Monday, June 11, 2012

New on the Shelf : VBRGS Acquires Rebekah Lodge Records

Garage & yard sales as a local history resource?  Absolutely!  Over the years the Local History Collection has had enumerable acquisitions as a result of purchases or donations from sales, flea markets, auctions, and antique shops.  These places are where the rare and unusual turn up, akin to online giant Ebay. 

The Van Buren Regional Genealogical Society (VBRGS) has just announced the addition to its manuscript collection of the Rebekah Lodge Collection.  The volumes were purchased from an area garage sale [one step before the dumpster] with the assistance of local resident, Janet Porter.  Spanning 123 years and 38 volumes, these records include membership rosters, finance reports, minutes, bylaws & constitution, special events, and general history of the Green Leaf Lodge No. 252 [Dowagiac], Dayton Lodge No. 448 [Dayton], Miriam Lodge No. 47, New Century Lodge No. 351, and Bay Leaf Lodge No. 248 [Buchanan].

The Rebekah's started out as a companion women's organization for the Independent Order of Oddfellows (I.O.O.F), and later evolved to include both women & men.  According to the "History of Rebekah Odd Fellowship" published by the International Assembly in 1980:
The history of the Rebekah Degree began, as does every great movement, in a general demand for a more definite purpose.  The desire for some method by which the wives of Odd Fellows could participate in the pleasures and benefits of Odd Fellowship became apparent after about twenty-five years of the Order's existence...
The first rumblings of the formation of the Rebekahs was in 1845 and by 1851, the Rebekah Degree was adopted.  In Michigan, Battle Creek was the site of the first lodge in the state in 1869, named Friendship Lodge No. 1.  Membership in a lodge entailed:
All applicants for membership in a Rebekah Lodge must believe in a Supreme Intelligent Being, the Creator and Preserver of the Universe, must be of good moral character.  Those persons eligible to become members are:  Women who have attained the age of eighteen years, Odd Fellows in good standing who have attained the Third Degree, and persons holding Cards of Certificates showing membership in a Rebekah Lodge.
 The charter membership roster for the Dayton Lodge No. 448 in 1937 included the following individuals:
  • Harold N. Thomas
  • Clayton E. Leiter
  • Lyle Barber
  • Charles Morgan Jr.
  • Evalena J. Richter
  • Blanche Sheldon
  • Minnie Harroff
  • Ames Harroff
  • Lillian G. Schau
  • Christian P. Schau
  • Austin C. Sarver
  • Katherine Sarver
  • Ray Frame
  • Julia & Jerome Sebasty
  • Ida Sarver
  • S. C. Sarver
 For more information about this Rebekah Lodge manuscript collection and other manuscript items in the Van Buren District Library Local History Collection, contact the library or VBRGS.

Nameless Picture of the Day
 Unidentified couple
From the collection of Gloria (Goodrich) Krogel

Can you identify the young couple in this photo?  Please contact us if you any information and we will publish it in a future blog.  Please include the five character catalog number with your e-mail.