Sovereign Grand Lodge

Portrait of Thomas Widley

Thomas Widley - Founder of Washington Lodge No.1

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. At that time, the city was suffering both a yellow fever epidemic and mass unemployment so they dedicated the organization to “Visit the sick, relieve the distress, bury the dead and educate the orphans.”

Today, Odd Fellows and Rebekahs continue to exist with nearly 10,000 lodges in approximately 26 countries consisting of men and women who united together for mutual aid and conviviality, providing social and practical support for each other and their communities in every way possible. Even though we have come a long way now, there are still more needs to be done. Working together to achieve these goals and help our fellow men creates a bond that cannot be described – a brotherhood and sisterhood of benevolence that can only be felt as an active participant. Working together, we can really help make a difference!

Visit the IOOF Sovereign Grand Lodge website to learn more about our organization and what it means to be an Odd Fellow.

Need Odd Fellow logos for your publication? Visit the Sovereign Grand Lodge and download IOOF clip art.

The Odd Fellows are proud of their many facilities available for Odd Fellows, Rebekahs, and their families.  Visit the Sovereign Grand Lodge for a complete list of recreation parks, camp grounds and youth camps offered by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.  See where you might schedule your next vacation.