Records (1872-1892) including correspondence, minute book, ledger, social organizations, fraternal organizations, debts and credits, dues, taxes, fines, and miscellaneous.
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows established its Edgecombe Lodge No. 50 in Tarboro, N.C., on October 27, 1853. This fraternal organization provided care and services for the sick, widows, and orphans.
The bulk of this collection consists of the minute books for the lodge from 1872 to 1880 and from 1884 to 1887. Most of the minutes are routine, consisting of calls to order, roll of officers, excuse of officers absent from previous meeting, and reading of correspondence from other lodges or persons seeking membership or aid. Various members were brought to "trial" in the lodge for "conduct unbecoming an Odd Fellow." Such conduct varied from embezzlement (March 1872) to drunkenness (April 1876, June 1878) to adultery (January 1884). The minutes for each March and April generally detail plans for celebrating the anniversary of the Order. Entries for 1872 reflect a steamboat trip to Washington, N.C., to celebrate with the Odd Fellows of that town. In other years the celebrations usually consisted of a barbecue near the river. Plans for Christmas and New Year celebrations are also recorded (November 1875, December 1886).
The minutes of the lodge also refer to various other social organizations in Tarboro, since the lodge often rented its hall to local organizations. Such groups included the Friends of Temperance (1872-1876), the International Order of Good Templars (1873-1877), the Patrons of Husbandry (1873-1877), the Order of B'nai B'rith (1875-1877), the Sons of Israel (October 1877), as well as the Eastern Medical Convention (December 1876). After a new hall was completed in 1877, the lodge refused to rent the hall to outside organizations except for certain theatrical groups and concert troupes. A year later rent restrictions were removed and from 1878 to 1887 various organizationsare briefly noted in the minutes or ledger, including the Royal Arcanum, the Knights of Labor (June 1886), the Knights of Honor, the Legion of Honor, the Thompson Orphanage Guild, and the Repiton Encampment.
Being a fraternal organization pledged to help the sick, widows, and orphans, the minutes reflect contributions to help these causes. Reference is made in several entries to yellow fever illness locally (September 1878) and in Memphis, Tennessee (October 1873), and Alabama (September 1879). Illnesses of various members are reported frequently, and certain members were fined for not sitting up with the sick. Other entries concern sending funds to help widows in need (September 1879, January 1887). A partial funeral description for a deceased member (August 1873) is also included.
The ledger (1878-1892) contains an account of debts and credits for members of the Odd Fellows Lodge, as well as accounts of organizations renting the lodge. Some entries have brief notations on new or reinstated members as well as reasons some accounts were closed, i.e. members suspended, resigned, or deceased. Initiation dues, death taxes, fines, and services rendered are also included.
Gift of Mr. B. M. Bass, Jr.
Processed by V. Jones, Jr., September 1990
Encoded by Apex Data Services
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.