The Independent Order of Odd Fellows
In 17th century England, it was odd to find people organized for the purpose of giving aid to those in need and of pursuing projects for the benefit of all mankind. Those who belonged to such an organization were called “Odd Fellows.”
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) was founded on the North American continent in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 26, 1819, when Thomas Wildey and four members of of the Order from England instituted Washington Lodge No. 1. This lodge received its charter from the Manchester Unity of Odd Fellows in England.
Odd Fellowship became the first national fraternity to include both men and women when it adopted the beautiful Rebekah Degree on September 20, 1851. This Degree is based on teachings found in the Holy Bible, and was written by the Honorable Schuyler Colfax, who was Vice President of the United States during the period 1868-1873.
California Odd Fellowship
The “Three Link Fraternity” was officially established in California on September 9, 1849, with the institution of California Lodge No. 1 in San Francisco. This was one year to the day before California was admitted to the Union as the 31st state. From this golden seed Lodges soon became established throughout California.
Coping with ever-changing conditions throughout or universe, maintaining a viable service-driven organization, dealing with important environmental, social and community service issues, and charting a future course for growth and prosperity—these are among the many goals of Odd Fellows and Rebekahs throughout California and the world.
In addition to local community service, California Odd Fellowship is involved with medical support and research into arthritis, diseases of the eye, and heart disease; education, through scholarships and student loan programs; drug abuse prevention; and numerous other service and education-related programs.