The Vidette-Messenger Centennial EditionThe 1936 special edition celebrating Porter County's centennial year . . . .

The following article has been transcribed from the August 18, 1936, issue of The Vidette-Messenger, published in Valparaiso, Indiana. This particular special edition focuses on Porter County's centennial celebration and contains a 94-page compendium of Porter County history up to that time.

Return to the index of articles from The Vidette-Messenger's Porter County Centennial special edition.

Source: The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; August 18, 1936; Volume 10, Section 3, Page 18.


Odd Fellowship In Porter County Dates Back To 1848; Record Shows It's Been Keen In Business Affairs

The birth of the Odd Fellowship in Porter county dates back to December 2, 1848. On that date Joseph Lomax, E. Ellis Campbell, Robert G. Flint, John Demming and William M. Harrison petitioned and received from the Sovereign Grand Lodge of Indiana at Indianapolis a charter through A. H. Matthews, Right Worthy Grand Master, and E. H. Barry, grand secretary.

The officers of the lodge at its organization were Joseph Lomax, Noble Grand; E. Ellis Campbell, vice grand; John Demming, secretary; William Harrison, inner guard; Robert G. Flint, treasurer. They were installed by the Grand Officers, Col. Hathaway, grand master; Luther Mann, G. C., and other officiating officers from LaPorte; Dr. Dunning, from Lafayette and other notables.

So far as can be learned, the lodge first met at Apers' old frame building on South Washington St., about two-thirds of the way from Main to Indiana avenue. From there the lodge moved to the third floor of the Salyer block on West Main street, and later to the third floor of the building on Lincolnway, where the Central Drug Store now stands.

Here on August 13, 1859, the lodge was burned out losing everything except a set of regalia, purchased at a cost of $250, together with all lodge records. At the November session of the grand lodge the following November an appropriation was made sufficient to enable the Valparaiso lodge to recoup its loss. Meetings were then held in the county auditor's office of the court house until the burned building was restored, when the lodge was moved back to its old quarters.

Before the Civil war broke out the lodge was established on a solid basis. Most of the members who enlisted had their dues remitted, and the charitable donations were continued.

As the lodge prospered, it contributed to the relief of the sufferers of the Chicago fire of 1871, and later to sufferers of the Michigan fires.

In 1880 the lodge learned that thirty-three feet of ground where Lowenstines' department store now stands, on South Franklin avenue, could be bought at a reasonable price. Tickets at fifty cents were issued by the lodge and sold to its members, and to members of other lodges, until the purchase price -- about $1,000 -- was raised, when the deal was consummated and Chequeuk Lodge became possessed of a home of its own. A few years later the lodge was forced to foreclose a mortgage which it held on the property situated at what is now 503 Calumet avenue. After the foreclosure, the property was sold to a Mrs. Brown and the proceeds used to erect a new building on Franklin avenue.

The building was formally dedicated on April 26, 1883, the ceremony being conducted by Hon. Will Cumback, one of the most prominent Odd Fellows of the state. Visitors were present from LaPorte, South Bend, and other points, and they were unanimous in pronouncing the new hall one of the finest in northern Indiana.

Here the lodge continued to meet until 1904, when an opportunity presented itself for the lodge to sell the property to good advantage. As there was some indebtedness against the building, the sale was made, and soon afterward the lodge bought the Quartermass Grand Opera House building at 162 West Main (Lincolnway). About $10,000 was expended in remodeling the building, and here the lodge has since held its meetings.

Alfred Banister is oldest living member of the lodge, having joined in 1882. He served as noble grand of the lodge in 1892. Ralph O. Kouns is the present noble grand.

Chequeuk Lodge brothers fought on the battlefields of all our great wars. Many prominent Valparaiso men long since deceased were associated with the I. O. O. F. and their acts of patriotism and charity will always be remembered and cherished by the citizenry of Valparaiso.

Magenta Lodge, No. 288, Odd Fellows, was organized at Wheeler on November 20, 1887, with Joseph Wolf, Dr. H. Green, Daniel Saunders, George Sigler and Thomas Stonix as first officers.

A charter dated July 19, 1855, was granted to Chegemink Lodge, No. 161, Odd Fellows, located at Chesterton, with about a dozen charter members. For twenty-five years the lodge was prosperous, then the meetings ceased. On April 8, 1905, it was reorganized, with Charles O. Seamans, H. H. Williams, George R. Williams, A. H. Bock, Nathan DeMass, David McHenry, Emil Blatz, Martin Young, John G. Morgan, Josiah Castleman and E. F. Schafer as charter members. Since the reorganization the lodge has had a steady growth.

The youngest Odd Fellows' lodge in Porter county is Kouts Lodge, No. 822, which was instituted on February 21, 1905, with Fred Allbright as noble grand; W. Cunningham, vice grand; D. J. Fairchild, recording secretary; H. G. Allbright, financial secretary; A. L. Arnold, treasurer. These officers and the following constituted the charter members: J. E. P. Dodd, Orange Brewer, W. J. Anderson, S. Propp, F. W. Johnson,G. O. Lane, J. T. Cannon, J. B. Frechette, H. L. Buryanek, C. L. Blood, J. S. Johnson, M. G. Snodgrass, George Shults, W. F. Arnold, F. W. Minor, J. W. Spencer, Ezra Jones and Charles R. Galt.

Article transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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