Grand United Order of Odd Fellows

Vick delivers address in Scotland Neck.

In 1896, Samuel H. Vick delivered the keynote address at the laying of the cornerstone for Shiloh Baptist Church in Scotland Neck, Halifax County, North Carolina. The church, which still meets, was built “under the auspices” of Scotland Neck’s Little Kehukee Lodge No. 3492, Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, established four years earlier.

The Commonwealth (Scotland Neck, N.C.), 27 August 1896.


Lane Street Project: Daniel Vick.

Billy Foster also turned up this buried grave marker:

Though badly damaged, the white marble marker etched with Odd Fellows triple links appears to be inscribed DANIEL VICK and was likely originally placed at the foot of the grave of Samuel H. Vick‘s father Daniel Vick or his eldest son, Daniel L. Vick.

Photo courtesy of Billy Foster, April 2023.

The obituary of L.A. Moore, grocer and insurance agent.

Wilson Daily Times, 27 February 1948.

Like many prominent men in early 20th century East Wilson, Lee A. Moore was a member of both the Masonic and Odd Fellows lodges. His obituary indicates that he was to be “buried with Masonic honors in the Masonic cemetery.” However, Odd Fellows Hannibal Lodge 1552 submitted a notice to members to meet at its lodge hall for Moore’s funeral and noted that “the lodge will charge at the grave.”

Wilson Daily Times, 28 February 1948.

The colored painters meet.

Wilson Daily Times, 21 March 1936.

Who were “the colored painters of Wilson” during this period?

I’ve been able to identify James Ashley Whitfield, David Dupree, Butler E. Jones, Alexander Obery, and Samuel Swinney as painters active in the 1930s. (Commercial painter Ramon Martinez was in Wilson by 1940, but probably had not yet arrived in 1936.)


We have seen here that Wilson’s Hannibal Lodge #1552 was not the only Odd Fellows lodge in Wilson County.

The three links engraved on the headstones of Gray Williams and Henderson Parker in William Chapel cemetery suggest an Odd Fellows lodge in Taylor township in far northwest Wilson County.

On 27 February 1900, the trustees of the Colored Odd Fellows paid Caswell F. and Eliza J. Finch $12.50 for a one-acre lot in Taylors township on the east side of the Wilson and Nash Road adjacent to the colored school lot. The deed was recorded on 10 March 1900 in Wilson County Register of Deeds in Deed Book 54, page 314. The Wilson and Nash Road was today’s N.C. Highway 58, and “the colored school lot” is probably a reference to Farmers Colored School, which was located just north of modern-day Silver Lake.

Gray Williams Oct 3 1882 Jul 12 1925 Lula Williams Born 1878 Jan 21 1923 Gone But Not Forgotten

Henderson Parker July 5, 1878 Sept 6, 1919

Photos by Lisa Y. Henderson, April 2022. 

Zion Hall buys a lot.

Deed book 68, page 311, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office. 

On 2 January 1905, Orren and Hancy Best sold Caesar Moses and James Watson, trustees of Zion Hall No. 5952, Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, a 48 by 48-foot lot at the rear of their property “near the corporate limits of the Town of Wilson.” Orren and Hancy Best lived at the heart of Grabneck, and Zion Hall was one of at least eight African-American Odd Fellows lodges active in Wilson County in the early 20th century.

The death of Jacob C. Speight, Odd Fellow.

Wilson Daily Times, 16 December 1916.


On 24 February 1887, Jacob Speight, 26, of Greene County, son of Adeline Joyner of Wilson County, married Ida Ward, 18, of Wilson County, daughter of Jesse and Caroline Ward, at Sarah Ward‘s in Saratoga township.

In the 1900 census of Speights Bridge township, Greene County, N.C.: ditcher Jacob Speight, 38, widower, and children Arbelia, 12, Elva, 9, Furnis, 7, and Joseph, 5.

On 4 March 1903, J.C. Speights, 38, a Greene County resident, son of Adeline Speights, married Rebecca Roberts [Robbins], 24, of Wilson County, daughter of Jacob and Matilda Roberts in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister H.C. Phillips performed the ceremony at “the Residence of Jacob Roberts on 546 Nash St. Town of Wilson” in the presence of Lucy Thomson, P.V. Woodard, and F.A. Ward.

In the 1908 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Speights Jacob C carp 645 e Green

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Jake Speights, 45; wife Rebecca, 30; and children Eva, 14, Tennie(?), 12, Joseph, 10, Ida, 5, Bessie, 3, and Addie, 1.

In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Speights Jacob C grocer 649 e Green h 645 e Green

Jacob C. Speights died 15 December 1916 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 55 years old; was a carpenter; was born in Greene County to Adeline Speights. R.C. Speights was informant. [Speight’s place of burial is described only as “Wilson, N.C.” It seems certain that he was buried in Odd Fellows Cemetery, but we have not found his grave marker.]

Louisa Speights died 7 March 1917 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 1 December 1916 in Wilson to Jacob Speights and Rebecca Robbins. R.C. Speights was informant.

Eva Janet Coley died 7 October 1941 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 9 June 1899 in Greene County to Jacob Speights and Ida Ward; was married to David H. Coley; worked as a teacher; and lived at 901 East Green Street.

Bazaar to benefit the hospital.

Wilson Daily Times, 7 December 1916.

A few years after it opened, friends of the Wilson Colored Hospital (later known as Mercy) held a pop-up shop of sorts in the Odd Fellows Hall on East Nash Street to raise money for indigent tuberculosis patients. On offer, clothing, but mostly undoubtedly delicious food — barbecue, chicken salad, oysters, sausages, sandwiches, sweets and ice cream.

Wilson County G.U.O.O.F. lodges.

I’ve been operating under the assumption there was one Grand United Order of Odd Fellows lodge in Wilson County — Hannibal Lodge #1552. I was wrong. Deeds from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries reveal these others, about which I’m seeking more information:

  • Lucama Lodge #3561

Per Charles H. Brooks’ The Official History and Manual of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows in America (1902), Lucama Lodge was established in 1892:

  • Moyton Lodge #5101, established before 1903.

Moyton was a community adjacent and just south of Stantonsburg.

  • Fairview Lodge, established before 1909.
  • Lodge #5575, established before 1925.
  • Lodge #5785, established before 1912.
  • Zion Hall Lodge #5952, established before 1905.

Zion Hall was located in the Grabneck community along Nash Street, northwest of downtown Wilson.

  • Black Creek Lodge #8754, established before 1915.

Per Brooks’, the Black Creek lodge established in 1891 was assigned #3446, but  he higher number suggests that #8754 was a later lodge in Black Creek.

Hannibal, of course, was the oldest of all Wilson County G.U.O.O.F. lodges, founded in 1873:

I also found reference in Brooks’ work to the establishment in Wilson of a Household of Ruth, an order founded “to enlist the sympathies and assistance of women in behalf of the Grand United Order of Oddfellows and to unite the wives, daughters and other sisters more intimately with their fathers, husbands, and other brothers of the Order in working out the beauties of Oddfellowship. To encircle in one social band, the wives, daughters, widows of the Odd Fellowship and entwine around the mystic cord that each and all may be mutually benefited and more closely united in the noble work of relieving the needy, the sick and the distressed.”

To my knowledge, all these lodges are defunct.

Hannibal Lodge building burns.

Wilson Daily Times, 29 October 1997.

For more about the Odd Fellows Hannibal Lodge building, see here and here. Shortly after it erected this building, Lodge #1552 established the Odd Fellows cemetery that now lies abandoned and overgrown on Lane Street.