Independent Order of Odd Fellows

Originally founded in England in 1745, the American branch of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows was organized in Baltimore in 1819 by Thomas Wildey (1782-1861). Like Freemasons, Odd Fellows must profess a belief in the existence of a Supreme Being. The Odd Fellows, like Freemasonry, has a three-degree structure for initiation, although the specific rituals are different from Freemasonry.  They also employ some of the same symbols, like the all-seeing eye, winged hourglass and the scales of justice.  However, the three-link chain with the initials “FLT” (for Friendship, Love and Truth), is a symbol unique to the Odd Fellows. The group is sometimes referred to as the Three Link Fraternity. By 1907, the Odd Fellows had almost one million members.  All members contributed to a fund that was used to assist sick and distressed members, as well as their widows and orphans.  In 1851, the group’s female auxiliary, the Daughters of Rebekah, was founded.