The Odd Fellows were not the only African-American fraternal order that found toeholds in Wilson County in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. An examination of deed books and other records yields these — some familiar, others much less so:
- Prince Hall Masons, Mount Hebron Lodge #42, chartered in 1881.
- Prince Hall Masons, Rocky Blue Lodge #56, chartered before 1910.
- Prince Hall Masons, Pride of Wilson Lodge #484, chartered before 1947.
- Knights of Gideon, Mount Maria Lodge #7, chartered before 1908.
- Knights of King Solomon, Victoria #1, chartered in 1918. Per the Annual Report of the Insurance Commissioner of the State of North Carolina (1925), the home office of the Knights of King Solomon was in Wilson, the organization had been chartered in 1918, its president was William Pierce, and its secretary was C.F. Rich.
Wilson Daily Times, 30 December 1918.
- Knights of King Solomon, Saint Luke Lodge #53, chartered before 1921.
- Knights of King Solomon, Richardson Lodge #10, chartered before 1921.
- Knights of King Solomon, Pride of Wilson Lodge #32, chartered before 1921.
- Knights of King Solomon, Mount Zion Lodge #9, chartered before 1921.
- Knights of King Solomon, Barnes Chapel Lodge #78, chartered before 1923.
- Knights of King Solomon, Love Union Lodge #209, chartered before 1929.
- Knights of Labor, Assembly #734, chartered before 1888.
- Knights of Labor, Wilson Light Assembly #10699, chartered before 1887.
- Knights of Labor, Saratoga Assembly #8221, chartered before 1888.
- Knights of Labor, Pine Level Assembly #10811, chartered before 1889.
- Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Marshall Lodge #297, chartered in 1921. Also, Daughters of the Elks Ark of the Covenant #214.
- Grand United Order of Good Samaritans and Daughters of Samaria, chartered before 1908.
- Royal Fraternal Organization, organized in 1910. Per the Annual Report of the Insurance Commissioner of the State of North Carolina (1925), the home office of the Royal Fraternal Organization was in Wilson, the organization had been chartered in 1910, its president was J.W. Parker, and its secretary was Cora C. Lucas.
- Knights of Pythias, Peaceful Valley Lodge #272
- Order of Eastern Star, Silver Star Chapter #26
More to come as I research these organizations.
The Wilson Lodge of the Knights of Labor was not the only African-American lodge operating in the county. In 1888, the Saratoga branch purchased a lot in the Town of Saratoga, presumably upon which to build a small hall. Here is the deed transcribed from Book 26, pages 378-379:
This deed made the 31st day of March 1888 by and between W.B. Young party of the first part and Essic Horn Blount Bess Benjamin Ruffin and Robert Hines trustees for the Lodge of the Knights of Labor (col) No 8221 of Saratoga Wilson County North Carolina the parties of the second part Witnesseth That for and in consideration of the sum of Eighty five (85) Dollars in hand paid by the parties of the second part the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged the party of the first part has bargained and sold and by these presents does give grant bargain sell and convey unto the parties of the second part all that lot or parcel of land lying in the Town of Saratoga Wilson County State aforesaid and fully described in a deed made by John Robbins and wife to said W.B. Young and recorded in Book No 23 and page 336 in the office of Register of Deeds of Wilson County to which deed reference is made for description of said land To have and to hold together with all rights priviledges and appurtenances thereunto belonging, to the parties of the second part and their successors in office and assigns in fee simple forever. And the said W.B. Young does covenant to and with the parties of the second part & their successors in office and assigns that he has a right to convey the above described land that the same is free from encumbrance, and that he will forever warrant and defend the title to the same against the lawful claims of all persons whomsoever. In testimony whereof, I the said W.B. Young have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year first above written /s/ W.B. Young Witness J.D. Barden
- Essie Horn — in the 1900 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Essic [Essex] Horn, 50, and children Abraham, 20, Diana, 18, Henry, 17, Aggie, 15, Sam, 13, Herbert, 8, and Walter, 3.
- Blount Bess — in the 1900 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Blount Best, 53; wife Sarah, 44; and children Joe H., 27, John I., 20, Minnie, 18, Blount, 16, Ida, 14, Annie, 13, Mariah, 10, Ella, 8, Albert, 4, Sack, 2, and Joshua, 1.
- Benjamin Ruffin — in the 1880 census of Gardners township, WIlson County: farm laborer Benn Ruffin, 56; wide Salie, 45; and children Margret, 16, July A., 13, Charley, 10, Mary, 8, Louvenna, 6, William, 4, and Sallie, 1.
- Robert Hines — in the 1880 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: laborer Robert Hines, 21, and wife Elizabeth, 18.