Historic Langhorne Association collection of fraternal organizations records
Held at: Historic Langhorne Association [Contact Us]160 W. Maple Ave., Langhorne, PA, 19047
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historic Langhorne Association. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Founded in 1873 by John Emory Burbage, the Knights of the Golden Eagle (K.G.E.) is a fraternal organization with rituals based on those of the Crusaders, with emphasis placed on the word of the Bible. In addition to giving moral and intellectual guidance, the society provides relief to sick or unemployed members and gives survivor benefits to widows and orphans. Membership peaked in 1900 and began to decline precipitously with the onset of World War II. As of 2012, the organization had approximately 2,000 members, and was functioning in only three states: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
An altruistic and benevolent fraternal organization, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.) was originally organized in England in the 18th century by "ordinary people from different trades and walks of life" who "found it necessary to group together as brothers and sisters and contribute some of their hard-earned wages to a common fund which they could use for unfortunate times such as sickness, losing a job and even death."
The first I.O.O.F. branch in the United States was started in 1819 by Thomas Wildey and four other members of the Order from England: Washington Lodge No. 1 in Baltimore, Maryland. The members, who came to the city at a time when the city was suffering both a yellow fever epidemic and mass unemployment, dedicated the organization to "Visit the sick, relieve the distress, bury the dead and educate the orphans."(I.O.O.F. "About Us")
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows was the first national fraternity to include both men and women, adopting the Rebekah Degree, based on biblical scripture, in 1851. As of 2012, Odd Fellows and Rebekahs continued to exist with nearly 10,000 lodges in approximately 26 countries.
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Orionto Lodge No. 177, was located in Langhorne, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
The Improved Order of Red Men (I.O.R.M.) is a patriotic secret fraternal society that claims to be related to the Sons of Liberty. Formed prior to the American Revolution, the Sons of Liberty "patterned themselves after the great Iroquois Confederacy and its democratic governing body."
After the War of 1812 the organization's name was changed to the Society of Red Men and in 1834 to the Improved Order of Red Men, and the organization "kept the customs and terminology of Native Americans as a basic part of the fraternity." In 1847, the various local tribes created a national organization called the Grand Council of the United States. The order continued to grow, and by the mid-1920s there were tribes in 46 states and territories with a membership totaling over one-half million.(I.O.R.M. "Who are the Red Men?")
German American members of the I.O.R.M., who had made up a significant proportion of the order, split off and created the Independent Order of Red Men around 1850 when nativism in the United States was at its height. Around this time, fraternal organizations such as the I.O.R.M. "became divided largely along ethnic lines, as English-speaking members adopted a less tolerant attitude toward cultural diversity."(Soyer, 38)
Packanah Tribe No. 342 of the Independent Order of Red Men met in Eden (Penndel), Pennsylvania.
Mill Valley Lodge #356 (Mill Valley, Calif.). "Knights of the Golden Eagle (KGE)." Accessed December 17, 2012. http://mill-valley.freemasonry.biz/marin_knights_golden_eagle.htm
Independent Order of Odd Fellows. "About Us." Accessed December 17, 2012. http://ioof.org/
The Improved Order of Red Men. "Who are the Red Men?" Accessed December 17, 2012. http://redmen.org/redmen/info/
Soyer, Daniel. Jewish Immigrant Associations and American Identity in New York, 1880-1939. Harvard University Press, 1997. Accessed December 17, 2012. http://tinyurl.com/c6xlyrx
This collection consists of records from three fraternal organizations that were active in the area of Langhorne, Pennsylvania in the 19th and 20th centuries. These sub-collections are: Knights of the Golden Eagle, Langhorne Castle No. 262 records, 1846-1937; Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Orionto Lodge No. 177 records, 1846-1918; and Independent Order of Red Men, C of W Packanah Tribe No. 342 financial records, 1897-1912.
The Knights of the Golden Eagle, Langhorne Castle No. 262 records, 1846-1937, consist of 7 volumes. Records include: minutes, 1914-1927; accounts of members' fines, dues, and other expenses, 1846-1928; a membership book of certificates signed by members, circa 1900-1937; and a printed personal membership book of George Mather's, 1904.
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Orionto Lodge No. 177 records, 1846-1918, consist of 5 volumes. Records include: minutes, 1846-1918, that feature some correspondence, reports, notices, and receipts; and a dues book, 1847-1877.
The Independent Order of Red Men, C of W Packanah Tribe No. 342 financial records, 1897-1912, includes an account book recording expenditures, dues, receipts (including some with coded dates) and members.
Knights of the Golden Eagle, Langhorne Castle No. 262 records, 1846-1937 and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Orionto Lodge No. 177 records, 1846-1918 gifts of Clement Mather. Independent Order of Red Men, C of W Packanah Tribe No. 342 financial records, 1897-1912, gift of Jack F. Knight.
Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2012-2014 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.
In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact Historic Langhorne Association directly for more information.
- Improved Order of Red Men
- Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Orionto Lodge No. 177 (Langhorne, Pa.)
- Independent Order of Odd Fellows
- Independent Order of Red Men, C of W Packanah Tribe No. 342 (Penndel, Pa.)
- Knights of the Golden Eagle. Castle No. 262 (Langhorne, Pa.)
- Knights of the Golden Eagle
- Historic Langhorne Association
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Faith Charlton through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
- This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- Access Restrictions
Contact Historic Langhorne Association for information about accessing this collection.