JH Guthrie and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows

We all feel we have interesting characters in our family trees. One friend of mine has a quote on a pillow on their living room couch that states proudly, “My family tree is full of nuts!”. Recently I have been delving into photographs of some of my ancestors sent me by my father. I know very little about most of these characters aside from names, relationships and sometimes pertinent dates. One of the men I would like to know more about is JH Guthrie. Dad sent a few photos and a brief article about Guthrie.


The undeniably distinctive mustache and spectacles made me curious. I am guessing he is my great great grandfather, father to Georgia Alma Guthrie Palmer. This will take further research, but in the meantime, I will introduce you briefly to the relative I have become so curious about.

J.H.Guthrie Business Card

JH Guthrie’s calling card from his carpentry business based out of Raymond, Nebraska. This card screams confidence… He knows how to make anything, or just draw up the plans for you. And JH knew that putting his name diagonally across the card would be eye-catching. And what is his first name? Is he John Henry, James Howard? No, call him JH, everyone does.

J.H.Guthrie_OffFellow Article

Ah, we learn a little more about JH… he was an Odd Fellow… and clearly a skilled one at that!

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows is now a worldwide altruistic and benevolent organization. It started in the mid-18th century, in England, and came to the US around 1820. In 1851, the Odd Fellows began accepting women as members, being the first fraternal organization to do so, by forming the Daughters of Rebekah. Brother Schuyler Colfax, (Vice President of the US from 1869-1873), was the force behind the movement to bring women into the organization as full members. According to the IOOF website “The Odd Fellows, also known as The Three Link Fraternity, is one of the oldest and largest non-political and non-sectarian fraternal and service-oriented organizations in the world.”


This photograph intrigues me… did JH Guthrie make the musical instrument he holds so proudly? Was he also a musician? The apron certainly implies that he just walked outside of his workshop to get this new instrument photographed… the shadow, the admiring look down… captures a moment in time so clearly, and generates so many questions.

Along with my (possibly) great great grandfather – Ulysses S. Grant, Franklin D. Roosevelt and even Jesse James are said to have been Odd Fellows. JH Guthrie was an interesting character, no doubt!


I will add in an interesting document, dated November 1910, I found on the web related to Stonington IOOF and JH Guthrie, it must be the same man…


1 thought on “JH Guthrie and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Leave a comment

  1. Ah Ha! Now I know what a Rebecca/Rebekah is! I’ve heard that term thrown around and never really knew. I didn’t know whether it was Masonic, Job’s daughters or what. Thanks for the interesting post 🙂

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