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In 1900 Bluffton had 7 lodges

Here is the Knights of Maccabee drill team in dress uniform

Lodges, or separate clubs for men and for women, were popular in the United States and in Bluffton, particularly from the 1890s to the 1920.


Women’s lodges in a way, were auxiliaries to the male lodges. One of the attractions for membership, aside from prestige, was the opportunity to purchase life insurance. One of the interesting facets of lodges was that these were considered secret societies.


In Bluffton, Mennonites stood in opposition to such organizations, so you might see some of the issues developing, and you may judge for yourself the outcome of these situations.


The writer of this feature’s grandmother, Bertha Althaus Hahn, was a Maccabee, and had a life insurance policy all her life.


The accompanying photo shows members of Bluffton’s K.O.T.M. (Maccabee lodge) drill team from 1902.

Forest Mumma

The photo was taken just south of Riley Street, as in the background is the arch bridge.

Today this area is part of Diller Street, which includes residences of the Mennonite Home Communities of Ohio.


We do not know why this location was chosen for this photo, except that perhaps the members used it for marching drills.

The only identified member is Forest Mumma, who stands fifth from left.


From the June 20, 1895, Bluffton News, comes this announcement about the lodge - A lodge of the Knights of Maccabees was organized here last Thursday night with twelve charter members.


In another News notice – The News last week printed a neat set of by-laws for the Knights of Maccabees.


It is not known how long this lodge existed in Bluffton.

The Jan. 14, 1915, Bluffton News, listed its officers, who follow:

Past commander, R.C. Frederick

Lieut. Commander, E.C. Wirrick

Record keeper, E. Bogart

Finance keeper, J.J. Badertscher

Chaplain, Joe Mumma

Sergeant, A.C. Spangler

Master of arms, F.E. Mumma

1st M. of G., John Hoffer

2nd M. of G., F.G. West

Sentinel, A. Maurer

Picket, Lem Black


Bluffton lodges in existence  during this era includes:

• Knights of Maccabees (K.O.M.T.)

• Independent Order of Odd Fellows, IOOF, No. 371

• Rainbow Encampment, No. 238, IOOF

• Heroic lodge, No. 405, Knights of Pythias

• Royal Arcanum, No. 193

• Masonic Lodge 432

• Modern Woodmen

This photo is from the collection of Ray Mumma

Notice that two or three persons are standing on the bridge.

Forest Mumma



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