What is an Odd Fellow?

The roots of Odd Fellowship are firmly planted within the guild system of English history. From the Middle Ages onward, it became common for tradesmen to band together for the protection of their craft and the mutual aid of their colleagues. Many of these craft guilds have grown into modern fraternal orders bedecked with contemporary prestige. But what was there for the simple street sweeper? The butcher? The handyman? Or the coach spring maker? None of those trades was large or important enough to have its own guild. As a result, the fellows of these odd and assorted trades banded together across the lines of their professions to form a society for mutual aid. At meetings they would pass the axe and collect funds for the relief of members who had fallen upon hard times. From this simple tradition of mutual aid came one of the largest, noblest, and most respected of organizations. Read more.