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Secret Societies of the 19th Century Lecture

On April 15, Thursday evening from 7 - 9 pm, a lecture on secret fraternal organizations of the 1800s will be given by Ray Ott at Garfield Farm Museum.

Secret fraternal orders like the Masons and the Oddfellows were important social institutions in the 19th century. They provided camaraderie and entertainment for American men from all walks of life. They also wielded considerable political influence. Popular opposition to these orders was a source of political power as well, launching the political careers of Seward, Fillmore, Buchanan and others. The talk will examine the role these secret societies played in shaping the 19th century American scene and discuss the reasons for their rise, popularity and eventual decline.

Ray Ott, a 19th century re-enactor and board member of Garfield Heritage Society, is a Californian transplant to the prairies of DeKalb, IL. An adult technical trades educator, Ott has also served in the Peace Corps in northern Africa.

There is a $5 donation for the lecture and reservations are encouraged to ensure an adequate supply of refreshments. Garfield Farm Museum is located 5 miles west of Geneva, IL off ILL Rt. 38 on Garfield Road. For information call 630-584-8485 or email

For more information about Garfield Farm send an e-mail message to: or call 630/584-8485.

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