On Friday, April 12, 2013, Davis Odd Fellows Lodge #169 will celebrate its 143rd Anniversary, making it the oldest continuously operating entity within the City limits of Davis. Of course, when the Davis Lodge was first chartered on April 12, 1870, it wasn’t called “Davis Lodge” because there was no “Davis” in those days. When chartered in 1870, the Lodge was known as “Yolo Lodge #169”. The name change to “Davis Lodge #169” came years later.
The Davis Odd Fellows Lodge is a fraternal organization founded on the principles of “Friendship – Love – Truth”, reflected by the three interlocking links of its logo. The Lodge is open to men and women 16 years of age or older. The Lodge does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, age, or sexual orientation. “The Davis Lodge provides both a venue for community service and also a social network for its members”, said long-time member and former Noble Grand Dave Rosenberg. “We often provide our Lodge free of charge to help community and charitable organizations, and provide a wide spectrum of support to members of our community. It’s good to be an Odd Fellow.” Currently, there are 192 members of the Davis Lodge ranging in age from 16 to 86, and 28 applicants are seeking admission to membership in the Lodge.
The Davis Odd Fellows Lodge is the fastest growing, and perhaps the most dynamic Odd Fellows Lodge in the United States, according to Rosenberg. But the 143rd anniversary focuses on the past of Odd Fellowship in Davis.
Yolo Lodge #169
The Davis Odd Fellows Lodge, then known as Yolo Lodge, was started just five years after the end of the Civil War. Yolo Lodge #169, was instituted April 12, 1870, at Davisville (Davis), Yolo County, by Grand Master, John Brown Harmon, of Apollo Lodge #123, San Francisco. He was accompanied by Elias Driggs Farnsworth, Most Worthy Grand Sire, who was visiting California at the time; (This was the first time a California Lodge had the distinction of having a Grand Sire in attendance, when instituted.); P.G.P., Lewis Soher, Mokelumne Lodge #44, P.G.M., John A. McClelland, San Francisco #3; Grand Secretary, T. Rodgers Johnson, also of San Francisco Lodge; Daniel Webster Welty, Sacramento Lodge #2, Sacramento. (He would be elected Grand Master in 1875.) John P. Davis, P.G., from Victoria B.C., and Henry K. Snow, D.D.G.M. from Capitol Lodge #87, Sacramento. A large delegation from Eureka Lodge #4 and El Dorado Lodge #8, were also in attendance.
Charter members of the Davis Lodge included: Noble Grand Jacob Horning, the first representative to Grand Lodge in 1871, in the City of Sacramento. Vice Grand Frantz Multner; Recording Secretary Charles Hartman; Treasurer Markus Weinberger. Others were, James D. Ford, H. Bunkattar, A.B. Bonhan, James H. Clark, John L. Morgan, F.E. Fliggles, and George Pierce.
Davis Odd Fellows Lodge Dedicated
On August 21, 1876, the brothers dedicated their new building. Grand Master, Harmon J. Tilden, a member of Parker Lodge #124, San Francisco, granted a dispensation to the lodge, permitting them to wear their regalia in public, during the downtown parade, and dedication program. The ceremony was under the supervision of D.D.G.M., Julius Amos Kinsman, a member of the Yolo Lodge. At the time their membership was 53, and six of them Past Grands. The members remained at this location until their new Lodge Hall at 415 Second Street was dedicated in 1956. The Davis Odd Fellows remain at this location today.
Davis Odd Fellows 100th Anniversary
On Saturday, April 11, 1970, Yolo Lodge celebrated its 100th anniversary. Guests during the centennial observance were two granddaughters of the lodge’s first Noble Grand, Jacob Horning, Mrs. John Rogers, age 84, and Mrs. George Washington Swenson, age 81, both residents of Davis. Others taking part in this once in a life time event were: Noble Grand, Karl Wuest, who acted as Master of Ceremonies. (He passed away, September 15, 1983.) Vice Grand, Alvin Stone; Recording Secretary, John Dunlap, died January 24, 1979; Treasurer, Robert Ring, died May 20, 1976; Inside Guardian, James Blades, died April 12, 1985; Outside Guardian, Norton Honeyfield, died March 1986; and Financial Secretary, Samuel Weis.
Visiting dignitaries included Joseph Mayes, D.D.G.M.; William Hooper, D.D.G.M.; Margaret Hooper, D.D.P.; Charles Alvin Beach, P.G.M., a member of El Dorado Lodge #8, Sacramento; Ralph Aronson, Mayor of Davis; William Duncan, Chm. Yolo County Board of Supervisors from Winters, and Raymond Smith Gilpatrick, Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of California, and a member of Morning Light Lodge #42 at Campbell. Davisville (Davis) Rebekah Lodge #253, instituted April 15, 1901, served refreshments following the program.