“Odd Fellowship was founded in America by Thomas Wildey and four associates with the institution of Washington Lodge No. 1 in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 26th, 1819, when the Order became permanently established, and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows as we know it today was founded.
The natural outgrowth of a desire for companionship and fraternity, the Order has always held the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man, as cardinal principles. While it is neither political nor sectarian in character, it exercises the right of all voluntary associations to prescribe the qualifications for membership, one of which is a belief in a Supreme Being, the Creater, and Preserver of the universe.
The Order seeks to improve and elevate the character of its members, to imbue them with proper conceptions of their capabilities for good, to enlarge the sphere of their affections, and to direct their energies into channels of unselfish service. It enjoins them to visit the sick; to relieve the distressed; to bury the dead, and to education the orphan. Mindful of those high and exalted virtues indicated in its motto – Friendship, Love and Truth – it teaches that a man cannot be an Odd Fellow in spirit and in truth, unless he is grateful to his Creator, faithful to his country, and fraternal to his fellow man.”