Derby History Quiz
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Odd Fellows in Derby
The IOOF on the former Howard & Barber's Department
Store in Derby provides a lasting reminder of one of Derby's oldest civic
groups - the International Order of Odd Fellows. Nothing but the letters
attached to the abandoned building on Main Street remain in Derby for a
group that once encompassed many of the the leading citizens of Derby as
members. Our thanks to Randy Ritter for providing this quiz and the
|Excerpt written by Henry M. Bradley, Jr. for the
Tercentenary Pictorial and History of the Lower Naugatuck Valley,
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows had its beginning more
than two centuries ago in the British Isles and is mentioned by Daniel
DeFoe as early as 1729. Its American pioneer was Thomas Wildey, who, with four
companions instituted Washington Lodge, No. 1, in Baltimore, MD., on April
26, 1819. Later Wildey became grandsire and traveling agent of the order
in America, which now has nearly two million Americans upon its rolls. A
lodge was instituted in New Haven (Quinnipiac, No. 1) on Sept 3, 1839.
Five men who had received the degrees from this lodge became the charter members
of Ousatonic Lodge, No. 6, I.O.O.F., organized over Stanley's shoe store,
East Derby, on Oct. 13, 1841, the officer in charge being P.G.M. Charles W.
Bradley, of East Haddam. The first noble grand was Sheldon Bassett; vice grand,
Robert Wilder Gates; secretary, Peter Phelps' treasurer, Richard Evans. The
fifth charter member was Rober R Woods, also a charter member, in later years
of the Naugatuck Lodge, Excelsior Encampment. Robert W. Gates was the
second noble grand, and E.T. Stanley, the third. Twenty-five new members
were initiated the first term, and the lodge removed to more ample quarters in
Gates' Hall, north of the the present site of the Paugassett Hook and Ladder
Co., and in 1847 across the river to Birdseye Hall in Birmingham, where, on
Sept. 25, 1850, was instituted, with Sheldon Bassett, chief patriarch';
John Wallace, high priest; Charles Jackson, senior warden; Matthew Donnelly,
junior warden; Henry Atwater, scribe; Thomas Elmes, treasurer; Samuel Harris
and Rober Wood, members.
The period of the Civil War was a difficult one for the Odd
Fellows' organizations. Many ceased to exist, but the Derby branches
remained active, and at the close of the great conflict, grew rapidly. A new
hall was opened on Somers' block on June 7, 1878, but the great fire of January
12, 1879, destroyed this building with its contents-records, furniture,
library, charter, regalia, all being lost. At the invitation of the
Young Men's Roman Catholic T.A.B. Society, the Odd Fellows met in their rooms in
Concert Hall until A.H. and C.B. Alling completed the new hall (still
occupied by the order) in December, 1879.
Sheldon Bassett was the first grand master from Ousatonic Lodge
in 1844' John Wallace, 1858, Charles Jackson, 1868 and Selah Blakeman, 1900.
William Hine, David W. Boyd and Thomas Wallace were members of the order for
This quiz proved a bit tougher than some recent ones. Correct answers were received from: Mary Lou
Boroski, Clarence Douglass, Henry Wajdowicz, Ray Allen, Gene
Wajdowicz, Markanthony Izzo, Marsha Pettingill, and Rob Hyder.
We all will give 1/2 credit to the following people who
either knew the meaning or the location, but not both: Ann Searles, Dave
Petz, and Brenna Kelleher.
To see our other earlier quizzes and learn more about Derby's unique
history, click here.