The Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, an African American fraternal society, established a District in South Carolina during the late 1880’s. In 1903, the South Carolina Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, District No. 13 (SCGUOOF) was incorporated in South Carolina. Located in Hartsville, SC, notable educator, minister, community leader, and President of Morris College, Professor Henry Hannibal Butler was elected and held the office of District Grand Secretary and National Grand Director from 1909-1948. Professor Butler conducted business from his office, located in the First Colored Presbyterian Church (a.k.a. Mount Pisgah Presbyterian Church) on Sixth Street in Hartsville. Thousands of documents, the largest collection in SC, pertaining to SCGUOOF Lodge’s and Household of Ruth’s have been recovered from Professor Butler’s office. These include Membership Applications, Membership Certificates, Beneficiary Payouts, Rosters, Correspondence, Quarterly and Annual Reporting, District Letters, Accounting Ledgers, and more.
The South Carolina Humanities, a not-for-profit organization; inspiring, engaging and enriching South Carolinian’s with programs on literature, history, culture and heritage, awarded a Major Grant to the Hartsville Museum for the opportunity to digitize these documents related to African American history in Hartsville, particularly the life of Professor Henry Hannibal Butler, and the Lodge’s and Household of Ruth’s within SCGUOOF, District No. 13.
The South Carolina State Library has partnered with the Hartsville Museum and Mr. Shawn Cannon, District Grand Master of the District Grand Lodge No. 13 of the South Carolina Grand United Order of Odd Fellows in America, to provide access to digitized documents of the South Carolina Grand United Order of Odd Fellows to support access to South Carolina African American genealogy and history. Educators, researchers, genealogists, and the public are invited to use this content.