The newest collection available in the Ball State University Digital Media Repository provides a glimpse into the history and activities of the Free and Accepted Masons, Knights of Pythias, Knights Templar, Odd Fellows, and Red Men orders in Muncie and Delaware County, Indiana from 1846-1931. The pamphlets and publications included in the Delaware County Fraternal Orders Collection document membership, governance, significant events, and publications of the local lodges of these fraternal orders and their national organizations.
The history of fraternal orders in Delaware County began in the fall of 1842 when a number of Masons met and petitioned the Grand Lodge of the State of Indiana for recognition as Delaware Lodge No. 46. The second oldest lodge in Delaware County, the Odd Fellows Muncie Lodge No. 74, was organized seven years later on November 9, 1849 in a building on Main Street. Another popular lodge of the period was the Knights of Pythias, who organized Welcome Lodge No. 37 on August 14, 1873 in the Odd Fellows Hall on Main Street. The first wigwam of the Red Men was instituted August 26, 1873. Meetings were held in the Wysor Grand Opera House hall for about six years and in 1879, the order took up quarters on the east side of Walnut Street, just north of Jackson Street.
This digital collection will be of interest to members of fraternal orders, genealogists, and researchers interested in the history of fraternal orders and voluntary organizations in the United States. This online collection draws material from the Fraternal Orders collection in Archives and Special Collections at Ball State University.
For more information about the history of fraternal orders or other voluntary organizations in Muncie and Delaware County, contact Archives and Special Collections at 765-285-5078 or firstname.lastname@example.org.