First, the link below should bring up a diagram of a lodge of Patriotic Odd Fellows in 1797:
The documentation I used to support the making of this diagram is the description of the lodge found in the 1797 ritual book. In looking at the diagram of the 1797 Patriotic Odd Fellows Lodge, one of the first things to notice is that it is oriented to the compass, something Odd Fellows no longer do. For those who are not Odd Fellows, this lodge layout is no longer used.
- The Noble Grand Master, equivalent to the Noble Grand of today, is oriented in the East. He represents the Sun. He also represents Geometry, Wisdom, and Astronomy.
- The Vice Grand Master, equivalent to the Vice Grand of today, is aligned with the West. He represents the Moon.
- The Grand Secretary and Grand Treasurer are in the North. The GS is represented by Ursa Major and the Pole Star. The GT is represented by the Crossed Keys.
- It is assumed members sat in the South, but no location for membership is mentioned in the ritual (note: I labeled this area as seating for “brothers,” to keep a historical context. No slight toward sisters of the Order is intended).
- The Grand Warden is to be found in the center. He represents the Center of the Universe.
- Ancient Grand Master, perhaps equivalent to the Past Grand of today, is located in the Southeast. His emblem is the Skull and Bones.
- The Grand Guardian is found by the door near the VGM. There was no specific location given for the door to the lodge. He has no emblem mentioned in the ritual.
- The altar is in front of the NGM. For the initiatory degree, the altar is referred to as The Altar of Obligation.
- In Parenthesis is more information about each lodge officer and the symbols used to represent their position.
- Note that the word “Grand” is used throughout. In this case, each lodge–as I understand it–was separate since there was no “Grand Lodge” in existence. Each lodge was sovereign and independent.
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Scott Moye is an award-winning history educator and collector of Arkansas folklore. He grew up on a cotton, soybean, and rice farm and is currently a museum worker. Hobbies include: old house restoration, writing, amateur radio, Irish traditional music, archery, craft beer, old spooky movies, and street performance. He is a member of Marshall Lodge #1, in Marshall, Arkansas, and a founder of Heart In Hand Blog. He currently resides in Little Rock, Arkansas. He’s available for writing and editing gigs.