Alexandria Library -- Special Collections

Document of the Month

March 2006

Records of the R.H. Lancaster Lodge, No. 1370, Grand United Order of Odd Fellows of the State of Virginia, 1890-1910

invitation from lodge in Washington, DC financial record  plan for celebration

This collection consists of correspondence and financial records of the Lancaster Lodge, an Alexandria black fraternal organization. Among the contents are quarterly reports, minutes of meetings, dues records, and records of elected officers. The financial documents and correspondence are often inseparable. Thus, this collection remains in the order imposed by the donor. These documents were photocopied from the originals.

The first document is an invitation from the "brother lodge" in Washington, DC. The Lancaster Odd Fellows were invited to participate in a cornerstone laying ceremony in the District.

The second document is a financial report of expenditures including fuel and utility bills, a charitable donation, and insurance on the furniture. Expenditures related to the death of William H. Triplett include payments for the "Clipper furnell notice." (A key function of fraternal organizations during this period was to pay death benefits i.e. burial expenses and insurance for survivors). The Clipper was an African American newspaper published in Alexandria from 1892-1894. It merged with the Leader to become the Leader and Clipper which appeared from 1894-1898. No known copies exist.

According to city directories, census records, vital records indexes, and newspapers, William H. Triplett was a barber who resided at 610 S. Fairfax and had a business at 116 N. Royal. He died at age 70 on Tuesday, January 10, 1893, at 4:40 a.m. of heart disease. His widow, Julia A. Triplett, was born in Barbados. Their children were born in Canada: Catharine A., 1861; William T., 1865; John F.B., 1868; Albert H., 1871; Daniel A., 1874; and Helena L., 1878. His sons grew up to become barbers.

The third document is a plan for a Thanks Giving celebration to be held at Shiloh Baptist Church. Plans for the event scheduled for March 4th (year unknown) include a minister from Washington, DC and a performance by the choir of First Baptist Church. Members of the House Holds of Ruth -- perhaps, a women's auxiliary organization -- have been invited to participate. At this writing, we are unable to confirm whether the R.H. Lancaster Lodge held its meetings at Odd Fellows Hall, 218 N. Columbus Street.

Related Resources
  • Manuscript Box #76, Folder 1: Lancaster Lodge, Financial Records, 1890-1893
  • Vertical File: Historic Properties
  • Roland M. Frye, Jr., "The History and Architecture of the Building at 218 North Columbus Street, Alexandria, Virginia," Fireside Sentinel, April 1990
  • Roland M. Frye, Jr., "The History and Architecture of the Building at 218 North Columbus Street, Alexandria, Virginia," Fireside Sentinel, May 1990

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