less fortunate, the youth, the elderly, the environment and the community in every way possible.

To promote good will and harmony amongst peoples and nations through the principle of universal fraternity, holding the belief that all men and women, regardless of race, nationality, religion, social status, gender, rank and station are brothers and sisters.

To promote a wholesome fraternal experience without violence, vices and discrimination of every form.

In the time that it was popular, there was not a system in place to ensure that one’s welfare could be maintained, health care, benefits or job protection. No insurance for burial or to take care of the loved ones left behind. These fraternal groups filled the gap until such services were established.

Where did the group meet?

They occupied the second floor of the Masonic Building located on Main Street in Springville. Next to the hardware store, look on the third floor of the red brick building.

We can read in the newspapers when amounts were paid out to members. In 1892, Clark Ferrin fell on the ice and injured his arm, he received a check for $20 from the Odd Fellows Life and Accident Association.

That same year, V.O. Woodward and Henry Colvin received checks for $60 and $70 for their injuries.

What of the wives and women?

Women could join the Rebekah Lodge #335, which was organized here in Springville on April 27, 1905. They had a Beehive as an emblem, which represented the hives (the lodge) and the bees, which were the busy members of the lodge.

In 1907, there were 60 members in this local lodge. The Nobel Grand was Rose E. Dean, the Vice Grand was Dora Horning, Financial Secretary Maryette Cooper and Treasurer was Libbie Brace.

Any woman could join and did not have to have a spouse who was a member of the Odd Fellows.

A general rule they followed was to live peaceably, do good unto all, as well as to follow the Golden Rule of “Whatsoever ye would that others should do unto you, do ye even so unto them.”

In the newspapers, we see where they had socials and served warm sugar, picnics, apron sales, ice cream socials, along with musicals.

Of course, some of the events were put on by both the Odd Fellows and the Rebekah. The Rebekahs would also post when they were meeting and what was going on with the group in the newspapers, so we can follow what they did as well.

Other Groups

In the Directories of Springville, there is contact information for all of these organizations, under Secret Societies.

Did any of your ancestors belong to any of the Societies that were in Springville? Do you have photographs of them? We would love to see them at the Lucy Bensley Center!

Do you have any information from the past that you would share with us? Any ideas for stories to see here in the Springville Times? We would love to hear them!

You can stop by any Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 23 North Buffalo St., email us at lucybensleycenter@gmail.com or call us at 592-0094.