By Mary Jean Hall
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows has returned to Scotland and Van Buren County.
One hundred and eight years ago a two-story building was built next to the Scotland M and F Academy. This information is supported by the Hawkins Family History written by James Franklin Hawkins which states:
"1904 – In January, we began the Methodist Church House, W.O.W. and I.O.O.F. Hall above."
In 1929, the old two-story Pleasant Grove Church was torn down so that a new single story building could be built. The Pleasant Grove Lodge No. 380 which had occupied the second story of the Pleasant Grove Church moved into the second story of the Scotland Methodist Church, which had been previously occupied by the W.O.W. and I.O.O.F.
In 1944 brick siding was put on the building. The native stone and cedar paneling was added in 1981. A rest room was added in 1982 and an addition for a kitchen was built in 1991.
The Pleasant Grove Lodge No. 380 built and moved into their new Lodge Building in 1991, leaving the second story of the Methodist Church Building empty.
The Scotland Methodist Church closed in 1996. For over 15 years, this two story building would remain empty.
Built before electricity, the lumber for this 28x48 building was dressed by caring hands. This building was built to survive. And survive it did! Storms, tornados, and vandals could not destroy it.
In 2012, the Odd Fellows (Aaron Lodge No. 4) acquired the building and returned to Scotland – to the very same building that was built in 1904 for "the Methodist Church House, W.O.W. and I.O.O.F. Hall above."
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows Aaron Lodge No. 4 was organized in 2005.
The Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia states "The Independent Order of Odd Fellows was founded on the North American Continent in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 26, 1819, when Thomas Wildey and four members of the Order from England instituted Washington Lodge No. 1. This lodge received its charter from Manchester Unity of Odd Fellows in England."
The purposes of the organization is:
• To improve and elevate the caracter of mankind by promoting the principles of friendship, love, truth, faith, hope, charity and universal justice.
• To help make the world a better place to live by aiding each other in times of need and by organizing charitable projects and activities that would benefit the less fortunate, the youth, the elderly, the environment and the community in every way possible.
• To promote good will and harmony amongst peoples and nations through the principle of universal fraternity, holding the belief that all men and women regardless of race, nationality, religion, social status, gender, rank and station are brothers and sisters.
• To promote a wholesome fraternal experience without violence, vices and discrimination of every form.
The Aaron Lodge No. 4 has built a wheelchair ramp for Justin Frieeres and repaired a front porch for Mary Jean Hall.
If your ancestors were members of the Odd Fellows and you would like to follow in their footsteps, or your interested in the organization, contact Richard Collins at 592-3385 or Millard Wagner at 592-3454. Meetings are held the third Saturday of each month at 7 p.m. with a fellowship pot luck at 6 p.m.
We love to hear about the history of Van Buren County. Do you have old photographs and memories to share? Send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.