Additional information on the historical fraternal societies and lodge organizations of Garnavillo came to light when UNI student Maggie Glenn, of Iowa City chose to research these groups for her Public History Field Experience project. The class requires students to spend 15 hours volunteering on a project in the public sector. Glenn spent 25 hours in online research tracking down charter dates, officers, dissolution dates and other interesting tidbits of information mostly from digitized newspaper articles. Per Glenn “I really learned a lot about the research process, and enjoyed researching and finding different articles about the fraternal organizations, and how to use what little information was in those articles to try to put the bigger pieces together, such as when they met, when they were organized, or when they were disbanded. This was a very fun field experience project, and I am excited to share all that I’ve learned about the fraternal societies in Garnavillo!”
Glenn researched the following individual organizations: I.O.O.F (Odd Fellows) Lodge No 29 (1850-1936), A.F. & A.M. (Masons) Lodge No 90 (1855-1976), Modern Woodmen of America Cotton Camp No 3004 (1895-unknown), Independent Order of Good Templars Washington Lodge No 40 (1869-unknown), and Rebeccas Lodge No 403 (1898-unknown). There was some confusion when researching the Rebeccas (often spelled Rebekahs). The 1916 History of Clayton County lists Josephine Rebekah Lodge No 7 under Garnavillo Township lodges. Through Glenn’s research that was identified as an error in placement in the history book. The Josephine Rebekah lodge was a Guttenberg lodge. Further historical newspapers research did identify that Garnavillo had their own Rebecca lodge. The above mentioned lodges are only some of the Garnavillo “lodges.” There were others, but little information could be found in the time available. Searching the newspapers proved time consuming as so many different search parameters had to be tried such as full name, initials, different spellings and more.
The results of Glenn’s research will be available at the Garnavillo Lodge Hall and Garnavillo Museum. The Garnavillo Historical Society has been participating in the UNI History Department’s Public History Field Experience course, a service learning program for history majors, since 2017.