The Silver Lake Rebekah Lodge
originally published in the Communicator, November 2007
In November of 1892 the Silver Lake Rebekah Lodge was established in Deerfield Centre. The Rebekahs were the Ladies’ Auxiliary to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, whose building still stands in the center of town. You can see the initials of the organization on the chimney, and make out their symbol on the outside of the building, the three links, which stand for Friendship, Love and Truth.
The Order was established in the 17th century as a fellowship dedicated to love of God and the brotherhood of man, determined to make the world a better place by endeavoring to, as their validation states, “visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead and educate the orphan, and as I work with others to build a better world, because, in spirit and in truth, I am and must always be, grateful to my Creator, faithful to my country and fraternal to my fellow-man.” They called themselves “Odd Fellows” because, in that time, it was “odd to find people organized for the purpose of giving aid to those in need and of pursuing projects for the benefit of all mankind.”
They were the first international organization to include women by establishing their sister organization, the Rebekahs. The I.O.O.F. came to the Americas in 1819, and to Deerfield in 1892. They held their meetings on the second floor of the building which now houses the Lion Restaurant. The Rebekahs held social dinners, and a plate from that original set is on display in Deerfield’s historic Town Hall.
Among past officers of the Deerfield Rebekahs were Josephine E. Silver, Nettie M.C. White, Sarah E. Tuttle and Mary E. Chase, who were Charter members, and Panthea P.B. Towle, who was a “Noble Grand”, their highest officer.