The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 8
The general correspondence with the Grand Scribes, Grand Secretaries, D. D. Grand Sires, and other local officers, discloses the annual progress in each jurisdiction, which, with the tabular statements of annual reports received, present a satisfactory exhibit of the condition of the Order. Grand Secretaries and Grand Scribes usually accompany the returns with valuable information concerning their respective jurisdictions and the G. C. and R. Secretary, as heretofore, takes pleasure in submitting brief extracts from such letters:
Alabama.—On the 18th of March the report of the Grand Encampment was received from Bro. L. R. Mckee, R. W. Grand Scribe, who advised as follows:
"We have lost in membership during the year, which result can only be attributed to financial depression within the jurisdiction. We comfort ourselves with the reflection that dawn soon follows the darkest hour, and hope that the future will be brighter for this branch of our beloved Order."
On the 1st of April the returns of the Grand Lodge were received from Bro. William A. Shields R. W. Grand Secretary, with the following:
"The reports from Subordinates are not flattering. But one reason for this can be given, and that is the universal business stagnation throughout this entire land. The loss by suspension for non-payment of dues overbalances the additions by initiation, card, and reinstatement. This heavy loss is caused by three Lodges being declared extinct for failure to report for the length of time required by our Constitution. Then, the hand of death has been laid heavily upon us during the past year, eighteen out of a membership of less than twelve hundred being a very large mortality. Among those who have "joined the innumerable host" were three of our oldest and best workers, one of whom was Isaiah Dili, P. G. M., P. G. P., and P. G. Rep.
"What the future will develop for us is beyond our present ken. The northern portion of our State is being rapidly settled with emigrants from the north and west, and already there are indications that several new Lodges will be established in the portions of the State that have been most favored by an influx of population.
"We have also partially perfected an endowment plan which we expect to put in operation in a short time, and which it is thought will materially add to the stability of the Order, if it does not greatly increase the membership.
"I hoped to be able to give you a satisfactory report of the status of the Rebekah Degree in this State, but the Secretaries of the Subordinates did not aid my efforts in that direction to the extent I anticipated, consequently I have had only meagre returns, which I have arranged to the best of my ability."
Arizona.—The report of Arizona Lodge, No. 1, for the year 1877, has not been received, notwithstanding several requests have been made for it
Arkansas.—The report of the Grand Lodge came to hand March 19th. Bro. Peter Brugman., R. W. Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe, writes as follows:
"Odd Fellowship in Arkansas is making its way slowly but surely, and another period of general prosperity in our country will place it far in the van of all similar institutions.
"There seems to be a wild furor throughout the Order in favor of 'Endowments,' or, more properly speaking, 'Life Insurance,' and while I do not partake in the slightest degree of the excitement, and have little confidence in the systems proposed yet I think good might be effected by making such insurance 'the feature' of the Encampment branch of the Order, abolishing sick benefits, which few Encampments pay. This arrangement might result in greater perfection of the proposed system, and what is more or equally important, create a renewed interest in the Patriarchal branch, of which page 8 there is a present need. Should such a scheme fail no harm would result to the great body of our noble Order."
The report of the Grand Encampment was received August 1st, exhibiting 7 Encampments and 124 members. Bro. Brugman wrote in explanation as follows:
"The reports of Subordinates for the first term of 1877 were destroyed in the fire that consumed our hall in October last, and I have but two reports for the second term. I have done everything in my power to get returns, without success. To keep up our Encampments is a continual struggle as there are but two points in our jurisdiction which have more than one Lodge from which to draw membership, and the average membership of our Lodges is too small to give stability to the Encampments. The outlook is by no means encouraging; but I assure you our zeal is equal to the emergency, and we will labor to the end, and if the end must come, it will be because we cannot conquer the inevitable."
Australasia.—See Foreign Correspondence.
Barbados.—See Foreign Correspondence.
British Columbia, Canada.—Bro James D. Robinson, R. W. Grand Secretary, under date of March 8,1878 (received March 22d), writes as follows:
"Inclosed I hand you returns of this Grand Lodge to 31st of December, 1877. We have not elected any Representative this year, as we cannot afford to pay the expense. The dues I will remit after I receive the amounts due by our Subordinates in July.
"Would you kindly inform me whether it will be necessary to forward a new petition for the remission of our dues, or will the one sent last year and referred to the Committee on Finance be brought up without any further action from me?"
The Grand Secretary adds this item to the return: "Current expenses of Lodges, $2,806.26, which amount to about 26 per cent, of the receipts."
The two Encampments (Vancouver, No. 1, and Harmony, No.2) in this Province, are under the jurisdiction of the Grand Encampment of Oregon.
California.—The returns of the Grand Lodge and Grand Encampment were received June 29th, from Bro. W. B. Lyon, R. W. Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe. We are without other information than is exhibited in the reports. We find the following special remarks on the Grand Lodge return: "Increase of Lodges, 10; increase of members, 528; total receipts, $458 888.29; paid for current expenses, $151,348.48; paid for relief, $160,-254 35; total expenditures, $311,602.83; net gain, $147,285.46; total assets, $1,679,906.04; average per member for expenses, $7.30; for relief, $7.73; total average, $15 03; average per member of receipts, $22.14; of assets, $81.04; average age of members, 38.40." The Grand Encampment report exhibits an increase of 111 members. The Degree Lodges of the Daughters of Rebekah appear to be in prosperous condition.
We acknowledge the receipt from G. Secretary Lyon of a very interesting table of the statistics of the Lodges in San Francisco for the year ending Dec. 31, 1877.
Chile.—See Foreign Correspondence.
Colorado.—The returns of the Grand Lodge and Grand Encampment were received May 11th, from Bro. John L. Bell, R. W. Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe, and exhibit an increase of 48 in the Lodge and 31 in the Encampment membership.
Connecticut.—The report of the Grand Lodge was received on the 30th January, the Grand Encampment, February 5th, and the Rebekah report, February 12th. Bro. Frederick Botsford. R. W. Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe, under date of January 29th, advised:
"The report of the Grand Lodge shows a gratifying increase both in membership and finances, and notwithstanding the continued depression in business interests our prospects for the future are very encouraging. We re- instituted one of the old Lodges on New Year's night, and we have one or two more nearly ready.page 9
"The pleasure and joy at the prosperous condition of our beloved Order are greatly subdued by the sad news of the death of Past Grand Sire Stuart in addition to that of Nathan Porter. The Order has met with a severe loss in the death of these two devoted Odd Fellows, and while we feel keenly and deeply their loss, we have great reason to thank God for the good example they have set and for the good work done for humanity."
On the 9th of February, Bro. Botsford wrote: "Only 9 of the 14 Rebekah Lodges have reported, although all were specially notified that the report must be in on or before the 31st of January. I forward the report in an imperfect condition, and have reported the delinquents to the G. Master, hoping that this action may have a salutary effect. Last year by hard drumming I obtained all reports by the second week in May. I wish, if a report must be made, that it could be simplified by giving, for instance, round number of membership without regard to sex, additions, or reductions; amount paid out and received, and amount of benefits. I can see very little value in a report like this."
Dakota.—On the 26th of April the report of the Grand Lodge was received from Bro. Ralph R. Briggs, R. W. Grand Secretary, who is also D. D. G. Sire for this jurisdiction, and transmitted the reports of the three Encampments in good season. Bro. Briggs, under date of April 20th, wrote:
"We are slowly but surely progressing in this jurisdiction, having increased our membership 111 during the year 1877. We instituted Sioux Lodge, No. 14, at Standing Rock, March 2, 1878. We are not in favor of establishing Lodges of the Degree of Rebekah at present, the condition of the country being such as would preclude a hope of success."
The Encampments exhibit a slight decrease of membership.
Delaware.—The Grand Lodge returns were received on the 23d of January, from Isaac W. Hallam, R. W. Grand Secretary, who says:
"With feelings of regret, I direct your attention to the details furnished by the report of this jurisdiction. You will notice the work of depletion goes bravely on, fully one tenth of the membership having been suspended for non-payment of dues. Apparently, there is no practical remedy to prevent these losses, as the agricultural districts suffer alike with the cities. Many of our Lodges are in dire extremity; a moiety of prosperity may save them, but a little more adversity will prove their speedy destruction. One Lodge has succumbed during the year, but its fate is due as much to other causes as to financial depression. Although there is very little of an encouraging nature to write of. or to cheer us, we intend to fight a good warfare and aim at any victory within the hope of success."
The report of the Grand Encampment was received on the 19th of July, its transmission having been delayed on account of the severe illness of Bro. Edwin Hirst, R. W. Grand Scribe, as appears by the following letter from him:
"While I very much regret the adverse circumstances and severe physical suffering which caused the preparation of the report to be delayed, I must return to you my heartfelt thanks for your forbearance in waiting so patiently, knowing, as I do, the importance of having the returns at hand in proper season. I would not have put you to the inconvenience of waiting so long had I been able to control all the circumstances.
"We have added one more Encampment to our list, which enables us (although having a general slight falling off in the older Encampments) to show a net gain in membership over our last report. The Patriarchal branch in this jurisdiction still seems to hold its average ratio to the Order at large of about 14 to 17 or 18 per cent"
Denmark.—See Foreign Correspondence.
District of Columbia.—The report of the Grand Encampment was trans-mitted by Bro. Thomas W. Fowler, R. W. Grand Scribe, on the 23d of January, with the following:
"It will be seen that the admissions to the Encampments have been very few, whilst the suspensions have been greater than ever, caused, principally, page 10 by the extreme depression of business and want of employment, yet there must be some other reason for such a great loss of membership. The Grand Encampment, at its session on the 15th inst, amended the Constitution of Subordinates by reducing the Encampment admission fee, placing it where it was a few years ago, also, permitting members to be reinstated upon payment of one year's dues. I am of opinion that this legislation will stop the loss of membership, if it does not add to our numbers during the current year. Should it, however, prove otherwise, then indeed the outlook for the Patriarchal branch of the Order in this jurisdiction is very gloomy."
On the 2d of March the report of the Grand Lodge and Rebekah report were received from Bro. P. Hall Sweet, R. W. Grand Secretary, who remarked:
"Taking into consideration the varied circumstances by which we have been surrounded, the Order here has cause of congratulation for its present healthy condition."
Florida.—The report of the Grand Lodge was received July 20th, with the following from Bro. Robert D. Murray, R. W. Grand Secretary:
"You will see that we have gained 20 members the past year, an average of two to a Lodge. The Order is improving in tone, spirit, and work, but is languid, in unison with the times, which can be no harder in other sections than in our State. Our prospects for the next two years are cheering, and we hope to soon give you a better report. Our Spanish venture in Cuba Lodge is a grand success, and if Cuba was liberally governed, No. 15 (and No. 1 of our Latin progeny) would at once begin to plant the Order in that lovely isle. The Spanish translation gives tolerably good satisfaction, but in a few points can be improved."
Bro. Murray was elected Grand Secretary at the session of the G. L. of Florida in April and until notified to forward the report was under the impression that his predecessor had attended to the duty; hence the delay.
The returns of the four Encampments were received in good season, and exhibit a slight increase in membership.
Bro. L. M. Merritt, D. D. G. Sire, on the 18th of February, wrote:
"I regret that the past year shows so little improvement in the Patriarchal branch of the Order in this jurisdiction, but the causes operating against us are now, in part, dispelled. Excelsior, No. 4, has barely maintained its organization, but at the last meeting four applications for membership were received. I think we have seen our darkest days."
Georgia.—The returns of the Grand Lodge, Grand Encampment, and Rebekah Lodges were received May 17th from Bro. John G. Deitz, R. W. Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe, who advised as follows:
"You will find that we number as many Subordinates as we reported last year. Two Lodges have been instituted and two surrendered their Charters during the year 1877. The membership has decreased slightly, but in the main we are in fair condition. The Lodges in the cities are energetic, but the country Lodges are not doing much. The Encampment branch remains about the same no new Encampments having been instituted since our last report. I fear that one or two of our number are weak. Nine Lodges of the Degree of Rebekah have been chartered in this jurisdiction, but only one has reported; the others are apparently doing nothing.
"There may be causes for the failure of the Order to increase in our State. Several new Orders have been introduced that have attractions such as the insurance feature, and many are connecting themselves with these institutions."
German Empire.—See Foreign Correspondence.
Great Britain.—See Foreign Correspondence.
Idaho.—The report of Idaho Encampment, No. 1, was received February 25th. Bro. Samuel Beck, D. D. G. Sire, writes that he is 'sorry the Encampment can make no better show in membership and receipts, but the general stagnation of all kinds of business and scarcity of money is the cause page 11 thereof. We have already two new members this term, with a promise of some more in a few weeks, and I think we do as well as can be expected."
The Lodges in this Territory are under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Oregon.
Under date of July 13th Bro. Beck advises of the installation of the officers of Idaho Encampment, and adds: 'They have at this time 23 members in good standing and but for the troubled times we would count a few more."
Illinois.—On the 1st of April the report of the Grand Encampment was received from Bro. J. C. Smith, R. W. Grand Scribe, who thus advised:
"The loss of 249 members is not because we have suspended more than in former years, but that we have not initiated as many. Our members have done well, but the 'hard times' have prevented the usual number of applications for initiation, admission by card, and reinstatement; in this is our loss. The number of working Encampments is the same as last year. No new ones have been organized, and no Charters surrendered, and we hope to have no cause to recall any. The general opinion is that we have Encampments enough if they were only judiciously located throughout the State, and we are now engaged in trying to secure so desirable an end. Several Encampments that have been lying dormant have been roused up so far as to petition for removal to more eligible locations, and with the change has come some activity."
The returns of the Grand Lodge were received April 8th, from Bro. N. C. Nason, R. W. Grand Secretary, who, under date of July 27th, wrote as follows:
"For the first time since I have held the office of Grand Secretary, I was compelled to report, for the year 1877, a decrease in membership in this jurisdiction. To enter upon an investigation and exposition of the causes which have produced this result is wholly superfluous. They are known to all. We should feel well satisfied that our loss was so small, in the midst of general stagflation of business, pinching poverty, and even actual destitution among those who heretofore had been strangers to such a state of things.
"Briefly, the totals show, as compared with those for the year 1876, a net loss in membership of 2? per cent, a falling off in revenue of 2 per cent., and an increase in relief of 2½ per cent. The loss in membership comes mainly from the excess of droppings for non-payment over initiations; the reduction in revenue can be wholly accounted for by the diminished receipts from fees for membership and degrees, while the increase in relief expenditures is found in payment of burial expenses, aid to the widow and the orphan, and special relief.
"Those of our Lodges whose finances are managed with prudence and ordinary business foresight meet all their obligations promptly, are strengthening their resources, and generally hold their membership. But many follow the haphazard style, accumulate no funds, and are liable at any time to be rendered bankrupt by unusual drafts for relief. Some are profiting by the lessons of the past and the certain prospect of ruin as the result of persistence in the course heretofore pursued, and are mending their ways: it is to be hoped that all will do so in time to save themselves from total wreck.
"Notwithstanding the continued financial depression, the diminished returns for labor, and the large number of men wholly or partially destitute of employment, the Order in this jurisdiction is already beginning to recover its losses. Of 576 Lodges from which reports were expected for the term ending June 30, 1878, reports are now received from 470, showing an aggregate net gain of 175 members in six months. This gain will probably be reduced, and may be wiped out entirely, by the 106 reports yet to come; but evidently the wave of adversity has been stayed, and we can with some degree of confidence look for a return of our wonted prosperity in the not distant future. '
Indiana.—On the 9th of May, with the reports of the Grand Lodge, Grand page 12 Encampment and Rebekah Degree Lodges, we received from Bro. B. F. Foster, R. W. Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe, the following:
"Owing to the fact that many of our Lodges and Encampments have failed to report until a late date, I have been unable to forward my annual reports as early as I would have desired. I had hoped that by the close of the year 1877, we should have been able to make a better showing than in my preceding report. In this respect my hopes have not been realized. A comparison of the figures will show quite a loss of membership. This is accounted for by the continued depression in the marts of business and industrial pursuits, causing many to forfeit their membership, as well as lessening the number of those who would otherwise seek admission to our Lodges. We have however suffered less than might have been expected in view of the utter prostration of all kinds of business, as well as the failure in crops for two or three consecutive years. We are thankful that our condition is no worse, and that the report of the Grand Lodge shows, December 31, 1877, 518 working Lodges and a contributing membership of 25,146. With resources amounting to $1,233,852.24, and annual receipts of $218,615.86, it will be seen that our financial condition is all that could be desired, while our relief report will fall but little below that of any preceding year. The prospect of a fine fruit crop and an abundant harvest of grain, as well as the visible signs of a returning prosperity in the business world, is having a marked effect upon our Order. One Lodge has already had during the present term, beginning January 1, 1878, over thirty accessions, while others that have been dormant for a long time are doing proportionally well.
"I regret that I am unable to report anything favorable with regard to our Rebekah Lodges. While our records show 189 Charters issued, there are only some 30 or 40 Lodges from which we have had any reports for several years. Though we have taken steps to secure the return of Charters where Lodges have ceased to work, but few have as yet been returned. With the close of the present year we shall endeavor to enforce a compliance with the law of the G. L. of U. S., with regard to a forfeiture of Charters where Lodges fail to report. Some three or four Lodges are doing well, while a few more are making their meetings attractive in a social point of view; but aside from this, no tangible results are produced. As the late changes with regard to the office of N. G., etc., have only gone into effect with the present term, it is too soon to predict the result of this change. That it may prove beneficial is our sincere wish and desire."
Indian Territory.—Bro. Israel W. Stone, D. D. G. Sire, also Secretary of Caddo Lodge, No. 1, forwarded the report of his Lodge at an early day, as it reached this office on the 31st day of December, 1877. The reports of Nos. 2 and 3 were received January 7th and 16th. An increase of 15 in the membership of the jurisdiction is exhibited.
Erin Springs Lodge, No. 4, was instituted at Erin Springs on the 29th of June, concerning which Bro. Stone wrote: "I experienced considerable trouble in getting a sufficient number of brothers to go with me, the distance was so great. It is 110 miles, and we had to procure a team for the journey. We had very bad weather, and it required ten days to make the trip. However, the job is done. I initiated and conferred the degrees upon four persons, and think the Lodge, with proper management, will prosper, as there is more material in that part of the Territory than here—more white men."
Bro. Stone also advised that "Caddo Lodge has completed the new hall, and now holds its meetings there."
Iowa.—The report of the Grand Lodge was received April 15th, and the Grand Encampment report on the 6th of June. Bro. William Garrett, B. W. Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe, under date of April 10th, wrote:
"I have the pleasure of inclosing report from Grand Lodge of Iowa nearly one month earlier than usual, and to inform you that every one of the 336 Lodges in our jurisdiction have made reports for 1877. You will observe that our gain is not so much as heretofore, but we have the satisfaction of page 13 reporting an addition of 12 Lodges and 441 members in 1877, which, considering the extreme hard times in this country for the last three or four years, is certainly gratifying. There are but few of our Lodges that are not gaining some, and I believe few that will be unable to sustain themselves and keep at work in the good cause. We have fallen off slightly in receipts, but reports show nearly all the Lodges to be in good, healthy condition. Since December 31, 1877, we have issued Dispensations for live new Lodges, and not a Charter has been surrendered, so we have to-day at work, 341 Lodges. The average age of members in this jurisdiction is 41 years.
"Will send report from Rebekah Lodges as soon as I can. Reports come in slow, as I have only 31 out of 93 Lodges, but we intend to have the reports or reclaim the Charters."
On the 1st of June, accompanying the report of the Grand Encampment, Bro. Garrett advised:
"I have delayed the return, hoping to get reports from all the Subordinates, but have been disappointed. Three have not made returns, and I fear they will have to surrender their Charters. Since January 1st we have issued Dispensations for two new Encampments. The extreme hard times, throwing so many brothers out of employment, keep them from joining the Patriarchal branch of the Order, and have caused many Patriarchs to be dropped. With a return of prosperity we will take a new start and soon regain all we have lost. You will see that we gained five Encampments and 125 Patriarchs in 1877. We paid less for relief, and our annual receipts have also been less, but we have no reason to be discouraged, and are not. I expect to report next year 100 Encampments and 3,500 Patriarchs."
Kansas.—The reports of the Grand Lodge, Grand Encampment, and Rebekah Lodges were received April 16th. Bro. Samuel F. Burdett, R. W. Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe, writes: "Owing to a long and severe illness, from which I have scarcely recovered, I feel unable to write you any lengthy report other than contained in the regular returns."
The Grand Lodge report shows a gain of 96, and the Grand Encampment report a loss of 67 members.
Kentucky.—On the 6th of April the Grand Lodge, Grand Encampment, and Rebekah reports were received from Bro. William White, R. W. Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe, with the following:
"The reports, I regret to say, still show a general falling off, as compared with former years. I had fondly hoped for the lifting of the cloud that has been hanging over us, and to be cheered by the light of our former prosperity, but in regard to the increase of the work, adding to our membership and Subordinates, I have not realized my hopes and anticipations of writing progress in either branch of the Order. Still I do not feel discouraged, as I see and find no diminution in the spirit, zeal, and good work of the Order. The good work of 'The Benefit Association,' inaugurated at the last session of our Grand Lodge, which is now cheering and imparting new life to the jurisdiction, must tell with great effect on the future interest and welfare of the Order here. The Rebekah Degree Lodge report is almost a copy of the former, and I am compelled to say that little or no interest seems to exist in this department."
Louisiana.—The returns of the Grand Lodge and Grand Encampment were received May 6th from Bro. Luther Homes, Acting Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe, who wrote:
"I am sure you will excuse this almost unpardonable delay, as Bro. F. W. Delesdernier, R. W. Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe, has been and is still very sick and unable to attend to any work. I am attending to the business as well as my time will permit, but not to my entire satisfaction."
The reports exhibit a slight increase in Lodge and Encampment membership.
Later information from Bro. Homes advises: "Bro. F. W. Delesdernier, late R. W. Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe, died on the 6th of June, and was buried in a very quiet manner."page 14
Lower Provinces, British North America.—The report of the Grand Lodge, transmitted by Bro. J. C. P. Frazee, R. W. Grand Secretary came to hand May 14th. with a letter as follows:
"You will observe that our membership has increased somewhat, notwithstanding the hard times and disasters to which we have been subjected. The great fire at St. John on the 20th June, 1877, seems to have given quite an impetus to the progress of the Order in that city. The noble manner in which the brotherhood, far and near, came unsolicited to the assistance of the sufferers by that great calamity, has shown that the philanthropy of our Order is something more than a name, and, whether from that cause or not, the membership of the St. John Lodges has increased more than in other parts of the jurisdiction. The number of Lodges is now 27, two having been recently organized—one of them late in 1877, and the other in February. The Order may be considered in a healthy condition throughout the jurisdiction."
The reports of Stuart Encampment, No. 10; Halifax, No. 12, and Port La Joie, No. 13, have been received, exhibiting an addition of 37 to the membership. No report has been received from Milicete Encampment, No. 11, located at St. John. Bro. Andre Cushing, D. D. G. Sire, on the 8th of February wrote: "Milicete Encampment has not held a meeting since the fire. Steps are now in progress for re-organizing." And on the 28th of the same month he said: "A meeting will be held to-night for re-organization;" but on the 6th of July he advised: "Milicete Encampment does not propose to surrender, but, having met with a good many obstructions, has been unable to resume work as contemplated."
Maine.—Bro. Joshua Davis, R. W Grand Secretary, forwarded the reports of the Grand Lodge, on the 13th of February, with the following:
"The Grand Lodge report will show, on examination, that this jurisdiction has still continued to increase in finances and membership, notwithstanding the general depression in business throughout the country. You will observe that we have gained eight Lodges, and 1,052 members, and paid $26,716 for relief. The Rebekah Degree branch has also continued to increase, having gained three Lodges and 348 members.
|Members.||Weeks' benefits paid.|
|From 21 to 25 years||60||331|
|From 25 to 30 years||95||763|
|From 30 to 35 years||71||469|
|From 35 to 40 years||75||619|
|From 40 to 45 years||74||497|
|From 45 to 50 years||48||402|
|From 50 to 55 years||41||413|
|From 55 to 60 years||30||290|
|From 60 to 65 years||25||321|
|From 65 to 70 years||17||495|
|From 70 to 75 years||16||310|
|From 75 to 80 years||9||247|
|From 80 to 85 years||6||196|
Bro. Davis adds to his report the following items: "Current expenses, separate from benefits and charities, $31,661.78: invested funds, $171,957.05."
On the 23d of February the report of the Grand Encampment was received from Bro. N. G. Cummings, R. W. Grand Scribe, who thus advised:
"I am happy in being able to state that the best of feeling prevails throughout the jurisdiction. In view of the 'hard times' and general depression of business, we think we have made a fair record in increasing the membership 244 during the past year."page 15
Manitoba, Canada.—The report of Manitoba Lodge, No. 1, was received February 12th, exhibiting 51 members, an increase of 3; receipts, $626.88; relief, $140.67. We are without returns from North Star Lodge, No. 2, and it is feared the Lodge is defunct. On the 24th of December, Bro. J. Randolph Cameron, D. D. G. Sire, transmitted a letter addressed to him by Wm. H. Saunders, N. G. of North Star Lodge, No. 2, dated Winnipeg, Dec. 3, 1877, authorizing him to "take possession of the Charter, books, and effects of the Lodge, and hold the same subject to the order of the G. L. of U. S." The N. G. also stated: "I am forced into this step by the fact of being unable to open the Lodge since my accession to the position of Noble Grand, for want of a quorum." Bro. Cameron asked for instructions as to the disposition of the property, and stated that the few working members of No. 2 desired to "join Manitoba Lodge, No. 1, and amalgamate the widow and orphan fund of No. 2 with the W. and O. fund of No. 1." The District Deputy was urged to resuscitate the Lodge if possible, but if the Lodge could not be maintained, he was directed to "take possession of the Charter and effects and forward a schedule of the same to this office, together with the funds, which will be held in trust subject to the action of the G. L. of U. S. at its session in September next" He was further informed: "When the funds are received, with a schedule of the Charter, books, and other property certified as being in your possession, and a list of the members with the rank attained, and the indebtedness of each is furnished, cards will be issued from this office to those who apply and pay their dues to the time of surrendering. The G. L. of U. S. is the only power that can authorize the W. and O. fund of North Star Lodge to be transferred to Manitoba Lodge, and if such transfer is desired, proper application must be made. The Lodge reported 31 members on the 31st of December, 1876, and was apparently in good condition at that time; we can therefore find no good reason for disbanding it in so short a time. It is no credit to a jurisdiction to have a young Lodge so soon surrender its Charter, and while in other Provinces, States, and Territories greater financial difficulties have been encountered and surmounted than any (so far as we can learn) your people have been called to meet, we submit a strong effort should be made to maintain North Star Lodge, No. 2."
The next and the last letter from the District Deputy is dated February 4th, in which he says: "In regard to North Star Lodge, I called a meeting of the members, and there is a probability of a resuscitation. If the members use reasonable energy, there is no reason why they should not succeed in raising the Lodge to a prosperous condition."
No report has been received from Harmony Encampment, No. 1.
Maryland. - On the 12th of February the returns of the Grand Lodge and Grand Encampment were presented by Bro. John M. Jones, R. W. Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe, with the following:
"Upon examining the reports you will observe that we have decreased somewhat in membership during the past year, which is due solely to the continuation of the depressed condition of business of all kinds. Yet the decrease during the past year is considerable less than the year previous, and I trust that the future will be more bright."
Massachusetts.—The reports of the Grand Lodge and Grand Encampment were received April 1st, with the following from Bro. Charles D. Cole, R, W. Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe:
"It is with pleasure that, notwithstanding the depression in business, I am again able to report to you that the Order in this State is in a very flourishing condition. In fact Odd Fellowship appears to be more appreciated than ever before. It is gaining an envied reputation for good deeds and works and is attracting the attention of the best members of society. Our Lodge meetings are well attended, and the interest which has so long prevailed does not seem to abate, but is still on the increase, and the members appear determined to do their utmost in carrying out the great principles inculcated in our ritual.page 16
"During the past year four new halls have been dedicated; one old Lodge has been revived and live new Lodges have been instituted, making the total number of working Lodges in this jurisdiction one hundred and forty. We have made a net increase in membership of 835, and had on the 1st of January 22,520 members, which I think is a very good number for this small jurisdiction. We have lost by death 214, and paid for funeral benefits $9,483.10. We have also paid $41,542.44 for 10,160 weeks' sickness, and $5,424.26 for the relief of widowed families. The total paid for relief amounted to $64,511.41, and the receipts amounted to $191,915.57.
"The Patriarchal branch has been rather quiet during the year. Three new Encampments were instituted, making a total of 44 Encampments, with a membership of 6,078. They have paid $6,941.65 for 306 weeks' benefits, and $1,510.41 for the burial of Patriarchs. The total relief amounted to $8,872.72, receipts, $27,741.10.
"In the Rebekah Degree the number of Lodges is the same as last year, and nearly all appear to be in a healthy condition. Some of them are increasing in membership, and their meetings are interesting, but this is owing to the individual efforts of their members, who are indefatigable in their exertions to sustain the degree and make the meetings attractive. We have now 28 Lodges, with a membership of 3,239, being a net gain during the past year of 189. The expenditure for relief was $508.09, total receipts, $4,018.40, and the assets of the Lodges aggregate $10,958.31."
Michigan.—On the 10th of June the returns of the Grand Lodge and Grand Encampment were received from Bro. E. H. Whitney, R. W. Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe, who advised as follows:
"For the first time in many years we yield to the pressure of universal decline, and report a loss in membership during the year 1877. While we are able to report an addition to our force of 23 new Lodges, yet the large list of suspensions for non-payment of dues reduces our aggregate membership below our last report. This we observe is true of many of the older and stronger jurisdictions, and with them we are determined to struggle manfully for the truth, hoping soon to return to the path of success in the increase of numbers. Our fair State is destined to hold her rank and position, and our guards are at their posts, doing active service, and ready to do their every duty promptly.
"I also inclose the report of our Degree Lodges of Rebekah and regret to say they yet remain feeble, although they seem to say to us, 'We are pledged not to weary in well doing.' I am inclined to the belief that the legislation by the G. L. of U S. at its last session, will give many of them the relief they have long sought."
Under date of July 15th, Bro. Whitney advised: "Our reports for term ending June 30, 1878, are coming in promptly and indicate a very prosperous condition and increase of membership in many of the Lodges and Encampments. we hope to regain the losses of 1877 during the year 1878."
Minnesota.—The report of the Grand Encampment was received March 25th from Bro. J. Fletcher Williams, R. W. Grand Scribe, who wrote; "Notwithstanding the unprecedentedly severe monetary stringency, you can see we have made a small gain. We have petitions in hand for two new Encampments, which we shall institute in a few days. We feel encouraged and believe a prosperous season is at hand."
The report of the Grand Lodge was received April 25th from Bro. Sherwood Hough, R. W. Grand Secretary, who wrote as follows:
"Reports have been received from all the Subordinate Lodges with but one exception. You will notice that we have gained five Lodges and 409 members during the year. But one of the twelve Rebekah Lodges has furnished a report for the year ending Dec. 31, 1877, and I therefore deem it unnecessary to send you a report for that branch of the Order. In view of the continued hard times and the fact that several other societies founded on plans similar to our own have made special efforts to work up large memberships during the past year, we feel that our increase has been entirely satisfactory."page 17
Under date of July 26th, Bro. Hough wrote: "You may safely say that Rebekah Degree Lodges are 'played out' in Minnesota."
Mississippi.—On the 22d of April the returns of the Grand Lodge and Grand ncampment were received from Bro. James T. McCown, R. W. Gr. Secretary and Grand Scribe, who advised:
"There has been a slight falling off in membership in this jurisdiction since our last report, caused by surrender of the Charter of our oldest Lodge, but during the present term two new Lodges will be instituted and Lodge No. 17 will be revived. All of them are located in thriving towns, and will add largely to our membership, as well as encourage other Lodges to work with more energy. The Grand Encampment return exhibits an increase of twenty-six members "
Missouri.—The report of the Grand Lodge was received June 4th from Bro. E. M. Sloan, R. W. Grand Secretary, who thus advised:
"We think we may claim the congratulations of our brethren both East and West in that we have not only maintained our ground, but really gained some in membership, revenue, and permanent investments during these late years when so many interests have suffered from the almost unprecedented 'hard times,' scarcity of profitable labor, and great difficulty of remunerative investments. Our membership, as evidenced by the attendance and zeal of the members of the Grand Lodge, just closed, was never more in earnest than now; never more willing to labor for the growth, influence, and extension of our Order; never more determined to do the full measure of duty; never more anxious to understand and appreciate the full scope of our mission, and never more enthused with the contemplation of our God-appointed destiny. Ought not we to more and more feel the pressing importance of the labor before us and really esteem it but a labor of love?"
On the 8th of June the report of the Grand Encampment came from Bro. C. C. Archer, R. W. Grand Scribe, with the following:
"I am somewhat late in forwarding the report, but I have done the best I could under the circumstances. You will see that the Patriarchal branch of the Order in this jurisdiction is not in as flourishing condition as we desire, but taking everything into consideration, the stringency of the times, the scarcity of employment, and the general prostration that has attended all branches of trade and labor, we have reason to rejoice that our condition is no worse. During the year we have instituted two new Encampments and two have become extinct. Since the adjournment of our Grand Encampment I have received several letters from various points in the State inquiring as to the cost and proper manner of procuring Charters for Encampments. I am in hopes that something will grow out of these inquiries, and the next report from this jurisdiction will show not only an increase in the number of Encampments, but also an increase in membership in the Encampments now in existence."
Montana.—The report of the Grand Lodge was received July 11th, from Bro. Lew. Coleman, R. W. Grand Secretary, who wrote: "I supposed that the report had been sent by Bro. Hyde, my predecessor, as he said nothing to me on the subject, hence the delay." The report exhibits eight Lodges, 274 members; relief, $788.78; receipts, $4,505.73.
The returns of Rocky Mountain Encampment, No. 1, and Golden Star, No. 2, were forwarded on the 4th of April by Bro. James L. Davis, D. D. G. Sire, who advised: "You will see that there has not been much increase in this branch of the Order in Montana, but I think there has been progress made in working. I am in hopes to have another Encampment to report during the present year."
Nebraska.—The returns of the Grand Lodge and Grand Encampment were received April 22d, from Bro. D. A. Cline, R. W. Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe, with the following:
"The report of the Rebekah Degree Lodges is very meagre indeed. I am almost compelled to believe that branch a failure under any circumstances, It does not seem to meet the social want. Woman does not accept it cor- page 18 dially, and man does not need it in her absence. I have inaugurated an effort to save it and make it more useful in Nebraska. Should I fail I shall abandon all interest and will help to root it out of this jurisdiction.
"You will discover that the Order here has made a slight advance during the year. The State has not yet fully recovered from the effects of the famine of 1873, but will with the bounty of another year. A partially developed territory is no place for despair; its history is vet unwritten, and 1 do not doubt but the grandest word in that history will be 'success.'"
Netherlands.—See Foreign Correspondence.
Nevada.—The report of the Grand Encampment was received, March 18th, from Bro. William H. Hill, R W. Grand Scribe. They have 10 Subordinates, 412 members; relief, $1,108.56; receipts, $5,442.51.
The returns of the Grand Lodge were received, May 8th, from Bro F. V. Drake, R. W. Grand Secretary, who wrote: "I regret exceedingly the decrease in our membership, although slight. The general condition of the Order in this jurisdiction is prosperous in every other respect, as our returns show. The Rebekah Degree report, being our first for some years, is of course incomplete in some respects. It is, however, correct as a basis upon which further complete reports can be made."
New Hampshire.—The returns of the Grand Lodge and Grand Encampment were forwarded by Bro. Joel Taylor, R. W. Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe, with the following remarks:
"With the reports from this jurisdiction, I am glad to be able to say that the past year has been one of unusual prosperity. Our membership has increased, and our means for usefulness are more and better that at any former time. Everything is encouraging. We have 53 Lodges and 7,033 members, a gain of four Lodges and 391 members. Paid for relief, $17,34.73; amount of receipts, $48,318.06; funds and investments, $144,372.
"Of the Daughters of Rebekah we have 11 Lodges and a membership of 1,415, a small gain from last year. Considerable interest is reported.
"In the Patriarchal branch a good degree of interest is manifested, although there is a falling off in some of the smaller Encampments. We have 24 Encampments and 2,154 members, a loss of 32. Paid for relief, $1,945.88; amount of receipts, $5,795.12; funds and investments, $18,000 "
New Jersey.—The returns of the Grand Lodge and Grand Encampment were received, April 22d, from Lewis Parker, Jr., R. W. Grand secretary and Grand Scribe, who advised as follows:
"An unfortunate depreciation of membership still continues, owing to causes which have prevailed for several years past in the troubled condition of the times; yet, notwithstanding a loss in numbers, we are still active in the operations of a charitable nature, for which our Order is distinguished. The revenue received by our Lodges has not materially decreased, and we are therefore permitted to rejoice that we have not been compelled to reduce our charities. While these things continue we need not be discouraged, but may confidently look forward to better times and a more happy prosperity in the future. It is, moreover, a significant fact, that in the very midst of a general depression in all branches of industry throughout our State, we are still permitted to carry on successfully our beneficent efforts for the amelioration of human suffering and the elevation of the character of man; it demonstrates the vitality and efficiency of our brotherhood."
New Mexico.—The returns of Paradise Lodge, No. 2, and Centennial Encampment. No. 3, forwarded by Bro John Ritter, D. D. G. Sire, reached this office February 27th. During the year the Lodge gained one member, and the Encampment lost one.
New York.—The returns of the Grand Lodge and Grand Encampment were received, May 8th, from Bro. Charles V. Clark, R. W. Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe. No special information was furnished, but an examination of the reports discloses a loss of 994 in the Lodge, and 405 in the Encampment membership.
North Carolina.—The returns of the Grand Lodge reached this office on page 19 the 4th of May. Bro. J. J. Litchford, R. W. Grand Secretary, did not accompany the reports with remarks, as heretofore, and we have referred to the documents and note a loss of 71 members. He reports one Rebekah Degree Lodge with 51 members.
The report of the Grand Encampment was received, June 1st. from Bro. Joseph L. Keen, R. W. Grand Scribe, and exhibits a loss of 35 members.
Ohio. — On the 8th of May the reports of the Grand Lodge were received from Bro. William C. Earl, R. W. Grand Secretary, with the following:
"Accustomed to promptness in the discharge of my official duties, it has vexed me much that I could not sooner transmit my annual report for the year 1877. But the fault is not mine; I could not sooner, even with the greatest efforts, secure returns from all the Lodges, and I did not wish to forward until that was accomplished. Let me here ask why it would not be as well for all parties to have the time for reports extended to May 1st? In a jurisdiction so large as that of Ohio, it is not possible to get full returns by April 1st, and I do not like a law which compels me to appear delinquent.
"As you will see, we have decreased in membership again, and to a greater extent than last year. Under the monetary pressure hundreds have been forced to relinquish their hold upon an institution which, I am sure, they love as tenderly as ever, whilst other hundreds perhaps thousands, from the influence of the same cause have been unable to step within our portals. But though the clouds have gathered over our heads and the storms have descended, the fires upon our altars have not been extinguished; the love of our hearts has not grown weaker, nor the will to labor less strong. I trust that the day is not a far off when hope fulfilled shall kindle anew our affections, add increased strength to our desires, and lead us again in the way of prosperity. To insure this, we must never forget that 'the letter killeth, but the spirit of the law giveth life.' Of all the teachings of our rder, perhaps none needs to be more frequently repeated than this Too many do not yet study or understand what the true teachings of Odd Fellowship are. Confining themselves entirely within the positive demands of the law, they never imbibe the sublime principles of benevolence which lie outside of and above the 'letter.' But these thoughts I need not express to a veteran like yourself, whose years of service have given the fullest opportunities for knowledge upon every point of interest to the Order. I would, however, that we could impress upon the hearts of all, the genuine, true, and exalted meaning of the institution. When that shall have been done, our temple will stand before the world with new grace and richer charms. That we have many good and noble men in Ohio, who are laboring to adorn our beautiful structure with the works of a true and generous spirit and liberal benevolence, I feel assured, and this strengthens hope in my heart that the time will come when the banner of our Order will float in the reflected grace of an azure sky, illumined by the bright rays of sunshine, and be regarded as the emblem of beauty, because it will be as a token of joy to so many weary hearts.
"From letters received I think, I hope, that the work of 1878 will make a better exhibit than has that of 1877."
On the 11th of May, Bro. Joseph Dowdall, R. W. Grand Scribe, transmitted the report of the Grand Encampment, advising:
'You will notice a loss in membership, but a good financial condition. At our Annual Session, held on the 7th inst., Charters for four Encampments were granted. The new officers show a determination to work earnestly during the year for the advancement of the Order."
Ontario—The report of the Grand Lodge was received March 29th from Bro. J. B. King, R. W. Grand Secretary, who wrote as follows:
"But for the delay of a few Lodges I would have sent the report much earlier, having held it, hoping the delinquent Lodges would forward returns, but so far they have not. The showing for the year is very favorable, though that for the last six months is not. The great commercial depression which still continues throughout Canada is doubtless, to a very large extent, the page 20 cause of the decline, though some of it may be attributed to the fact that other societies of a similar character are springing up in Ontario, which offer greater inducements in the way of insurance We are trying to devise some plan whereby the loss of so large a number by suspension for non-payment of dues may be checked. From the last returns of Subordinates it is quite evident that Lodges are exercising more care in the expenditure of funds for 'current expenses,' though this outlay is yet much larger than seems really necessary. As Lodges become convinced of the necessity of being very careful in the management of their funds, the interest of the members will increase, and the number be maintained, as few like to be continually paying money to a Lodge which is careless in its financial affairs, fearing that when sickness and death come the Lodge may not be in a condition to fulfil all its promises of relief. Nothing inspires more confidence in the minds of the members of an institution than a full treasury and economical management.
"In common with our whole jurisdiction I beg to express my sorrow for the loss by death of those distinguished brothers, Stuart and Porter, who have lately been called home. In their death the Order sustains a loss which it will be difficult to repair, and one which will surely be seriously felt by the G. L. of U. S. at its next session on account of the very active part they have for so many years taken in its deliberations."
Accompanying the letter was a printed statistical table of returns, from which we extract the following:
"Percentage of relief to receipts 20.08, or over one-fifth. Total current expenses, $36,380.21. Percentage of expenses to receipts, 32.87, or nearly one-third. Death rate 1 in 143. Average benefits paid to each sick brother, $21.17; average to total membership, $1.79. General fund of Lodges, $223,- 718.89. Widow and Orphan fund, $06,494.21. Contingent fund, $0,030.7C. Total fund, $296,-243.86. Increase during the year, $73,028.41."
On the 19th of April the report of the Grand Encampment was received from Bro. M. D. Dawson, R. W. Grand Scribe, with the following:
"I regret that the report has been so long delayed, but it was my earnest desire to have returns from every Encampment in the jurisdiction, so that our statistics may be relied upon as correct. In that I failed, as the reports from three Encampments have not come to hand, but they would make but slight change in the figures. Notwithstanding the heavy financial pressure throughout the entire country the past year, cramping the resources of every one, we have to congratulate ourselves on a net gain in membership of 51; and we are pleased to report, independent of membership, a healthy increased interest in this branch of the Order. Since the last session of our Grand Encampment, August, 1877, we have instituted four new Encampments with every reasonable prospect of success, and several other localities are getting ready for organization, so that we hope next year to show a much better result. A great many members have been dropped for non-payment of dues, to be attributed to the scarcity of money, and I trust with the return of better times many of the suspended will be restored to membership. The total annual receipts of our 39 Encampments amounted to $7,620.68, and our relief $888.00, which is a fair exhibit for a young jurisdiction like ours "
Oregon.—The returns of the Grand Lodge and Grand Encampment were received April 10th from Bro. J. M. Bacon, R. W. Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe. No special information has been communicated, but an examination of the reports shows an increase of 70 in the Lodge and 74 in the Encampment membership. Receipts of Lodges, $54,598.65. Encampments, $4,650.18. Belief by Lodges, $13,576.95. The Rebekah report exhibits 8 Lodges, 186 members; receipts, $348.35; relief, $81.50.
Pennsylvania.—The returns of the Grand Lodge and Grand Encampment were received on the 30th May, without special advice other than that contained in the printed report of the G. Secretary to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, May 21, 1878, from which the following is presented:page 21
"Net loss in membership, 6,377; increased number of Lodges, 5; Lodges in working condition, 899; apparent number of Rebekah Degree Lodges; total amount paid for relief, $365,565.75; decreased amount of relief from preceding year $13,700.71; total receipts $711,209.05; decrease, $53,- 615 85; assets, $2,510,642 82; increase, $1,457.08.
"Notwithstanding the loss in membership and the surrender of some Charters, there is abundant reason for congratulation that so much good has been accomplished, and that the Order still maintains its pre-eminent position in Pennsylvania. A revival of confidence and business will doubtless mark a new era in the progress of the Order. Let it be distinctly recognized, however, that amid all its fluctuations, that the Order has never ceased to progress since its first establishment in America. It has moved steadily onward, gaining much and losing little, overcoming the difficulties in its path, developing its power, becoming better understood and more fully appreciated, and thus establishing its true character."
The Grand Encampment report shows a loss of 1,147 members; receipts, $89,402.69; assets,$277,948.15; relief, $59,123.04.
Peru.—See Foreign Correspondence.
Quebec, Canada.—The returns of Montreal Encampment, No. 1, and the eight Lodges in this jurisdiction, were received on the 21st of June from Bro. John C. Becket, D. D. G Sire. The reports exhibit the Subordinates to be in good condition; net increase in membership during the year, 55. Unity Lodge, No. 8, was instituted at Sherbrooke, October 29, 1877, by Bro. G. Varey, Special Deputy, with 13 petitioners, and reported 29 members on the 31st of December. On November 2d, transmitting the return of institution, Bro. Varey wrote:
"On the occasion of institution I was ably assisted by Past Grands from Oriental Lodge of Vermont, and officers from Pioneer Lodge, No. 7, of this jurisdiction. We had a large attendance, 67 being present at the evening meeting. From the appearance of the petitioners for the Lodge as well as those we initiated, I should say Sherbrooke bids fair to compete with any of the Lodges in this jurisdiction as to intellectual and moral ability. I was much pleased with the economy displayed in the fitting up of the Lodge-room as well as the regalia and emblems provided. I consider the great stumbling-block on which most of our Lodges here have fallen at the outset of their career, was fitting up expensive rooms and furnishing expensive regalia, thereby crippling their finances for some time to come. From all I could learn in the few hours I was in Sherbrooke, I believe that Unity Lodge will have the confidence of the community, the public generally being in favor of the Order, and if such is the case there is no fear but that it will soon become a large Lodge, and if they act upon my advice, to 'guard well the outer door,' one of the best in this jurisdiction.
"Concerning Oriental Lodge, No. 36, of Vermont, whose Past Grands kindly assisted me. I understand they meet in a room on the Canada side of the line, having received permission from the G. L. of U. S. so to do pro tem., until they get a room on the U. S. side, and I am informed by them that their Charter from the G. L. of Vermont contains a clause whereby, in the event of a Grand Lodge being instituted in the province of Quebec, they have the privilege of uniting with them without further action. Now if this Lodge would come in at once under this jurisdiction, making 9 Lodges, there would be no difficulty in the formation of a Grand Lodge of Quebec. Besides, Oriental has several Past Grands who have served in Grand Lodge, filled some of the elective offices, and are well informed in the work, having been in harness for some 40 years, consequently their aid would be invaluable in a new Grand Lodge."
In forwarding the returns, Bro. Becket wrote, under date of June 17th, as follows:
"I regret exceedingly that by the delay in receiving the Encampment report, which was only recently completed, I have been so long in making the page 22 returns for 1877. The Lodges presented their reports at the proper time and are not to blame for the delay.
"I am glad to be able to state that the Order in this jurisdiction is in a very satisfactory condition, as the returns will show; two of the Lodges have not made as much progress as the others, and. indeed none of them have done as well as we had a right to expect from the general favor with which the Order is regarded here. I can only account for this by the very depressed state of trade for the past four years, and a revival in business generally seems still in the future. However, in the midst of all the depression we are making some progress, as you will see from the inclosed notice of the dedication of a new hall last Friday night by Mizpah Lodge, No. 3. Mount Royal, No. 1, intends to hold a similar service shortly on the completion of the hall they are now fitting up."
Rhode Island.—The returns of the Grand Lodge and Grand Encampment reached this office on the 18th of March. Bro. John F. Driscol, R. W. Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe, wrote as follows:
"You will see that both reports show a loss of members during the year, but the times are such in our jurisdiction that such a result was unavoidable. As soon as there is a change and business revives, the Order will grow again. A great number of those who have been dropped for non-payment of dues will return, and many will apply for admission by initiation."
Sandwich Islands.—See Foreign Correspondence.
South Carolina.—At the date of putting the first pages of this report to press (August 6th), no information of any character concerning the Order has reached us from this jurisdiction, notwithstanding repeated requests have been made for the annual reports. On the 10th of February, Bro. Robert James, R. W. Grand Secretary, wrote as follows:
"Can you inform me how I can obtain the A. T. P. W. for our jurisdiction? I have failed to get it from our G. Rep., as he did not attend the session of the G. L. of U. S. last September, in consequence of our tax not being paid. The G. L. of U. S. at the same session placed to our credit the amount of the tax ($75, thereby placing us in good standing as to our Representative tax.
"I am happy to inform you that on the 16th of January, we installed Bro. W. F. Barton, of Orangeburg, as M. W. Grand Master. I was also reelected for the eighth time."
Bro. James was informed that the P. W. was transmitted in cipher on the 30th of January to the Grand Representative.
On the 25th of June, the Grand Secretary sent a request by postal card, for "blanks to make up my returns for the year 1877." The blanks were immediately forwarded.
Switzerland. - See Foreign Correspondence.
Tennessee.— On the 18th of April the returns of the Grand Lodge and Grand Encampment were received from Bro. J. R. Harwell, R. W. Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe, with the following concerning the situation:
"Sickness has prevented me from sending the reports earlier. I am sorry to say that Odd Fellowship in Tennessee is on the decline, both as to popularity and membership. Other institutions, promising larger funeral benefits, are rapidly depleting us, so that our utter extinction in this State seems to be only a question of time, and not very long time at that. It is true, we have an "Odd Fellows' Relief Society," as it is called, but it is an outside affair, not a part of the Order, not even controlled by our State Grand Lodge, and our members do not seem disposed to take hold of it They seem to lack confidence in it, and the result is, we have only about one hundred members. Now, it does seem to me, and it is almost the universal sentiment amongst Tennessee Odd Fellows, that the Grand Lodge of the United States ought to adopt and control a system of endowment (or enlarged funeral benefits, as I prefer to call it. This would infuse new life into the organization in Tennessee; it would give confidence and insure success. In this State we are becoming demoralized, and I warn the Grand Lodge of the page 23 United States now, that we will be routed unless something is done to place Odd Fellowship in the front rank of progressive institutions. We have done and are doing all we can, but we are too feeble to stem the tide, and we implore the Grand Lodge of the United States to give us relief. Other and newer institutions have stolen our thunder, and are elaborating and improving our own system of funeral benefits, and making it wonderfully popular and successful. These are plain words, but they are true.
"I report, as you will see, 147 Lodges, of which 22 are practically defunct, although their Charters have not been formally reclaimed by the Grand Lodge.
"I can make no report of Rebekah Degree Lodges, because none have made returns to me. That branch of the Order is a failure here.
"The Encampment branch of the Order in this State is in a worse condition than the Lodge department. While my report shows 36 Encampments, 12 of them are practically defunct, but their Charters have not been surrendered."
Texas.—On the 19th of June the returns of the Grand Lodge and Grand Encampment were received from Bro. Geo. W. Grover, R. W. Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe, who thus advised:
"The prostration of business generally throughout our State, for the past year or two, has been felt by our members, and comparatively there is a larger membership than we anticipated in both branches of the Order. While for local causes some Subordinates have demised, others hold their own, and many show an increase of strength numerically and financially. It is to be hoped that another year will prove more advantageous, not only in this section of our country, but to all within the realms of our beloved Order."
Utah.—The report of the Grand Lodge was received January 30th. Bro. E. M. Wilson, R. W. Grand Secretary, under date of January 24th, wrote:
"By comparing the present with our last report, you will discover that we are progressing somewhat, more particularly in the amount of relief, which is probably more for the benefit and credit of our jurisdiction than a larger influx of members would be. Our Lodges are gradually increasing in wealth and influence, and we look hopefully forward to the time when our Territory will partake more of the principles of civilization and morality, and thus become a more favorable field of labor for our noble institution. Wildey Degree Lodge, No. 1, instituted last August, and Oquirrh Encampment, No. 1 (which reports to the Grand Encampment of California), are both in a prosperous condition, and have proven important adjuncts to the Subordinate Lodges."
Vermont. The report of the Grand Encampment was received from Bro. D. P. Celley, R. W. Grand Scribe, on the 11th of February. A loss of 125 members is noted. Relief, §126.30; receipts, $764.76; number of weeks' benefits paid not reported.
The report of the Grand Lodge reached this office 12th of February, and the Rebekah report on the 11th of March. Bro. H. L. Stillson, R. W. Grand Secretary, on the 8th of March, wrote:
"It is with more than ordinary pleasure that I forward you the inclosed 'Annual Report of the Rebekah Degree Lodges of Vermont,' which completes our returns to the G. L. of U. S. The Order in the land of Ethan Allen, Gen. Stark, and other Revolutionary heroes, during its Centennial year, 1877, claims that it exemplified in deeds the banner of Friendship, Love, and Truth. May we not boast a little? There has not been an appeal case before the Grand Lodge in two years, and there is now no prospect of one. Every Subordinate Lodge has reported correctly and paid in full, and every Rebekah Degree Lodge lias reported correctly, and we have not a failing Lodge of any kind in the State. Whatever may have been true of us heretofore, our returns are this year complete."
Grand Secretary Stillson also transmitted, on the 23rd of February, me- page 24 morial resolutions adopted by the Grand Lodge of Vermont, and directed to the G. L. of U. S., as follows':
"Resolved, That in the death of Past Grand Sire William Ellison, Odd Fellowship loses one of its oldest, most prominent and useful members, venerable in years as in character. In all the varied relations of life, God had honored him as an instrument of blessing to our fraternity; and he has been gathered into the garner of the illustrious company of those who have shown their love to God by works of love to their fellow-men.
"Resolved, That in the decease of Past Grand Sire Fred. D. Stuart, the Grand Lodge of the United States and the fraternity at large have cause to mourn the loss of an earnest and devoted brother, who has labored unceasingly for the promotion of our principles; and one whose voice was familiar to many of Vermont's Odd Fellows; and whose counsels have been frequently our guide in important matters of legislation and work."
Virginia.—Bro. T. Wiley Davis. R. W. Grand Secretary, transmitted the report of the Grand Lodge on the 2d of March, with the following:
"In presenting the annual return of the Grand Lodge of this jurisdiction for the past year, I regret exceedingly that I cannot report an increase of membership, or show some improvement in our condition as the result of our labor for the year. On the contrary, we have lost from our ranks 247, while the receipts by the Lodges, their disbursements for relief, &c., show a corresponding decrease. This state of affairs, whilst attributed to the long- continued depression in business of all kinds throughout the country, is I am convinced, influenced by other causes that have been at work in the towns and cities of this and other States, and are making rapid inroads upon the field that our Order, in my opinion, should occupy. I allude to the various other Orders (their name is Legion) of a kind similar to Odd Fellowship in many respects, yet having greatly the advantage in their feature of Endowment or Insurance, thus holding out great inducements to those who would otherwise seek admission to our ranks. The people are learning to regard with distrust a large majority of the Life Insurance Companies of the present day, because of their failure to fulfil their obligations; and as life insurance occupies a high position in the hearts of those who are pecuniarily able to maintain it, they very naturally seek association with institutions or Orders that offer inducements of that kind. I have made this subject one of very earnest study, and am convinced that if we desire to make our Order what it should be, we shall have to adopt some such plan as has been referred to. To do so may be called a new departure, but if it will save us from further depletion and again turn the tide in our favor, we should cheerfully accept the situation.
"No new Lodge has been chartered, and only one defunct Lodge 'as been re-organized. Two halls have been dedicated to the use of the Order, and notwithstanding the adverse circumstances surrounding us, we are still determined to labor for the prosperity and perpetuity of our Order, and hope that under the blessings of our Heavenly Father a bright day may soon dawn upon us, and our hearts be cheered by the consciousness of duty performed.
"We have no Lodges of the Degree of Rebekah, though the degree is conferred upon applicants at stated times."
Under date of April 29th, Bro. Hugh Latham, R. W. Grand Scribe, transmitted the report of the Grand Encampment, with the following:
"I regret exceedingly that the accompanying report should have been delayed until this time. Indifferent and negligent Scribes of Subordinate Encampments cause the whole trouble. I must again express my regret at being compelled to submit another report exhibiting a decrease in our membership and a corresponding decrease in revenue. This is discouraging; but there is one cause for gratulation, that is, there has been a decrease of $836.80 in the expenditures for relief. Thus, while adversity has laid its heavy hand upon us, a kind and beneficent Providence has relieved us from many afflictions.page 25
"I cannot, in justice to myself and the Scribes who have reported promptly, refrain from saying that the report of Neilson Encampment, No. 2, to December 31, 1877, has not to this date been received; hence the delay in making my return. I hoped to have reported in January, but the negligence of others prevented. I earnestly hope next year to fulfil my expectations of submitting an early report, and only wilful negligence on the part of others will prevent me from accomplishing my wishes."
"Washington.—The reports of New Castle Lodge, No. 8, Mount Baker, No. 9, and Patit, No. 10, were received in February and March. These Lodges, instituted February 10th, February 26th, and March 8th, 1877, return an aggregate membership of 85: receipts, $1,997.01; relief, $332.00. By a letter dated Seattle, June 13th, it appears the blanks sent in December, 1877, to Unity Encampment, No. 2, failed to reach their destination. Duplicates were immediately forwarded, and on the 30th of July, the report reached this office, exhibiting the work from August 24th to December 31, 1877, as follows: Initiated, 5; admitted by card, 12; total, 17. Receipts, $298.75.
Lodges 1 to 7 are under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge, and Encampment No. 1, under the Grand Encampment of Oregon.
Since the last session four more Lodges have been instituted, viz: Ranier, No. 11, at New Tacoma; Snohomish, No. 12, at Snohomish; Friendship, No. 13, at Port Gamble; and Colfax, No. 14, at Colfax All the information received represents the Order as flourishing in this distant Territory. Bro. H. G. Struve, D. D. G. Sire, has been a faithful correspondent and efficient officer, and advises that "the Order in the Territory is rapidly increasing in numbers and influence." Of the new Lodges, he wrote: "The institution of No. 11 was accomplished under the most favorable auspices, a large number of visiting brethren from Olympia and Seattle being present. No. 12 was instituted successfully on the 23d of April, and has all the elements of permanence and prosperity. No. 13 starts out under splendid auspices. It is located in a thriving place, and embraces the best elements of the town. The night of institution we had 14 initiations. Our Subordinate Lodges confidently expect that the next Grand Lodge of the U. S. will give us a Grand Lodge Charter."
Bro. E. L. Powell, Special Deputy G. Sire, who instituted No. 14, advised that "they have some brothers well posted, and no doubt they will succeed well as a Lodge." The petition for this Lodge was signed by 19 brothers, of whom only 8 were present at the institution, and recognized as Charter members.
West Virginia.—The returns of the Grand Lodge reached this office March 16th. Bro. Thomas G. Steele, R. W. Grand Secretary, wrote:
"The report of the Grand Lodge exhibits a decrease this year of 143 members, and our financial statement shows a considerable shrinkage, which I attribute to the clog on the wheels of business. Our day of adversity is upon us, but we shall try like men to keep the bark West Virginia afloat until a more prosperous wind strikes us and we get into more favorable waters. Numerically we have no cause for alarm, and we have not lived in vain, as the following shows. At our organization in 1866 we had 22 Lodges and 1,100 members; now we have 84 Lodges and 4,283 members Our Order has attained a high place in the community, and were it not for the depression in business I would have a large increase to report.
"The information of the death of P. G. Sire Stuart came to me very unexpectedly. One of my respected and valued brothers has gone, and we shall meet him no more on earth, but hope to meet him in heaven "
On the 29th of March the report of the Grand Encampment, with the following from Bro. H. A. U Thman, Grand Scribe, was received:
"I am compelled to report a small loss in this branch of the Order. I cannot think this result is from lukewarmness, but attribute it to the want of money which prevents members from paying their dues. Many are out of employment, and besides that, new institutions are springing up with new methods of insurance, promising large benefits for small fees, which are page 26 drawing members from our Order at present. I think, however, that in a short time all will return to us, and our onward progress will be greater than ever."
Wisconsin.—The returns of the Grand lodge and Grand Encampment came to hand on the 19th of April, Bro. L. 13. Hills, It. W. Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe, wrote:
"Our annual showing is not what we hoped for, yet notwithstanding the very small increase in membership the financial condition of the Lodges is stronger than ever. Concerning the work, I can say there is scarcely a Lodge in this State that does not perform the entire subordinate ceremony without the use of a book, and many of them the degree work. In other words, the officers are required to memorize the entire ritual, and the result is that we have what I call an educated brotherhood, and our Grand Lodge is composed of a body of men who are critical without being captious. We are making similar efforts with our Encampments, but have succeeded with only a portion of them as yet. The example and success of such as have adopted the plan is so marked, that others are making the effort."
Bro. Hills adds these items to his report, "Number reported sick, 700; number of brothers relieved, 540; total number of weeks' sickness, 2,598," from which it appears 160 members received no benefits.
Wyoming.—The report of the Grand Lodge was received on the 1st of February from Bro. H. Altman, R. W. Grand Secretary, who advised as fol-lows:
"It is with regret that I have to report the same number of Lodges as last year, and cannot fulfil the promise of Bro. W. L. Kuykendall, G. Rep. We have suffered from great depression in financial affairs, though the brethren have worked faithfully, as you will see by the return Although a decrease of numbers is exhibited, there has really been a fair and healthy growth, and all the Lodges have greatly improved in the work, so that on the whole the condition of the Order is entirely satisfactory, affording strong proof that the principles of Friendship, Love, and Truth are to have more weight in the future, and permitting us to see the glimmering of the dawn of that day when Odd Fellowship shall reign triumphant throughout our wide Territory."
The report of Wyoming Encampment, No. 1, was received January 28th, and that of Hope Encampment, No. 2, March 4th.
Bro. - John A. Fisher, acting for the D. D. G. Sire, in forwarding the report of No. 1, wrote:
"We do not make a very encouraging showing, having decreased our membership 10 during the year, but the way things look now, I think there is a better promise for the future, as since the commencement of this term we have had several applications for membership, and a few of the negligent brothers who were dropped last term are anxious to be reinstated. I hope they will apply soon, as some of them were always good workers and valuable members, and enable us to redeem ourselves in our next report."
Bro. Peter Hamma transmitted the report of No. 2, saying: "The Lodges are doing as well as we could expect. By the Encampment report you will see we have improved a little."
Bro. W. L. Kuykendall, D. D. G. Sire, under date of April 3d, advised:
"You will see from the reports of the Encampments under my supervision that there has been a falling off in membership during the past year; the main cause for this is to be found in the general depression that has existed in business throughout the nation, and from which our Territory has not entirely escaped. With the revival of business and financial prosperity there is no doubt that the Encampment branch will resume its former standing. The faithful few will, at least, strive to keep the fires bright on the altars of Faith, Hope, and Charity in Wyoming and Hope Encampments until the dawning of a brighter day. I regret the necessity of sending such an unfavorable exhibit, but hope that a speedy return of prosperity to our country page 27 and awakened interest in the Order will enable me to send, as my next, a more favorable report."
It will be seen by the foregoing, that the prostration of business in all sections of the country has been felt by the Order, as manifested by an increased number of suspensions for non-payment of dues, a lessening of initiations, and consequently a reduction of the revenue. The loss of membership is more particularly noted in the Middle and Southern States, and but few of the Western States retain their numerical standing; while the New England States and the Canadas, with a few exceptions, appear to be in a highly prosperous condition.