For the past several years, members of Peoria’s Columbia Lodge No. 21 of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows have made a pilgrimage to Springdale—paying their respects to two founding brothers.
The group gathers before the monuments of Past Grand John M. Law, who founded Columbia Lodge in 1846, and Past Grand William H. Schriver, who assumed leadership of the organization following its consolidation with Western Lodge No. 295 in 1909. After sharing a prayer, they leave flowers and a three-link chain—symbolizing the Odd Fellows’ motto of “Friendship, Love and Truth”—at each gravesite.
“Personnel of Springdale Cemetery are most supportive and have assisted us in locating the resting places of several other Columbia Lodge officers and members alike,” says Major General R.L. Ken Lasswell, who serves as Grand Patriarch of the State of Illinois and Executive Officer of the General Military Council. “They’re also very supportive in maintaining the gravesites.”
Case in point: In 2016, the four carloads of Odd Fellows who made the journey to Springdale decided it was time to address the toll that age was taking on Law’s marker. The headstone was tipped over and the ground around it washed away. At the next lodge meeting, the group voted to take action. Lasswell returned to Springdale, inquired about repair costs and paid the estimated total on the spot.
Restoration work began right away, with workers straightening the stone and shoring up and back-filling the base. They also embedded a three-link chain in front of the stone as a permanent reminder of the Odd Fellows’ motto. With that, Law’s gravesite was back to near-original condition—and ready for the brothers’ 2017 pilgrimage.
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