Mother Jurisdiction of Odd Fellowship in America
We in Maryland are very proud to say that Odd Fellowship, as we know it, began here in Baltimore on April 26, 1819. Thomas Wildey (pictured to the right), and several companions, founded Washington Lodge No. 1, and Wildey was immediately elected Noble Grand. Washington Lodge met at the Seven Stars Inn in Baltimore. By the time the lodge received its charter in 1820, another Baltimore lodge had been founded, albeit unknown to the New York lodges serving as the foundation of Odd Fellowship in America.
In 1821, the "Grand Lodge of Maryland, and of The United States of America, of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows" was founded. For the next 12 years, Brother Wildey served as Grand Master and Grand Sire of the first Grand Lodge. During this period, the Order expanded steadily westward, in several abortive attempts to found lodges in the untamed west. By 1824, the Grand Lodge of America separated into the Sovereign Grand Lodge. The Grand Lodge of Maryland continued administration in the area to this day, even after it became independent of English sponsorship in 1834.
After this, Wildey himself went north and west into Ohio to organize lodges in new territories, including Alabama and Kentucky. As a result, the Grand Lodge in Maryland acted as a wellspring from which Odd Fellowship throughout the nation came. Despite the falling out between the Manchester Unity in America and English lodges, Wildey was hailed as the father of Odd Fellowship in America, and has been revered by his brothers and all lodge members ever since.