The Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.) is a fraternal organization that split from the English Odd Fellows organizations which originated during the early part of the 1700′s when charitable and selfless acts were not common. The American branch became the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the number of lodges in the United States increased until every State in the United States had a lodge. The Civil War saw a great number of Lodges close as membership plummeted but rebounded a little after the war. The Great Depression also struck a blow to membership as many were unable to afford membership.
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows had two lodges in Ellwood City, the Glenn Park Lodge 1016 instituted Sept 10, 1891 and the Alferetta Rebekah Lodge 142 instituted Oct 14, 1902. The Glenn Park Lodge met every Thursday in the Schweiger Building (601 Lawrence Avenue). The Odd Fellows’ ladies’ auxiliary in Ellwood City was known as the “Daughters of Rebekah”.
Ellwood City Lodge 9 of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows came about by consolidation of Glen Park Lodge, Refuge Lodge, and Wampum Lodge 865 instituted Jan 22, 1874. The consolidation of the three lodges was instituted Jan 20 1932, by Grand Master Rev. Simon Sipple, other Grand Lodge officers.
The name Ellwood City Lodge No. 9 was suggested to the Grand Lodge by the secretary Lawrence Rabberman and adopted by the Grand Lodge without question. During the following years the lodge supported a softball team in the I.O.O.F. league of Beaver Valley (they won the championship in a playoff with Freedom); they also had a team in the Civic Bowling League.
The lodge contributed to the support of the Wayside Inn, I.O.O.F. home in Grove City, PA and Orphans Home in Meadville, PA. The independent Order of Odd Fellows is the oldest fraternal organization in the United States. The newly formed Lodge 9 continued for many years though last record I can find is 1967.
Originally Published April 20, 2009