Owasippe

Tenth Grand Lodge Meeting

After requesting to host the Grand Lodge Meeting for ten years, the OA came to Chicago, hosted by Owasippe Lodge. Included in the host Owasippe Lodge contingent were several members of the all African American Takodah Chapter making the 1933 meeting the first that can be verified to be an integrated national OA meeting.

Many of the 252 delegates from 23 lodges attending the 10th Meeting of the Grand Lodge took advantage of the opportunity to attend the Century of Progress World’s Fair (and the lower promotional train fares.) This meeting was very different than any previous Grand Lodge meeting. The rules were suspended. The normal business of officer reports, committee reports, and by-law amendments were dispensed with. Instead, the delegates gathered in a casual manner to discuss the impending issue of official recognition from the BSA.

Lawrence Branch

Lawrence Branch was an early African American leader at camp and in the Order of the Arrow in Chicago. He served at Camp Belnap, Chicago’s segregated camp and as a chapter chief for many years in the 1930s for Takodah Chapter of Owasippe Lodge. In the 1930s, the chapters in Owasippe Lodge were typically larger than most lodges. Lawrence Branch was one of the Chicago Councils leaders for Camp Promotion. He was one of seven Arrowmen that were “Wagon Bosses” for the Gold Rush camp promotion for Owasippe Scout Reservation in 1936.

Third Degree / Vigil Honor OA Sashes

The first example of anything resembling a sash worn by recipients of the Third Degree (Vigil Honor) is a fraternal “bib” type three-part sash. These sashes can be observed around the necks of founders E. Urner Goodman and Carroll A. Edson in the photograph taken at the Rededication Ceremony held at Camp Biddle in conjunction with the first Grand Lodge Meeting in 1921. Other than the photograph itself, there is no other evidence, documentation or even confirmation that these are indeed Third Degree sashes.

Five Chicago Lodges Merge

On May 18, 1929 E. Urner Goodman Scout Executive acting as Supreme Chief of the Fire merged together the five Chicago Lodges initiated by his old Assistant Camp Director Carroll A. Edson. The Grand Lodge had maintained a rule that councils could have one lodge for each of their Scout camps. Goodman constructively ended that rule, as Chicago was the only Council remaining with more than one lodge.

Rule - Only One Lodge Per Camp

The Order of the Arrow’s local lodge organization was very different in 1923. The lodges were associated with their camp, not their council. Wimachtendienk after all was born a camp society. The greatest association with the council was through the Scout Executive who was the Supreme Chief of the Fire for each lodge in their council and could at his sole discretion terminate those lodges.

Field Executive Edson Forms Seventh Lodge

In January 1921 OA Co-Founder Carroll A. Edson became the field executive for the South Shore District of the Chicago Council. Edson brought Wimachtendienk with him and on June 15th, 1921 formed the Order’s seventh lodge, Moqua Lodge 7 at the Owasippe Scout Reservation located near Whitehall, Michigan.

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