|SECTION 1: The Early Days||SECTION 2: More Early Days|
|SECTION 3: Omaha in 1870||SECTION 4: Present Day (1882)|
|SECTION 5: Crimes||SECTION 6: Fires and Public Works|
|SECTION 7: Health, Parks, Mail||SECTION 8: The Press in Omaha|
|SECTION 9: Press Continued||SECTION 10: Religious|
|SECTION 11: Religious (cont.)||SECTION 12: Cemetery and Schools|
|SECTION 13: Legal and Medical||SECTION 14: Opera House-Hotels-Business|
Masonic | Freemason's Hall | I. O. O. F. | Odd Fellows' Hall|
Knights of Pythias | Ancient Order United Workmen
|SECTION 16: Societies (Cont.)||SECTION 17: Business|
|SECTION 18: Manufacturing||SECTION 19: Manufacturing (cont.)|
20 - 46:
| ** Omaha Biographical Sketches **|
| ABLE~BARRIGER | BARTLETT~BOYD | BOYER~BURNHAM |
| BURR~CONKLING | COFFMAN~CREIGHTON |
| CRITTENTON~DIETZ | DINSMOOR~FAWCETT |
| FEARON~GAYLORD | GELATTE~GROSSMANN |
| GROSS~HAVENS | HAWES~HOILE |
| HOLDREDGE~JORGENSEN | JOSLYN~LEISENRING |
| LEHMAN~LOWE | LUDINGTON~MARHOFF |
| MANNING~MILLER | MILLSPAUGH~NINDEL |
| O'CONNOR~PEABODY | PAUL~READ | REDICK~ROGERS |
| ROSENBERY~SCOTT | SEAMAN~SIMPSON | SINCERE~STONE |
| STORZ~UMPHRESON | URLAU~WILBUR | WILDE~WOOD |
| WOODARD~ZEHRUNG | West Omaha Precinct | Douglas Precinct |
List of Illustrations in Douglas County Chapter
Capital Lodge No. 3, of Omaha, A., F. & A. M., was organized under a dispensation, January 26, 1857, and the charter bears date, June 3, 1857. The first officers under the dispensation were John J. Sahler, W. M.; Robert Shield, S. W.; William R. Demarest, J. W.; George W. Wood, Sec.; Samuel E. Rogers, Treas. The officers under the charter, were George Armstrong, W. M.; Charles W. Hamilton, S. W.; Theodore H. Dodd, J. W.; Hiram C. Anderson, Sec.; Alfred D. Jones, Treas. The present officers are G. W. Lininger, W. M.; Richard T. Hume, S. W.; Parley M. Hartson, J. W.; John Bamford, Sec.; Myer Hellman, Treas. The lodge now has a membership of 203, and meetings are held on the first Monday of each month.
Omaha Chapter No. 1, R. A. M., was organized November 29, 1859. Its first officers were; Robert C. Jordan, High Priest; Charles W. Hamilton, King; Robert W. Furnas, Scribe. The present officers are: P. M. Hartson, High Priest; E. B. Carter, King; William R. Bowen, Scribe; Myer Hellman, Treasurer; J. J. Points, Secretary. It has a membership at present of 135. Regular convocations are held the first Tuesday in each month.
Mount Calvary Commandery No. 1, Knights Templar, was organized August 2, 1865. Its officers are: John J. Monell, Jr., Com.; Louis H. Korty, Gen.; William R. Bowen, Capt. Gen.; Sir James R. Boyce, P.; Charles P. Needham, S. W.; Duncan M. Wilson, J. W.; Christian Hartman, Treas.; Harry R. Hathaway, R.; Harlan P. Devallon, Sw. B.; Enoch B. Carter, St. B.; Gustave Anderson ,W.; Hugh G. Clark, 1st G.; David E. Keyes, 2d G.; Alfred A. Bradford, 3d G.; Charles Turney; Capt. Of G. Regular conclaves are held the first Friday of each month.
Covert Lodge, No. 11, was chartered in 1866. At present it has a membership of 138, and its meetings are held on the second Wednesday of each month. Its officers are C. K. Coutant, W. M.; L. F. Magin, S. W.; William France, J. W.; Gustave Anderson, Sec.; H. P. Deuel, Treas.
St. John's Lodge, No. 25, was chartered in 1869. It has at present a membership of 135. Its meetings are held the first Monday in each month. Its officers are E. B. Carter, W. M.; Walter Bennett, S. W.; H. R. Hathaway, J. W.; J. G. Jacobs, Treas.; J. B. Bruner, Sec.
Vesta Chapter, Eastern Star Lodge No. 6, was organized March 6, 1874. The officers are as follows: Richard T. Hume, Worthy Patron; Elizabeth A. Tompert, Worthy Matron, Anna K. Bruner, Assistant Matron, Edwin Davis, Treasurer; Charles O. Needham, Secretary; Sarah J. Hume, Conductress; Annie Umpherson, Assistant Conductress; Mary E. Carter, Warder; Charles W. Burgdorf, Sentinel. The Chapter meets at Masonic Hall, on the first Saturday evening of each month. The order numbers at present about one hundred members.
Mount Moriah Lodge of Perfection, No. 2, was instituted January 5, 1881, with the following officers: Gustavus Stevenson, 32d deg., Master; John Gilbert Taylor, 14th deg., Senior Warden; Louis Henry Korty, 14th deg., Junior Warden; William J. C. Kenyon, 14th deg., Orator; William France, 14th deg., Almoner; George Murray Nattinger, 14th deg., Secretary; Elbert Truman Duke, 14th deg., Treasurer; Charles Phillip Needham, 14th deg., Master of Ceremonies; Franklin Pierce Zimmer, 14th deg., Expert; Fred James Borthwick, 14th deg., Assistant Expert; William Edwards Annin, 14th deg., Captain of the Host; James Squire France, 14th deg., Organist; Charles Rice Turney, 14th deg., Tiler. The above named persons together with Dyer Oratio Clark, Byron Stanberry and John Gregory Willis constituted the charter members. The present membership is thirty-two. The present officers are J. G. Taylor, 27th degree, Master; C. P. Needham. 32d degree, Senior Warden; Louis H. Korty, 30th deg, Junior Warden; G. Stevenson, 32d deg., Orator; George W. Nattinger, 32d deg., Secretary; Elbrot T. Duke 32d deg., Treasurer; Gustave Anderson, 32d deg., Almoner; John J. Monell, 32d deg., Master of Ceremonies; Franklin P. Zimmerman, 30th deg., Expert; Fred. James Borthwick, 32d deg., Assistant Expert; W. E. Annin, 32d deg., Captain of the Host; Charles R. Turney, 18th deg., Tiler; James S. France, 18th deg., Organist; Gustavus Stevenson, 32d deg., Deputy Inspector General for Nebraska.
Chapter of Rose Croix Semper Fidelis, No. 1, was established January 17, 1881. The first officers were Gustavus Stevenson, 32d deg., Master; John G. Taylor, 18th deg., Senior Warden; Charles Phillip Needham, 18th deg., Junior Warden; William J. C. Kenyon, 18th deg., Orator; Gustave Anderson, 18th deg., Almoner; George Murray Nattinger, 18th deg., Secretary; John G. Willis, 18th deg., Treasurer; Albert T. Duke, 18th deg., Master of Ceremonies; Franklin P. Zimmer, 18th deg., Expert; Fred. James Borthwick, 18th deg., Assistant Expert; William E. Annin, 18th deg., Standard Bearer, Louis H. Korty, 18th deg., Guardian of the Temple; Charles R. Turney, 18th deg., Tiler. The above named persons together with Dyer O. Clark, Carl A. Fried and Byron Stanberry constituted the charter members. The Chapter now has a membership of twenty-three. The present officers are Gustavus Stevenson, 32d deg., Master; Charles P. Needham, 32d deg., Senior Warden; William E. Annin, 32d deg., Junior Warden; John G. Taylor, 21st deg., Orator; Gustave Anderson, 82d deg., Almoner; George Murray Nattinger, 32d deg., Secretary; John G. Willis, 18th deg., Treasurer; Charles R. Turney, 18th deg., Master of Ceremonies; Fred. James Borthwick, 32d deg., Expert; Albert T. Duke, 32d deg., Assistant Expert; Carl A. Fried, 32d deg., Standard Bearer, Louis H. Korty, 32d deg., Guardian of the Temple; William J. Mount, 32d deg., Tiler.
The Grand Lodge of Nebraska, A., F. & A. M.--This grand Masonic body was organized in the Masonic Hall in Omaha, September 23, 1857, by delegates from Nebraska Lodge No. 1. Of Bellevue; Western Star Lodge No. 2, of Nebraska City; and Capitol Lodge No. 3, of Omaha. Its first officers were R. C. Jordan, Grand Master; L .L. Bowen, Deputy Grand Master; David Lindley, Grand Senior Warden; L. B. Kinney, Grand Junior Warden; William Anderson, Grand Treasurer; George Armstrong, Grand Secretary, John M. Chivington, Grand Chaplain; Horatio N. Cornell, Grand Marshal; Charles W. Hamilton, Grand Senior Deacon; John A. Nye, Grand Junior Deacon. The present officers are James R. Cain of Falls City, Grand Master; Edwin F. Warren, Nebraska City, Deputy Grand Master; Samuel W. Hayes, Norfolk, Grand Senior Warden; John G. Wemple, Hastings, Grand Junior Warden; Christian Hartman, Omaha, Grand Treasurer; William R. Bowen, Omaha, Grand Secretary; George Scott, Sutton, Grand Chaplain; James S. Gilham, Red Cloud, Grand Orator; Lee P. Gillette, Lincoln, Grand Lecturer; Alfred S. Palmer, Lincoln, Grand Marshal; Francis E. White, Plattsmouth, Grand Senior Deacon; Frank E. Bullard, North Platte, G. J. D.; John McClelland, Lincoln, Grand Tiler. The lodge meets annually on the festival of St. John the Baptist (June 24) at such place as is designated at its previous meeting.
The Grand Chapter of Nebraska, R. A. M., was organized March 19, 1867. The first officers were: H. P. Deuel, Grand High Priest; James W. Moore, Deputy Grand High Priest; Daniel H. Wheeler, Grand King; Edwin A. Allen, Grand Scribe; Orsamus H. Irish, Grand Treasurer; Elbert T. Duke, Grand Secretary; George C. Betts, Grand Chaplain. The present officers are: Samuel P. Davidson, Grand High Priest, Tecumseh; William H. Munger, Deputy Grand High Priest, Fremont; James A. Tulleys, Grand King, Red Cloud; Henry E. Palmer, Grand Scribe, Plattsmouth; Christian Hartman, Grand Treasurer, Omaha; William R. Bowen, Grand Secretary, Omaha; Frank E. Bullard, Grand Chaplain, North Platte; Robert W. Furnas, Grand Lecturer, Brownville; Oren N. Wheelock, Grand Captain of the Host, Beatrice; Parley M. Hartson, Grand Principal Sojourner, Omaha; James Tyler, Grand Royal Arch Captain, Lincoln; Ithamar T. Benjamin, Grand Master Third Vail, Crete; Walter J. Thompson, Grand Master Second Vail, Hebron; John D. Moore, Grand Master First Vail, Grand Island; Emanuel Fist, Jr., Grand Steward, Hastings; Wilson M. Maddox, Grand Steward, Falls City; Francis S. White, Grand Sentinel, Plattsmouth.
Grand Commandery Knights Templar of Nebraska was organized December 28, 1871. Its first officers were: H. P. Deuel, Grand Commander; William E. Hill, Deputy Grand Commander; James M. Hurty, Grand Generalissimo; D. H. Wheeler, Grand Captain General. G. C. Betts, Grand Prelate; C. S. Chase, Grand Senior Warden; R. H. Oakley, Grand Junior Warden; Henry Bowen, Grand Treasurer; Robert W. Furnas, Grand Recorder. The present officers are: Eben K. Long, Omaha, Grand Commander; Francis E. White, Plattsmouth, Deputy Grand Commander; Samuel G. Owen, Lincoln, Grand Generalissimo; Charles B. Palmer, Beatrice, Grand Captain General; Frank E. Bullard, North Platte, Grand Prelate; Thomas Sewell, Lincoln, Grand Senior Warden; James R. Cain, Falls City, Grand Junior Warden; James S. France, Omaha, Grand Treasurer; William R. Bowen, Omaha, Grand Recorder; Dennis H. Andrews, Crete, Grand Standard Bearer; William H. Munger, Fremont, Grand Sword Bearer; John J. Wemple, Hastings, Grand Warden; Morris L. Alexander, Hastings, Grand Captain of the Guards.
The Widow's Son Grand Lodge of Nebraska (colored)was organized February 13, 1878, by delegates from the following lodges: W. D. Mathews Lodge No. 8 of Omaha; Mount Olive Lodge No. 20 of Lincoln; and Eastern Star Lodge No. 48 of Nebraska City. The first officers were: W. R. Gamble, Grand Master; Jackson Johnson, Grand Senior Warden; Robert Seymore, Grand Junior Warden; R. D. Curry, Grand Treasurer; G. S. Platt, Grand Secretary. In April, 1879, this lodge was admitted into the National Compact as a legal and regular Grand Lodge. It also received a charter at that time, since when regular annual communications have been held on the 24th of June. This lodge has at present in its jurisdiction, four subordinate lodges, with a total membership of about 125.
This handsome structure was commenced in 1876 by the Masonic Temple Craft of Omaha, and was completed in the spring of 1877. The building is situated at the corner of Capitol avenue and Sixteenth street, and is of brick, in size 45x88, three stories high, with iron and glass fronts, and a cellar under the entire building. The doors and windows, being trimmed with white cut stone, give the structure a very beautiful appearance. The first floor is designed for stores, the second floor for a public hall, dressing rooms and rooms for culinary purposes whenever any of the order have balls or parties. The third floor contains a magnificent lodge room, library and reception rooms, which are used by all the order of the kind in the city. The cost of the building was $16,000. An addition has been erected which furnishes another store, extends the public hall, and furnishes rooms for offices, etc. The cost of the addition was $5,000.
The vast amount of good performed by this old and unrivaled fraternity, is sufficient endorsement to the organization; however, a short review of the rise and progress of Odd Fellowship in the West may prove interesting to our readers. Ten years after the introduction of the Order in the United States, there were only thirty-one lodges in the Order, principally in new England, Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts. Nearly one half of this number were in Pennsylvania. In 1829 a lodge was established in Pittsburgh, then considered as a western town, but now regarded more as an Eastern city than a Western one. In the next year a lodge was instituted in Ohio at Cincinnati. This was in fact the first lodge in a Western State proper. The following were the dates of the establishment of the Order in the Western States and Territories named, and are believed in every instance to be substantially correct: Kentucky, 1832; Indiana and Missouri, 1835; Illinois, 1836; Iowa, 1844; California, 1849; Oregon, 1852; Nebraska and Kansas, 1855; Nevada, 1862; Colorado, 1864; Utah, 1865; Montana, 1867; Arizona and Wyoming, 1868. Fifteen years after the institution of the first lodge in Cincinnati, and ten years after the first lodge in Missouri, the first lodge west of the Mississippi, these jurisdictions had eighty-one lodges, while the whole number of lodges in the Order in the United States was only ninety-five at the close of 1834, or fifteen years after the establishment of the first lodge at Baltimore in 1819, showing that the growth and expansion of the Order in the central Western States was more rapid in the corresponding period than in the Eastern States. The first lodge west of the Mississippi was Traveler's Rest No. 1, at St. Louis. The same year Far West Lodge No. 1, was instituted at Little Rock, Arkansas. In 1844 Washington Lodge No. 1 was instituted at Burlington, Iowa. From these points named the Order took its rise in what was only a few years ago the "far west", and it has permeated and occupied nearly the whole of the vast territory from the Father of Waters to the golden shores of the Pacific. The three small out-posts of Odd-Fellowship, planted on the very confines of civilization within the memory of many who have only a little more than passed the meridian of life, have achieved the most remarkable success. The feeble glimmer of the remote and widely separated watch-fires of the western pioneers of Odd-Fellowship have been kept brightly burning, and now, in city and town, on the mountain top and in the valley, the lights of a great number of altars illuminate this vast territory, in which several Grand Lodges exercise jurisdiction, and instead of a score or two of Odd Fellows, there are now 40,000, or about one-seventh of the whole membership in the United States. The progress and success of Odd Fellowship everywhere should be rejoiced at without regard to sectional boundaries. If it is progressive in the East the West will rejoice, if it is prosperous in the West the East will say, God speed the work. It is evident that the Order in the West, in a short time, will hold "the balance of power," by having a larger preponderance of membership and revenue over all the other portions of the Order, and this will only confirm and make more apparent the fact that Odd Fellowship has kept pace with the rapid progress of wealth and population in the great West. This development and expansion of the Order brings with it a corresponding moral responsibility to the membership in the West that their progress should be healthy. All progress is not a genuine growth. The success of the institution is not to be estimated by numbers or the gold in its treasuries, but by the manner in which the members perform the benevolent and moral duties enjoined by its ritual. They may count their numbers by millions and possess the wealth of a Croesus, but if they fail to reflect in their actions the principles they profess as Odd Fellows, they are unworthy of the name, and will become "a sounding brass, and tinkling cymbal."
The first lodge of the I. O. O. F. in Nebraska, was Nebraska Lodge No. 1, at Nebraska City, instituted May 29, 1855. This was followed by
Omaha Lodge, No. 2, which was instituted January 1, 1856, under a dispensation granted by the Grand Lodge of the United States, dated November 17, 1855, and signed by William Eggleston, Grand Sire. The lodge was organized by J. P. Cassady, P. G. of Council Bluffs, and the following officers installed: A. D. Jones, N. G.; T. G. Goodwill, V . G.; A. S. Bishop, Sec.; George Armstrong, Per. Sec.; H. D. Johnson, Treas. This meeting and a few succeeding ones were held in the former council chamber of the old brick capitol. H. C. Anderson was the first candidate initiated into the mysteries of the Order. Their meetings are now held in Odd Fellow's Hall, on every Friday evening. The present officers are E. L. Armstrong, N. G.; W. R. Mathis, V. G.; E. C. Cooper, Sec.; C. C. Housel, Treas.
Allemanan Lodge, No. 8, was instituted March 26, 1864. The charter members were Henry Grebe, W. Doll, J. T. Paulsen, H. Bruening and J. Schneider. The first officers were A. Grebe, N. G.; H. Bruening, V. G.; J. T. Paulsen, Sec.; W. Doll, Treas. The lodge meets every Wednesday evening in Odd Fellows' Hall. The present officers are C. J. Schmidt, N. G.; W. F. Lorenzen, V. G.; Peter Goos, Sec.; B. M. Mohr, Per. Sec.; Henry Bolln, Treas. The Order now has a membership of seventy-five.
Hesperian Encampment, No. 2, was organized January 13, 1865. Its present officers are Alonzo Jones, Chief Patriarch; Charles Fisette, Senior Warden; G. B. Bryant, Junior Warden; F. W. Manville, High Priest; C. C. Housel, Scribe, T. J. Staley, Treas. Their meetings are held on the first and third Thursday evenings of each month. The membership is about seventy-five.
State Lodge, No. 10, was instituted by D. D. G. M. Henry Grebe March 29, 1867, under dispensation granted March 23. It has a membership at present of about 140, and meetings are held every Monday evening in Odd Fellows' Hall. The present officers are Peter Nelson, N. G.; Peter Olson, V. G.; C. L. Straight, Sec.; M. Goldsmith, Treas.
Covenant Degree Lodge, No. 1, was organized in December, 1868. It has a membership of about 125 and its meetings are held on the fourth Thursday of each month. Its officers are T. J. Staley, W. Deg. Master; F. B. Bryant, Dep. Deg. Master; Thomas G. Cliff, Sec.; D. A. Piercy, Treas.
Ruth Rebekah Degree Lodge, No 1, was instituted by D. G. M. John Evans, in February, 1870. It has at present a membership of about 130, D. A. Piercy, N. G.; Mrs. O. P. Straight, V. G.; Mrs. Ellen Ramsey, Treas. Their meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month.
Beacon Lodge, No. 20, was organized by D. G. M. E. B. Weist in July, 1870. It has at present a membership of about seventy. Meetings are held every Tuesday evening. Its officers are James Large, Noble Grand; Henry Livesey, Vice-Grand; Robert Livesey, Sec.; A. S. Billings, Treas.
Grand Lodge of Nebraska, I. O. O. F., was organized at the hall of the I. O. O. F. in Nebraska City, April 27, 1858, by members from Nebraska Lodge No. 1, of Nebraska City; Omaha Lodge No. 2, of Omaha; Frontier Lodge No. 3, of Nebraska City; Bellevue Lodge No. 4, of Bellevue; and Brownville Lodge No. 5, of Brownville. The election of officers resulted as follows: C. F. Holly, M. W. G. M.; J. W. Stull, R. W. D. G. M.; H. W. Cook, R. W. G. W.; R. W. Furnas, R. W. G. Sec.; J. Hamlin, R. W. G. Treas.; M. W. Brown, G. M.; H. R. Newcomb, G. Condr.; George Allen, G. G.; W. L. Boydston, G. M. The present officers are: A. T. Canon, M. W. G. M.; Columbus. J. T. Hendricks, R. W. D. G. M.; Tecumseh. W. H. Curtis, R. W. G. W.; Pawnee City. D. A. Cline, R. W. G. Sec.; Lincoln. Samuel McClay, R. W. G. Treas.; Lincoln. D. H. Wheeler, R. W. G. R.; Plattsmouth. C. A. Speice, R. W. G. R.; Columbus. P. C. Johnson, W. G. C.; North Platte. Will Downs, W. G. Condr.; Plattsmouth. C. A. Simon, W. G. G.; Nebraska City. George Webber, W. G. H.; Lincoln.
This edifice, on the corner of Dodge and Fourteenth streets, was built by the Omaha Lodges of this influential Order, in 1874. It is 60x54 feet with three stories and a basement. It is built of brick with an iron front and cut stone finishings, and cost $20,000. The ferry company in laying out the city of Omaha gave a lot to the Odd Fellows, and it is on this identical lot that their hall now stands. The ground floor of the building consists of three lofty stores, with iron and glass fronts. The second story is fourteen feet high, and is divided into suites of two rooms each, affording pleasant and convenient office rooms. The third floor is for the exclusive use of the Order, and is arranged especially for that purpose. The main room is 36x55 feet with a seventeen foot ceiling, and is well lighted by twelve windows, each twelve feet high. This room is filled up with every convenience attainable, and is furnished in a manner in keeping with the general grandeur of the building. On this floor is the library room, 15x22 feet and a committee, toilet, preparation and two camp rooms. The foundation stone and the name of the emblem of the order which adorn the Dodge street front, are from Platte Valley quarry. The foundation walls were built by Messrs. Shane & Quimby of Omaha, and the brick work was done by B. Ittner. The glass was furnished by Walcott & Smith of Chicago, and the plans and specifications were drawn by A. R. Dufrene, architect, of Omaha.
The Knights of Pythias represent one of the most wonderful and rapidly advancing secret organizations known to any age of the world. Its great principles were to be found in the manners and customs of the Gothic nation with whom the profession of arms was the only employment which was esteemed honorable. The Knights assumed a high rank, and the Order was governed by rigid rules which required years of study and training to attain the honor of Knighthood. The sons of noblemen entered on the proper course of study at a suitable age to prepare themselves for the performance of their duties and the enjoyment of its honors. Previous to the age of fourteen they were called pages, and were kept in constant employment and became accustomed to obedience and a courteous demeanor. At the age of fourteen the "pages" were raised to the rank and received the title of "Esquire," which is yet the second degree of the Order, and at the age of twenty-one they were admitted to the full honors of "Knights". The candidate was required to pass through a certain ordeal in form, before he could be properly knighted, among which was an obligation that "he would be a good, brave, loyal, just, generous and gentle knight," and a redresser of the wrongs of widows and orphans. His distinguishing weapon was the lance, his other offensive arms consisted of a sword, dagger, battle-ax and maces, and his dress consisted of a long flowing robe which reached down to his heels. The virtues of piety, chastity, modesty, courtesy, loyalty, liberality, sobriety, and above all, an inviolable attachment to truth and invincible courage, were a portion of the endowments that were necessary to form an accomplished Knight. The laws of the institution made it the duty of a Knight to protect the chastity and honor of the ladies, and forbade his speaking ill of them, or tamely hearing them spoken ill of by others. It was incumbent on him to warn them against the commission of every thing that might lower them in his opinion. Strictly decorous in his behavior toward them, he expected they would never forfeit their claim to such behavior.
Every true, loyal Knight was expected to have an open hand of charity to all who were found worthy, and to a wounded or vanquished Knight every attention was paid, and everything that contributed to his comfort and luxury was at his command. Such was the estimation in which Knighthood was considered, that for a long time no sovereign could be crowned till he had been knighted. The ancient Knighthood flourished most conspicuously from the tenth to the thirteenth century, and during that period consisted of several branches under appropriate appellations.
It infused humanity into war at a time when the disposition of the age made it the almost constant business of life, and the ruling passion of persons of every rank; it introduced courtesy of manners when men were rude and uncultivated; it exacted and secured a scrupulous adherence to truth at a time when its obligations were freely felt, and the temptations to falsehood were numerous; it imparted an additional impulse and motive to a respectful and delicate attention to the female sex, when such attention was particularly necessary to them. The courtesy now shown to ladies is somewhat the result of the former existence of that numerous knightly order. It preserved for a long time an exquisite sense of honor, which in its results worked as great effects as either of the powerful spirits of liberty and religion, which have given a predominant impulse to the moral sentiments and energies of mankind--but like all other numerous bodies, error, falsehood and dishonesty crept into its ranks, which went far to throw dishonor upon that once notable order. Whilst there were many ennobling lessons taught and illustrated by the courteous and brave acts of the Knights, they at the same time had their great influence for good in those times when there were no better guides to set examples and establish customs. From past history it is learned that many orders and religions have had their day and influence; then became defunct and gave way to some differently based and new association to wield the power, make laws, give character and exert an influence for the enlightenment of their generation.
Each in turn, for various reasons, were compelled to yield, and give place to others through the cause of change of opinion, irregularities, trickery, deception or dishonesty. The beneficent principles there inculcated were not destroyed, notwithstanding the associations that promulgated them were, for various reasons compelled to yield. Since the art of printing has been established, books and papers published, the intelligence of the people become common, improvement the order of the times, new ideas advanced, other doctrines advocated, and rendered prominent and popular; newly organized secret orders have sprung into existence to exert their influence over mankind and hold an existence until corruption or some disorganizing power shall creep into their ranks and destroy them in a similar manner to those of ancient times. The present organization of the Knight of Pythias dates only as far back as 1864, originating in the city of Washington, February 19, and the first grand lodge was organized April 8 of the same year. Yet the foundations of the Order, and similar institutions of Knighthood, were in existence as early as the eleventh century and some writers claim its origin to be several hundred years previous to that date, which of course would trace it into the knightly times of chivalry.
To P. G. C., George H. Crager, belongs the honor of introducing the order of the Knights of Pythias in Nebraska. He came to this State, not alone for the purpose of rendering himself conspicuous in the promulgation of the principles of the building up of an institution of so much importance as the Knights of Pythias, but to better his condition pecuniarily, as an energetic, intelligent, and honorable car builder, of long experience and recognized merit. He was a P. C. of Rising Sun Lodge, No. 26, of the Knights of Pythias in the city of Philadelphia, and finding on his arrival in Omaha, that the Order in which he had become so much interested, had no organization within this or the surrounding States, and being further desirous of having some moral organization where he could spend his evenings with pleasure and profit to himself, as well as being the benefactor and guide for the thousands that would eventually follow, he bent his accustomed energy towards the introduction of the Order in this Jurisdiction, by calling a meeting for that purpose. This, the first preliminary meeting, was held at the office of Dr. L. F. Babcock, in Omaha, August 13, 1868, at which the following named gentlemen were present: George H. Crager, John Taylor. Dr. L. F. Babcock, J. E. Neal, Edwin Davis, Edwin Stanton, George S. Markham, and Charles Skinner. Mr. Crager introduced the subject in a few pertinent remarks, and said that his object in calling the meeting was to take preliminary steps toward the organization of a lodge of the Knights of Pythias in the city of Omaha. It was then agreed to organize a lodge, and that the gentlemen present should constitute the charter members. Edwin Davis introduced the title of "Nebraska Lodge" No. 1, which was unanimously adopted, and a petition for a dispensation was immediately forwarded to the Supreme Chancellor together with a recommendation that George H. Crager be commissioned as Deputy Grand Chancellor for the purpose of instituting said lodge. Subsequent meetings were held, and on the 21st of October, Mr. Crager was notified of his appointment as D. G. C.; and November 23, 1868,
Nebraska Lodge, No. 1, was instituted by him and the following officers installed: George H. Crager, V. P.; Edwin Davis, W. C.; Charles Skinner, V. C.; L. F. Babcock, R. S.; Edwin Stanton, F. S.; T. C. Brunner, B.; J. E. Neil, G.; H. A. Monier, I. S.; John Taylor, O. S. The lodge has maintained its existence ever since its organization and is now in excellent working condition with a membership of about fifty. It has furnished four Grand Chancellors in the Grand Lodge of Nebraska, in the persons of George H. Crager, David Carter, J. J. Monell, and J. S. Shropshire. It has also furnished the only Grand Keeper of Records and Seals in the person of E. E. French. Their present officers are: E. D. McLaughlin, P. C.; C. K. Coleman, C. C.; John Hayward, V. C.; E. E. French, P.; W. W. Bingham, M. F.; M. G. McKoon, M. E.; J. S. Shropshire, K. R. S.; J. T. Beard, M. A.; C. E. Reynolds, I. G.; Eugene O'Neill, O. G.
In the spring of 1869 several of the active members of Nebraska Lodge No. 1, conceived the idea of starting another lodge, and to that end withdrew from No. 1, and petitioned the Supreme Chancellor for a dispensation to organize.
Damon Lodge, No. 2, which was granted a dispensation and on the 29th of April, 1869, the lodge was instituted by D. G. C. Crager, and the following officers installed: H. W. Thain, V. P.; Rev. E. V. Glover, W. C.; Henry Fulton V. C.; E. E. French, R. S.; E. S. Seymour, F. S.; George E. Powell, B.; W. H. Jackson, G.; J. J. Curtis, I. S. This lodge surrendered its charter in 1871, and never has been revived. The next lodge instituted in the city of Omaha was
Planet Lodge No. 4,--This lodge, composed wholly of Germans, and the business conducted in the German language, was instituted by D. G. C. Crager, on the 25th of August, 1869. The first officers were Andrew Zimmerman, V. P.; A. B. Huberman, W. C.; Charles E. Bruner, V. C. ; John F. Kuhn, R. S.; Henry Leisge, F. S.; Emil Faust, B.; Charles Hollo, G.; Joseph Rosenstein, I. S.; Louis Leeder, O. S. The Lodge has a membership at present of eighty, and the meetings are held on Monday. The present officers are: August Boehne, P. C.; Phillip Lange, C. C.; Gustav Wilke, V. C.; George Schmidt, P.; Jacob Frank, M. of E.: Samuel Motz, M. of F.; John F. Kuhn, K. of R. and S.; Hans Young, M. A.
The Grand Lodge of Nebraska, Knights of Pythias, was organized October 13, 1869, at Pythian Hall, in Omaha, at 515 Fourteenth street, by the following representatives of their respective lodges: H. B. Case, Dr. L. F. Babcock, John Taylor, of Nebraska Lodge No. 1, of Omaha; Dr. O. S. Wood, J. J. Curtis, E. E. French, of Damon Lodge No. 2, of Omaha; John Q. Goss, of Bellevue Lodge No. 3, of Bellevue; John F. Kuhn, Charles Hollo, of Planet Lodge No. 4, of Omaha; William L. Wells, of Platte Valley Lodge No. 5, of Plattsmouth. The following officers having been elected were presented and installed by Supreme Chancellor Read: Ven. G. P., George H. Crager, of No. 1; G. C., David Carter, of No. 2; C. G. C., John Q. Goss, of No. 3; G. R. & C. S., E. E French, of No. 2; G. B., T. C. Brunner, of No. 1; G. G., William L. Wells, of No. 5; G. I. S., John F. Kuhn, of No. 4; G. O. S., John Taylor, of No. 1. There are now in the State of Nebraska, twenty-seven subordinate lodges working by the authority of this Grand Lodge. The present officers of the Grand Lodge are: P. G. C., Frederick Mutton; G. C., H. F. Downs; V. G. C., J. G. Jones; G. P., Rev. W. E. Copeland; G. M. Of the E., Joseph Rosenstein; G. K. of R. & S., E. E. French; G. M. at A., L. C. Dunn; G. I. S., Daniel M. Stall; G. O. S., John Forrer; G. L., John Q. Goss, S. R., John J. Morrell, jr., and J.. S. Shropshire. The Grand Lodge meets annually at such place as is designated at its previous meeting.
Omaha Lodge, No. 3, was organized March 10, 1879. Its first officers were Charles E. Reynolds, M. W.; T. Welshans, G.; A. S. Van Kuren, R.; E. E. French, R.; M. G. McKoon, O. W.; P. J. Hensman, O. W.; J. F. Behm, F.; C. P. Needham, F.; Thomas Finnerau, I. W.; W. L. Peabody, P. M. W.; P. S. Lisenring, C. F. Goodman, M. G. McKoon Trustees. The present officers are Charles E. Reynolds, M. W.,; W. J. Welshans, G.; J. G. Taylor, R.; E. E. French, R.; M. G. McKoon, O. W.; J. F. Webb, F.; A. S. Van Kuren, O.; S. J. Cutler, F.; W. L. Peabody, P. M. W.; P. S. Lisenring, C. F. Goodman, M. G. McKoon, Trustees, The order now numbers about twenty-five members and their meetings are held on Thursday evenings at K. Of P., Hall.