The Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) began in 17th century England when a group of men organized themselves for the purpose of giving aid to those in need and the pursuit of various projects for the benefit of mankind. Odd Fellows are known as "The Three Link Fraternity" which stands for Friendship, Love and Truth.
The first Odd Fellow Lodge in Ontario was instituted on June 17, 1845 in the village of Belleville.
The IOOF in Rodney, Ontario was established on May 20, 1892, with charter members William Morris, A. Wismer, A. Humphrey, J.S. Robertson, J.H. Barnes, N.S. Lusty, Charles Grant, William Mapes, and W. Peer. At the Lodge's first meeting in the Barnes Block twenty new members were initiated by members of the Ridgetown Lodge.
Meetings after 1903 were held on the second floor of the first brick building of Mistele Ltd. store with entrance by an outside stairs on the north side.
In 1943, the Oddfellows purchased the Morris building on the northeast corner of Furnival and Clark Streets.
Membership in the lodge peaked in 1955 with 137 members on the roll.
For many years, they assumed responsibility for one of the most important social events of the year in this community, the annual "IOOF at Home". The Lodge also participated in many community service and fund-raising activities in Rodney and surrounding area. Rodney members took an active part on district committees in raising funds for new equipment for hospitals in St. Thomas, London, Tillsonburg, and Newbury. In association with the Rebekahs, the Humanitarian Services Committee maintained a supply of articles such as hospital beds, wheel chairs, crutches and walkers. They were loaned free to anyone who needed them. Members also held Ambliopia Clinics in the interest of better vision for children.
The IOOF Rodney Lodge No. 291 existed under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Ontario Erie District No. 15.
IOOF Rodney Lodge No. 291 disbanded in the early 1990s.
Purchased by Ed Phelps from an antique dealer in Strathroy. The records were deeded to the Elgin County Archives in March 2002.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of minute books (1899-1986), membership and attendance records (1892-1988), and financial records (1892-1985) relating to the operation of the IOOF Rodney Lodge No. 291.
The fonds consists of the following series:
2. Attendance and Membership records
3. Financial records
5. General History